Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lane Shift on Westbound Foothill Freeway I-210 for Pavement Rehabilitation

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Beginning May 3 at 7 p.m. crews will begin to make temporary lane changes along westbound Foothill Freeway I-210 between Berkshire Place and Ocean View Boulevard to excavate old damaged pavement and put in new concrete.

Construction crews will restripe and shift lanes towards the median. Both eastbound and westbound inner shoulders will be used as traffic lanes. The eastbound inner shoulder will become a temporary bypass lane for westbound traffic. A concrete barrier will separate the eastbound traffic and the westbound bypass lane for the safety of motorists. Two outer lanes (near the ramps) on westbound I-210 will close as crews will begin to replace the pavement to create a smoother drive. The bypass lane allows all traffic lanes on westbound I-210 to remain open while work is underway. The work is estimated to continue through winter 2017.

The current westbound I-210 ramp closures- Berkshire Place on-ramp and Arroyo Boulevard off-ramp are scheduled to reopen on May 20, weather permitting.

The Foothill Freeway is a major thoroughfare serving commuters between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. As a result of heavy use, the road needs to be replaced with new pavement. Flatiron West Inc. is the contractor on this $148.5 million pavement rehabilitation project and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Motorists are advised to “Be Work Zone Alert” and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

Q: Why did Caltrans create a bypass lane?
A: Two lanes on westbound I-210 will close and traffic will be shifted towards the median. Both east- and westbound inner shoulders will be used as traffic lanes to allow all traffic lanes on westbound I-210 to remain open while work is underway. A concrete barrier will separate eastbound traffic and the westbound bypass lane for motorists’ safety.

Q: How many miles will motorists travel on the bypass lane?
A: Once motorists decide to enter the bypass lane, they will travel approximately 3 miles and will not be able exit the lane until arriving at Ocean View Boulevard. 

Q: Where will motorists enter and exit the bypass lane?
A: Motorists will enter the bypass lane near Berkshire Place and will exit at Ocean View Boulevard. Please note, motorists exiting the bypass lane will not be able to access the Ocean View Boulevard off-ramp but will instead need to exit at La Crescenta Avenue off-ramp.

Q: Can motorists exit the bypass lane at any time?
A: No, the bypass lane has been created between k-rail and the freeway median. Once motorists enter the bypass lane, the first opportunity to exit the freeway will be at the La Crescenta Avenue off-ramp.

Q: How long will the bypass lane be in effect?
A: The bypass lane will remain open to motorists until winter 2017.

Q: Can a solo driver enter the bypass lane?
A: Yes, single drivers may drive on the bypass lane. The bypass lane is not an HOV lane.

Q: Are there any vehicles prohibited from entering the bypass lane?
A: No, there are no vehicle prohibitions to use the temporary bypass lane.

Q: Is this bypass lane an HOV lane? Are there plans for an HOV lane along I-210?
A: No, this is a temporary lane made for westbound I-210 while construction takes place in the area. Once the work is completed, all lanes will return to their original configuration. Current construction along I-210 is part of a $148.5 million pavement rehabilitation project, and is not an HOV lane project.

*Dates are weather permitting and subject to change.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

UPDATE*** Long-Term Lane and Ramp Closures on Foothill Freeway I-210 Rehabilitation Pavement Project

The pavement rehabilitation project occurring on Foothill Freeway (I-210) will move on its way to the next section of the freeway. Caltrans will close one lane on eastbound I-210 beginning April 17, from Ocean View Boulevard to Lincoln Avenue as crews begin to replace damaged pavement. This lane closure will remain in effect through winter 2017.

Along with the lane closure, long term ramp closures will be taking place:

·         Beginning April 11 through June 2017: Westbound I-210 Ocean View Boulevard on-ramp and La Crescenta Avenue off-ramp will be closed
·         Beginning April 24 through June 2017: Eastbound I-210 Berkshire Place on-ramp and Arroyo Boulevard off-ramp will be closed

Plan ahead, consider alternate routes, and check traffic conditions before traveling! Use Caltrans Quickmap:
Construction projects occasionally require temporary closures and changes to the area. These closures are part of a $148.5 million pavement rehabilitation project, where improvements are being made on I-210 between Glendale and Pasadena. Construction crews will excavate damaged pavement and place pre-made concrete slabs to provide a smoother drive for motorists and minimize the need for further lane closures in the future.

Pictures captured on 03.29.17
Construction crews excavating old concrete and placing pre-made concrete slabs on westbound I-210, between Ocean View boulevard and La Crescenta Avenue.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A new step for pedestrians on State Route 1

This Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, also referred to as a HAWK beacon, was installed by Caltrans in March 2017 on
State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles
The Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon remains dark until it is activated by a pedestrian. First, the beacon
displays a flashing yellow warning, followed by a solid yellow, and then a solid red on two lenses.
The beacon is shown in use as a pedestrian crosses State Route 1 on March 30, 2017.

