Thursday, December 29, 2011

Closures for the 2012 Rose Parade

If you’re headed to the Rose Parade or float viewing in Pasadena this weekend, consider leaving your car at home and taking transit instead. Metro has a handy guide (pdf) that tells you how to do it. But, if you absolutely must drive, keep in mind that the ramps listed below (and part of Pasadena Ave.) will be closed. So be sure to plan ahead, use alternate routes, expect some congestion, be patient, etc.

Ventura Freeway (SR-134)

Eastbound Orange Grove Blvd. off-ramp
TIME: 8 p.m. on 1/1 to noon on 1/2

Westbound Orange Grove Blvd. on-ramp
TIME: 2 a.m. on 1/2 to noon on 1/2

Foothill Freeway (I-210)

Westbound Sierra Madre Blvd. off-ramp
TIME: 8 p.m. on 1/1 to 4 p.m. on 1/2

Eastbound Sierra Madre Blvd./San Gabriel Blvd. off-ramp
TIME: 8 p.m. on 1/1 to 4 p.m. on 1/2

Long Beach Freeway (SR-710)

Southbound Del Mar Blvd. off-ramp
TIME: 8 p.m. on 1/1 to 11 a.m. on 1/2

Northbound Del Mar Blvd. on-ramp
TIME: 8 p.m. on 1/1 to 10 a.m. on 1/2

Northbound California Blvd. on-ramp
TIME: 6 p.m. on 1/1 to 11 a.m. on 1/2

Pasadena Avenue

Columbia St. to Del Mar Blvd.
TIME: 8 p.m. on 1/1 to noon on 1/2

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Federal Funds for SR-60 Bridge

On Thursday, Dec. 22, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that $2 million in quick release emergency funds to be made immediately available to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for the Paramount Boulevard bridge set ablaze by a fuel tanker explosion on the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) in the City of Montebello.

The quick release emergency funds will help to cover the costs of the demolition of the Paramount Blvd. bridge, slab replacements, and other clean-up operations that began after the flames from the tanker truck were doused on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The funds will also help to cover costs associated with the construction of a new bridge.

The design process is still on-going and it is expected that the construction of the bridge could take 6 to 8 months.

For questions about this repair project, please call 213-897-3656.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eastbound SR-60 Lane Closures Tonight

Montebello — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close up to three lanes on eastbound Pomona Freeway (State Route 60) from Wilcox Avenue to Paramount Boulevard at 9 p.m. (12/22) until 5 a.m.

Tonight’s work involves boring, soil testing and pavement striping.

The northbound Paramount Boulevard on-ramp to westbound SR-60 is closed temporarily. The southbound Paramount Boulevard on-ramp to eastbound SR-60 is closed indefinitely. All other ramps are open.

The lane closures are part of a construction project that is replacing the Paramount Boulevard bridge, which was damaged December 14 after a tanker truck caught fire on eastbound SR-60 at Paramount Boulevard.

Closures are subject to change. Detours will be signed.

The latest freeway traffic information can be obtained on the Caltrans website (www.dot.ca.gov) by accessing the Quickmaps feature under ‘Highlights.’

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Westbound SR-60 Closed Tuesday Night for More Bridge Demo

Westbound SR-60 will be closed again late Tuesday night through early Wednesday morning (December 20-21) to continue demolition of the Paramount Boulevard bridge. Crews will be removing bridge columns and abutments, and restriping pavement. If all goes well, they should be able to finish the demo tonight. The closures are as follows:

Westbound SR-60: All lanes will be closed from 11 p.m. on 12/20 to 5 a.m. on 12/21 from San Gabriel Boulevard to Paramount Boulevard.

Eastbound SR-60: Two lanes will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. on 12/20, and three (of four) lanes will be closed at midnight from Wilcox Avenue to Paramount Boulevard. All lanes will be open at 5 a.m. on 12/21.

Ramps: The northbound Paramount Boulevard on-ramp to westbound SR-60 is closed temporarily. The southbound Paramount Boulevard on-ramp to eastbound SR-60 is closed indefinitely. All other ramps are open.

The closures are part of a construction project that is replacing the Paramount Boulevard bridge, which was damaged December 14 after a tanker truck caught fire on eastbound SR-60 at Paramount Boulevard.

The latest freeway traffic information can be obtained on the Caltrans website (
www.dot.ca.gov) by accessing the Quickmaps feature under ‘Highlights.’

Monday, December 19, 2011

Westbound SR-60 Closed Monday Night for Bridge Demo


The westbound Pomona Freeway (SR-60) will be closed late Monday night through early Tuesday morning (December 19-20) to continue demolition of the Paramount Boulevard bridge. Details:

Westbound SR-60: All lanes will be closed from 11 p.m. on 12/19 to 5 a.m. on 12/20 from San Gabriel Boulevard to Paramount Boulevard.

Eastbound SR-60: Two lanes will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. on 12/19, and three (of four) lanes will be closed at midnight from Wilcox Avenue to Paramount Boulevard. All lanes will be open at 5 a.m. on 12/20.

Ramps: The northbound Paramount Boulevard on-ramp to westbound SR-60 is closed temporarily. The southbound Paramount Boulevard on-ramp to eastbound SR-60 is closed indefinitely. All other ramps are open.

Closures are subject to change. Detours will be signed.

The closures are part of a construction project that is replacing the Paramount Boulevard bridge, which was damaged December 14 after a tanker truck caught fire on eastbound SR-60 at Paramount Boulevard.

The latest freeway traffic information can be obtained on the Caltrans website (
www.dot.ca.gov) by accessing the Quickmaps feature under ‘Highlights.’

Photo: Crews demolish the eastbound side the Paramount Boulevard bridge over SR-60.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Update on SR-60 Reopening and Bridge Demolition

Montebello — Demolition of the bridge above the westbound Pomona Freeway (SR-60) will occur from Sunday to Tuesday between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. nightly. Up to three lanes of eastbound SR-60 will be closed. Westbound SR-60 will be fully closed between San Gabriel Boulevard and Garfield Avenue. Motorists should expect delays.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead, be patient, and use alternate routes or public transportation, if possible. Signed detours are in place. The latest freeway traffic information can be obtained on the Caltrans website: www.dot.ca.gov by accessing the Quickmaps feature.

Caltrans reminds motorists to “Slow For The Cone Zone.”

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 3: Update on SR-60 Reopening and Bridge Demolition



Caltrans is working to re-open both directions of the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) to traffic by mid-day Saturday, December 17, after the discovery of hazardous materials delayed a planned reopening today.

Eastbound and westbound SR-60, bordering the communities of East Los Angeles, Monterey Park and Montebello, has been closed since Wednesday afternoon between the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) after a tanker truck caught fire on eastbound SR-60 at Paramount Boulevard. There were no serious injuries.

Currently, utility work continues on the Paramount Bridge above eastbound SR-60. Following that, demolition of the eastbound portion of the bridge will resume; the westbound side has been determined to be safe and will not be demolished at this time. Pavement work is expected to begin late today.

The westbound SR-60 closure has been shortened from I-605 to Rosemead Boulevard. The freeway connector transition from northbound and southbound I-710 to eastbound SR-60 remains closed.

Caltrans, with its emergency contractor Flatiron Construction, is working around the clock to complete the repairs that will allow the freeway to reopen. The Department is cognizant of the impacts this closure is having on the local communities and is doing everything possible to shorten their inconvenience. In the meantime, Caltrans is taking advantage of the closure to perform various maintenance activities on the freeway.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead, be patient, and use alternate routes or public transportation, if possible. Signed detours are in place. The latest freeway traffic information can be obtained on the Caltrans website: www.dot.ca.gov by accessing the Quickmaps feature.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SR-60 Closure Now Shorter!

As of 2 p.m. today, the SR-60 closure (due to yesterday’s tanker fire) has been shortened. The westbound closure limit is now Rosemead Boulevard. The eastbound closure limit is still I-710.