A new type of crosswalk beacon has been installed by Caltrans on State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The system is popularly known as a HAWK beacon (the acronym is derived from High-intensity Activated crossWalK).  More precisely, it is referred to as a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB).

The installation is designed to provide superior awareness and enhanced safety when pedestrians use the crosswalk.

This is the second PHB in operation that was installed by Caltrans District 7, which includes the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura.  The first is on State Route 1 at Second Street in the city of Manhattan Beach.

When a pedestrian activates the button, the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon uses flashing and solid lights to instruct drivers to stop.  As seen from a driver’s point of view, the configuration of the PHB consists of two red lenses side-by-side over a single yellow lens.

As described in a 2010 study by the Federal Highway Administration, the phase sequence is as follows:

The unit is dark until it is activated by a pedestrian. When pedestrians want to cross the street, they press a button that activates the warning flashing yellow….

After a set amount of time, the indication changes to a solid yellow light to inform drivers to prepare to stop. The device then displays a dual solid red light for drivers … and a walking person symbol (symbolizing WALK) for the pedestrians.
The beacon then displays an alternating flashing red light, and pedestrians are shown a flashing upraised hand (symbolizing DON’T WALK) with a countdown display advising them of the time left to cross. During the alternating flashing red operation, drivers can proceed after coming to a full stop and checking that pedestrians have already crossed their lane of travel.

The new PHB was installed in March 2017 on SR-1 north of Temescal Canyon Boulevard near Palisades Bowl Mobile Home Park.

Here is how the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon works for drivers and pedestrians, step by step.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

State Route 23 (Decker Road) Closed for Rock Scaling


MALIBU — A segment of State Route 23 (Decker Road) in the city of Malibu is closed for several days this week as crews work on slopes along the highway, removing and hauling away rocks that were loosened by erosion during severe storms in January.

Crews also will remove other unstable slope material and install wire mesh anchored with rock bolts to prevent future slides.

The full closure is being conducted nonstop, around the clock, beginning today and is scheduled to end by approximately 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, weather permitting. The schedule is subject to change. Limited access for emergency vehicles, deliveries and residents in the closed area will be provided when safely possible.

Following the full closure, limited closures will be in effect daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. through March, with only a single lane available for all vehicles. Flaggers will direct drivers while the one-way traffic control is in effect.
Until the project is completed, drivers using SR-23 in that area should expect lengthy delays. Caltrans strongly advises drivers to use other routes if possible. The work is estimated to continue through March.

The full closure is occurring this week on a section of the two-lane SR-23 between State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) and post mile 1.55, north of Decker Edison Road.

Access Limited Construction Co. of San Luis Obispo County is the contractor on the approximately $2 million emergency project.

Flagging is scheduled to occur seven days a week from Feb. 4 to Feb. 12, and on a Monday-to-Friday basis from Feb. 13 until the project is finished.
Caltrans urges motorists to “Be Work Zone Alert” and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Paramount Blvd. Bridge Restoration: 55-hour Ramp Closures

Caltrans will close the westbound SR-60 on- and off-ramps, and the eastbound off-ramp 8 p.m. Friday, January 27 to 8 p.m. Sunday, January 29 as part of the Paramount Boulevard Bridge Restoration Project so that construction crews can repave the ramps.  

Motorists may experience delays and should consider alternate routes.
Caltrans is restoring of the Paramount Boulevard bridge above the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) by realigning and upgrading two cloverleaf ramps to current standards, constructing sidewalks, and adding pedestrian ramps that meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards.  Three retaining walls will be constructed along the westbound on- and off-ramps, and along the westbound on-ramp near the intersection of Paramount Boulevard and Neil Armstrong Street.  Additionally, all ramps will be intermittently closed the following Monday and Tuesday after the closure to perform remaining asphalt and striping work.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tips for Rainy Day Driving

That wet stuff falling from the sky is, in fact, RAIN! And that's great because we truly-madly-deeply need it. The downside, of course, is that driving in wet conditions is more difficult than driving when it's dry and clear. Here's some rainy day driving tips to keep in mind if you're going to be out and about: 

> Turn on your headlights. Using your headlights not only allows YOU to see more clearly, it also helps other drivers see you. Plus, it’s the law. Really. You can get a ticket. 

> Reduce your speed. The posted speed limit may be too fast for conditions.   

> Maintain more distance between you and the car ahead of you. It takes longer to stop on wet pavement.   

> Use extra caution during the first 30 to 60 minutes of a rainstorm — that’s when the road is especially slick.  

> Make sure your car is in good working condition — tire pressure, wipers, defroster, exhaust system, BRAKES, etc. Did we mention BRAKES? 

> Driving distracted is NEVER, EVER a good idea, but it’s an especially horrible idea when it's raining. Concentrate on safe driving. Everything else can wait. 

> Check road conditions before you head out the door. Call 511, monitor local media, or click over to and check out the Caltrans QuickMap. 

> Yes, there ARE more accidents when it rains, which means more congestion and delays. So, if you have flexibility in your travel time, save yourself some aggravation and postpone your trip until the weather clears.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In the Golden State, a Golden Anniversary for Ramp Meters

Ramp metering in use on northbound Interstate 405 in the city of Los Angeles.

Many drivers are familiar with ramp meters, widely used in California to control the flow of vehicles entering freeways. But few may know 2016 is an important anniversary of this cost-effective tool for smoother traffic.

Exactly 50 years ago, ramp meters made their California debut. In 1966 the Golden State’s first experiment with them took place in Los Angeles County in Caltrans District 7.

The next half-century showed the value of ramp meters in fighting gridlock and increasing average traffic speed. Now, almost 3,000 ramp meters are in use throughout California, according to Caltrans figures as of December 2015. Ten of the 12 Caltrans districts statewide operate ramp meters or anticipate doing so by 2025.

But in 1966 they were an innovative idea, introduced only three years earlier in Chicago and then in the Detroit area.

District 7 saw ramp metering as a possible answer to a bottleneck on Interstate 5 (Golden State Freeway) at the northern edge of Los Angeles.

“It all began on the last day of the Memorial Day weekend at the junction of Routes 5 and 14, in the foothills in northern Los Angeles. Recreation traffic returning home from the holiday jammed the interchange between these two routes, resulting in ‘intolerable’ delay. It was decided that something would have to be done to prevent a repeat of this type of congestion,” Stuart Harvey, former deputy director of Caltrans District 11 in San Diego, wrote in a 1990 short history of ramp metering in the state.

So District 7, through its newly created Freeway Operations Department, crafted a plan it unveiled at the 5/14 junction on the 1966 Labor Day holiday.

“Traffic Operations staff decided to try regulating the flow onto Route 5 with a portable traffic signal under manual control,” Harvey wrote. “The actual control mechanism which was employed might be considered primitive by modern standards.” But it worked and was remarkably effective.

Ramp metering on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in Thousand Oaks.

Indeed, the experiment “was very successful in controlling congestion and delay, and it was decided to refine the technique,” Harvey added.

“On the next holiday, Christmas Monday, the same basic method was used, except that the portable traffic signal was programmed to cycle automatically and the cycle length was manually adjusted to account for changing conditions on the freeway.”

The tryout was judged a complete success, and District 7 made plans for another ramp meter audition in the heart of Hollywood.

Only months later, on April 11, 1967, California's first two permanent fixed-time ramp meters were activated on the northbound U.S. Highway 101 (Hollywood Freeway) at Sunset Boulevard, with corresponding northbound ramp closures at Hollywood Boulevard from 4 to 6 p.m.

Before throwing the switch, however, District 7 worked closely with the city of Los Angeles to prepare the public for the historic step.

“There was a grave concern on the part of the community, particularly the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, about the impacts of ramp metering,” William E. Schaefer, former deputy director of project development and chief engineer of Caltrans, said in an oral history interview recorded shortly before his retirement in 1990. Schaefer was design engineer in District 7 during the introduction of ramp metering.

“It was pretty carefully planned out. We spent a number of meetings with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce convincing them that it was worth giving it a try,” Schaefer said.

“That first night, I was comfortable it would work,” Schaefer recalled. “I took some of the officers of the chamber with me in my car to go around through the project to show them that it worked. And it worked beautifully.”

The project successfully relieved congestion on the freeway mainline without seriously affecting surface street operations. Freeway delay was reduced by about 75 percent.

“In that early primitive stage,” Schaefer said, “we operated the metering with a little button with a guy behind the bushes. So we didn’t have any sophisticated equipment. We simply had a traffic light with some power and a button to change the signals. And then we put in a normal, little old fixed-time controller. It was a very, very primitive system but it really worked great. And from that we moved on to a lot of other projects.”

Today, most ramp meters in California respond automatically to freeway traffic conditions monitored by inductive loop detectors in the roadway. When the freeway flows freely, more cars are allowed to enter.

Systems also can use centralized monitoring of traffic conditions to help determine the metering rates for all of the ramp meters along a corridor.

The objective, just as 50 years ago, is to limit freeway congestion. Studies show the success of ramp meters in promoting more efficient overall operation of freeways with higher average speeds and fewer collisions and delays.

California’s highway system has about 2,954 meters as of December 2015. District 7 has about 1,024 metering locations, including 28 freeway-to-freeway connector meters, making it the largest ramp metering district in the state and nation.