Additionally, the eastbound SR-60 San Gabriel Boulevard ramp is open. Open westbound ramps include Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue.

We will be working around the clock to open the entire freeway in both directions by the evening commute tomorrow.

SR-60 to Open By Friday Evening Commute

Caltrans expects to re-open both directions of the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) to traffic by the evening commute on Friday, December 16. The freeway was closed Wednesday afternoon between the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) after a tanker truck caught fire on eastbound SR-60 at Paramount Boulevard. There were no serious injuries.

Demolition of the east side of the Paramount Boulevard bridge will begin this afternoon. Currently, engineers are taking core samples to assess damage to the west side of the bridge. Based on the results of the assessment, a decision will be made later today about whether the west side needs to be demolished as well. An emergency contract has been awarded to Flatiron Construction to perform the work.

Paramount Boulevard near the accident site is closed. Most of SR-60 between I-710 and I-605 is also closed, but some ramps are open. Open eastbound ramps include San Gabriel Boulevard, Rosemead Boulevard, Santa Anita Avenue, and Durfee Avenue. Open westbound ramps include Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue. Caltrans is taking advantage of the closure of SR-60, which has an average daily traffic volume of 220,000 vehicles, to conduct intensive maintenance operations.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead, be patient, and use alternate routes. Signed detours are in place and the Caltrans Traffic Management Team is on site. Electronic signs will be used to direct holiday shoppers to the Montebello Town Square Shopping Center.


Photo: Fire damage to column supporting the Paramount Boulevard bridge over eastbound SR-60.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From the Archives: 20 Years Ago - Christo’s Umbrellas

Most of the calls we’ve been getting about I-5's Tejon Pass as of late are from motorists asking about road conditions. But in 1991, the Tejon Pass was a hot topic for another reason: Christo’s umbrellas.

Twenty years ago, the Pass, best known for its severe winter weather, was transformed into a giant palette by famed environmental artist Christo. The project, called “The Umbrellas Joint Project for Japan and USA,” was a temporary installation consisting of 3,100 octagonal umbrellas, each standing nearly 20 feet tall, randomly placed along the countryside through the Tejon Pass and 72 miles north of Tokyo. A team of people opened the umbrellas at dawn, while crowds watched from frontage roads, taking photos and eating picnic breakfasts. The goal of the exhibit was to reflect the similarities in the ways of life of two inland valleys in the U.S. and Japan.

Caltrans wrote the unprecedented encroachment permit for the umbrellas and devised the traffic management plan for the exhibit area. Special “No Parking” signs were erected to prevent people from parking on the freeway (yep, it happened), and electronic signs were used to direct motorists to frontage roads to view the installation. Despite the thousands of people who turned out to see the umbrellas, the congestion that many had worried about never materialized. Three weeks after the yellow umbrellas went up, they were taken down and recycled.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

10 Freeway Public Meeting Set for Tonight

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will host a public information meeting tonight (December 13) beginning at 6 p.m. to discuss the status of the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lane construction project between Puente Avenue and the Orange Freeway (SR-57).

Participants will have an opportunity to provide comments and ask questions regarding project elements and environmental impacts, such as: noise abatement, air quality, traffic circulation, potential property acquisitions, construction impacts, schedule, and federal, state and local funding commitments.

The meeting will take place at Cal Poly Pomona’s Bronco Student Center-Ursa Minor Room 2135 (3801 West Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768). Complimentary parking is available in Lot C after 5:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to come at any time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. A live webcast of this meeting, along with Twitter updates will be provided, and can be found at the District 7 website, at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/travel/projects/details.php?id=30.

Caltrans personnel will be available to answer questions and discuss issues regarding the I-10 HOV project and other ongoing efforts to promote congestion relief in the area.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Angeles Crest Highway Closure

Caltrans District 8 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties) closed the Angeles Crest Highway (SR-2) between Vincent’s Gap and Islip Saddle today for the winter. This stretch of mountain highway, is located west of Wrightwood. Caltrans closes this section every winter due to avalanche activity and motorist safety.

SR-2 has sustained damage in recent years from avalanche activity resulting in road loss. In the event that this occurs the opening could be delayed. Caltrans will alert the public and media once SR-2 is ready to reopen, expectedly in spring 2012.

For freeway and highway conditions please go to www.ie511.org or www.go511.com. You can also dial 5-1-1.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Worth Watching: District 7 Director Mike Miles on Metro Motion

The winter edition of Metro Motion (Metro's quarterly show on transporation issues) features Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles discussing how Caltrans and Metro work together to squeeze more capacity out of freeways and to develop a multi-modal transit network. Miles shares his insights on how Caltrans is tackling congestion and how you can be part of the solution. The whole show is worth watching, but if you're short on time, Miles' interview begins at 3:30.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Better Access to Downtown L.A. on the Harbor Freeway

Since early 2010, Caltrans has been improving the Harbor Freeway (SR 110) through downtown Los Angeles by adding lanes, upgrading the interchange with the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) and enhancing several ramps.

When completed in spring 2013, the $25 million project will enable a smoother transition between SR-110 and I-10 as southbound SR-110 traffic entering from 8th Street will now remain in one lane to access eastbound I-10, thus eliminating weaving across several lanes and providing improved access to the downtown corridor.

Below are some recent construction photos:


Monday, December 5, 2011

Your Questions Answered

Question: You’ve recently repaved southbound I-5 between Templin Highway and Lake Hughes Road in Castaic. Why is it taking so long to finish putting the reflectors between lanes?

Answer: You probably already know that Caltrans does almost all construction work at night. The benefit of working at night, of course, is that traffic volumes are lower, so fewer people are inconvenienced when we have to close lanes. The drawback is that it’s colder at night, and for many paving operations, the ambient air temperature and the pavement surface temperature must be above a certain point. If it’s too cold, the work can’t be completed. Rain can also cause delays.

Exactly how warm it must be depends on the operation and the materials being used. In the case of reflector installation, the magic number is usually about 50 degrees. So, as soon as Mother Nature cooperates, crews will get busy on those I-5 reflectors.

Friday, December 2, 2011

“Scooter” the Storm Drain Robot in Santa Monica

District 7’s Storm Water Unit used “Scooter” a remote controlled four-wheeled robot to inspect storm drains along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) for the past couple of weeks.

Apparently, concrete was poured into the storm drains by an unknown entity. To be able to access the extent of damage (or blockage), maintenance crews cleared the drains of debris so that “Scooter” along with his operators could visually inspect the drains via the camera attached to the robot’s head. Fortunately, Time Warner Cable’s Beat the Traffic sent us a video of the robot in action.

Maintenance crews closed one lane of the southbound Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1). Work occurred Thursday, December 1 and Friday, December 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. between California Incline and the Santa Monica Pier.

video

CALTRANS RECOGNIZED FOR SAFETY CONTRIBUTIONS

As further demonstration that safety is Caltrans' number one priority, the Department has been awarded the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2011 National Roadway Safety Award for developing an innovative safety software program that makes it easier for local transportation agencies to prioritize safety projects.

The application determines which projects offer the greatest potential of reducing fatalities and injuries on California’s local roads. These projects will save lives and provide a projected $743 million in safety benefits as a result of fewer vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities on local roads.

“We strive to be the leader in roadway safety,” said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Safety is an essential component of every one of our state and local projects. This award for our Highway Safety Improvement Program drives us to continue efforts on innovative solutions that improve the safety of California’s roads for everyone.”

The software, known as “California’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Application and Evaluation Tool for Local Roadways,” also provides Caltrans a better way to analyze safety projects submitted by local agencies and award funding to those projects that will increase roadway safety the most.

Under Caltrans’ direction, the University of California Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center also contributed to the creation of the HSIP Tool.

The National Roadway Safety Awards is a biennial competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Roadway Safety Foundation to recognize roadway safety achievements that move the nation “toward zero deaths” on highways and local roads.

With the assistance of the HSIP tool, Caltrans awarded $75 million in federal funding to 179 safety projects statewide in Fiscal Year 2010-11. For more information about these projects, please visit: http://www.dot.ca.gov/docs/ApprovedprojectlistHSIP.pdf

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traffic Advisory: Night Closures of Osborne Street in Arleta

If you live or work in Arleta and drive in the area at night, you’ll want to avoid Osborne Street near I-5 this week.

As part of the carpool lane project underway on I-5 between SR-170 and SR-118, crews are removing the temporary construction supports that were installed for the freeway widening. To ensure safety, Osborne Street between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Arleta Avenue will be closed through Friday, December 2, from midnight to 5 a.m.

Traffic is being detoured off this section of Osborne Street. (See the The construction notice for a map.) All lanes will remain open on I-5 during the closure.

Photo: Crews remove temporary construction supports from Osborne Street overpass Tuesday night.

Want more info about work on I-5? You got it! Check out www.I-5info.com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CALTRANS TO HOLD COMMUNITY MEETINGS ABOUT THE ARROYO SECO PARKWAY



Caltrans District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura counties) will host three meetings in December to provide information about planning for the Arroyo Seco Parkway (State Route110) and surrounding corridor that is a designated National Scenic Byway. A Corridor Management Plan will be created by a team of consultants working for Caltrans in partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments. The consultant team, led by the IBI Group, will present an overview of the project and seek community input through interactive workshops. These meetings will be the same in content and process and are being offered at the following locations in the Arroyo Seco area:

Monday, December 5, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., South Pasadena Civic Library Community Room, 1115 El Centro Street, South Pasadena, 91030

Tuesday, December 6, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S. Avenue 57, Los Angeles, 90042

Thursday, December 8, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Castelar Elementary School, 840 Yale Street, Los Angeles, 90012

For more information about:
The Arroyo Seco Parkway, please visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/travel/projects/arroyo/
The National Scenic Byway program, please visit http://byways.org/

You may also contact Caltrans Public Affairs at (213) 897-3656.


(1940 vintage photo of The Arroyo Seco Parkway)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Caltrans Answers Your Questions

A: How will traffic will be this holiday weekend?

Q:
A good question. There are several factors (weather, traffic accidents, events, etc.) that can affect traffic on any given day, so it is best to be prepared before leaving for your destination.

There are quite a few resources to use:

www.go511.com or dial 5-1-1
http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi

Listen to your local radio and television stations
maps.google.com

Drive safe!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Caltrans in the News: Five Big Freeway Projects

Just in case you missed it, KTLA ran a story yesterday billed as a "crash course in construction zones" that focuses on five big construction projects underway or coming soon: carpool lanes on I-405, I-5, and I-10; paving on SR-710; and the upcoming Express Lanes project, which will construct high-occupancy toll lanes on I-10 and I-110. You can find out more about these projects on the Caltrans website and the dedicated I-5 website.

One key point the story doesn't mention is that almost all of the construction on these projects is done at night to minimize traffic impacts. Generally speaking, the cones go down at 10 p.m. and are picked up by 6 a.m. But there may be some long-term ramp closures, which you can find out about online. 511 is also a great resource to help you make smart choices about your commute.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New I-5 Western Ave. Off-Ramp is Open!



If you find yourself driving northbound on I-5 in Glendale, you can be one of the first motorists to try out the new, improved off-ramp to Western Avenue, which just opened Saturday morning. New configuration, new pavement, new signals, new everything!

The ramp is part of the Western Avenue Interchange Project, which is reconfiguring the Western Avenue on- and off-ramps so that they begin and end at a signalized intersection with Flower Street. Next up: reconfiguring the I-5 on-ramp and widening Western Avenue. The project will be completed next summer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Caltrans Works with DOT to Offer Training Opportunities for Women


Attention women and those who know or are related to women:

The California Department of Transportation District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura counties) supports the continuous learning paths of currently enrolled college students, by participating in the U.S. Department of Transportation Entrepreneurial Training Women and Girls Internship Program. We provide opportunities that give students professional experience, aligned with their major of study, to help develop their careers.
For more information regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation Entrepreneurial Training Women and Girls Internship Program, please visit their website, at http://www.osdbu.dot.gov/WG/index.cfm.

I-10 Long-Term Off-Ramp Closures begin Monday, Nov. 21



Caltrans will close the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) westbound Frazier Street off-ramp and the eastbound Francisquito Avenue off-ramp in Baldwin Park beginning Monday, November 21 as part of the $165 million HOV, or carpool lane construction project. Motorists attempting to access local businesses along Frazier Street and Francisquito Avenue will experience delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes. These ramp closures are expected to continue until spring 2012.

Suggested detour exiting westbound I-10: Exit at Baldwin Park Boulevard; turn right to Francisquito Avenue; then turn left onto Frazier St.
Suggested detour exiting eastbound I-10: Exit at Baldwin Park Boulevard; Merge onto Dalewood Street; turn right on Baldwin Park Boulevard; turn right onto Francsiquito Ave.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Real Insiders Read Inside 7


Before there was a Caltrans blog, there was our monthly on-line newsletter, "Inside 7." Well, those days are back, friends. The new issue is available now at the following link: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/Publications/Inside7/.

Check out a number of exciting articles (including one on the new blog!) from a slew of projects starting on I-5 to new Maintenance techniques, a new materials lab, Caltrans goes Hollywood, and more.

Inside 7 complements the daily blog by allowing us more in-depth coverage of our activities. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I-5 Community Meeting Tonight in Downey

You’re invited to attend a Community Meeting tonight in Downey to learn about the Florence Avenue Interchange Project, which will add a carpool lane and mixed-flow lane to I-5 in both directions from north of Orr and Day Road to the I-605 bridge. Work will begin in mid-2013. Caltrans staff will also provide an overview of five other projects on I-5 between the Orange County line and I-605. Meeting details:

When: November 15, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center, 7810 Quill Dr. in Downey

Parking: Plenty of free parking is available at the site.

Bring your curiosity and your questions. We hope to see you there!

For more information about I-5 projects, check out the I-5 website: www.I-5info.com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Don't Just Maintain the Roads, We Fix Them


In the old days, Caltrans Maintenance workers had to be able to fix just about anything the road could dish out. Those skills are called for less often in the Time of Contractors, when virtually all paving projects are put out for bid.

District 7 would like to change that, both to ensure that road building knowledge is preserved and to afford Maintenance employees enhanced opportunities. To this end, the district has begun performing its own paving operations where possible.

“In the rural districts, they really do everything,” said Dan Freeman, District 7 Deputy Director of Maintenance. “Because we are in an urban area, our folks spend most of their time with more mundane work such as filling potholes and repairing guardrail.”

Maintenance Manager Alphonso Sanchez said employees have performed five paving jobs so far on I-5 and I-10, improving the freeway and saving taxpayer dollars. Training is on the job, with the more experienced workers teaching the others.

On various recent operations, crews have had the chance to use concrete saws, backhoes with jackhammers and various cement finishing tools.

“By the third time around, they looked like pros out there,” said East Region Manager Alphonso Sanchez, who is spearheading the effort. “I am really proud of those guys.”

Do-it-ourselves paving work not only sharpens and augments employees’ skills but allows for a more immediate response to pavement issues.

“We are teaching our people how to do an even better job of serving the public,” Freeman said.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day Parade Closures

We love a parade! And to ensure that there will be no mingling of motorists with marching bands at the 8th Annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade tomorrow, we'll be closing a few ramps from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closure details:

> Eastbound SR-118 off-ramp at Laurel Canyon Boulevard
> Northbound I-5 off-ramp at San Fernando Mission Boulevard
> One lane of northbound I-5 off-ramp at Chatsworth Drive
> One lane of southbound I-5 off-ramp at San Fernando Mission Boulevard

Construction-related closures will be suspended for the holiday, so head out to Pacoima and enjoy the parade!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Which road are you driving on? Angeles Crest Highway or Angeles Forest Highway?

Daily we receive calls about road conditions in the Angeles National Forest (ANF), but in many cases motorists don’t know the difference between the Angeles Crest Highway (aka “The Crest” or SR-2 or Highway 2) and the Angeles Forest Highway (N3).

Here are some quick facts:
SR-2 begins at entrance of the ANF and ends at the intersection of SR-138 near Wrightwood. N3 begins on the north side of the ANF, near the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) and ends at the intersection of SR-2.

SR-2 is a westbound and eastbound highway and N3 is a northbound and southbound road.

SR-2 is a state highway and is maintained and operated by Caltrans. N3 is a county road and is maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

Both are beautiful highways in a jewel of a forest, but they are different.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Arroyo Seco Parkway Featured on KCET's Departures



KCET’s online Departures program is currently featuring a fantastic multi-part series on Highland Park, which includes a terrific segment on the history of the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Producers interviewed Caltrans’ own Linda Taira, Corridor and Special Studies Branch Chief, for the segment. Linda explains the origin and design of the Parkway, which is commonly known as the first freeway in the United States. But, as Linda suggests, it’s not really a freeway in the modern sense of the word. It was designed for cars going about 45 miles per hour and is more of an arterial than a freeway. Nevertheless, the Parkway taught designers a lot about how to build the freeway system we have today. Check out the series for more on this historic roadway and the surrounding community.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Duarte Gets a Sound Solution to Freeway Noise

Caltrans, Metro and the city of Duarte participated in a joint ceremony today to celebrate completion of a $2.3 million, 14-ft. high masonry block soundwall on the west side of the 210 Freeway between Highland and Duncannon Avenues.
The soundwall was constructed by Caltrans with funding from Metro and the support and persistence of elected officials and the local community.
Duarte High School, a grateful beneficiary of the soundwall's benefits due to its adjacent location, hosted the ceremony.
"This soundwall shows how powerful a community can be when it comes together to promote a cause, particularly on behalf of its children," said Caltrans District Director Mike Miles. "The Department likes nothing better than to provide freeway improvements that serve local communities."


Construction Notice: Soil Placement in Arleta

If you live or work in Arleta, you already know that Caltrans is in the middle of a construction project that's building a carpool lane on I-5 between SR-170 and SR-118. As part of the project, crews will be placing dirt behind the new retaining wall on Sharp Avenue next week at night. The dirt is necessary to create a foundation for the wider freeway. There won't be any closures, but if you drive by, you'll notice a lot of activity. Details:

When: Nov. 7 – 11, 2011, Monday through Friday, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Where: Along Sharp Avenue between Montague Street and Branford Street. (The work area is indicated in blue on the map.

Questions? Call the toll-free I-5 hotline at (855) 454-6335 or check out the I-5 website: www.I-5info.com.








Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cutting Green House Gases and Keeping California Moving


This month Caltrans is hosting workshops in Sacramento and Los Angeles to discuss the California Interregional Blueprint (CIB). CIB is a futuristic plan to improve California’s transit, rail, aviation, and highways, meet federal guidelines to garner more funding, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Initiated by state legislation, Caltrans is working with our regional partners in an effort to use new tools and technologies to investigate ways to get all of the transportation modes to work together effectively.

Friday, October 28, 2011

$784 Million in New Transportation Funding for California; 50% to LA County


Following last week’s general obligation bond sales, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $784 million this week in new funding for 61 projects that will help create thousands of jobs bolstering the state’s economic recovery - and reduce traffic congestion, repair highways and bridges, and improve safety for the motoring public. Half of that amount - $392 million is allocated to four projects in Los Angeles County.

Last week’s bond sale allowed projects that were delayed or at risk of delay due to lack of funding to move forward to construction. In addition, the bond proceeds will also fund more than 300 ongoing projects through June 2012. The ongoing and newly allocated projects leverage around $11 billion in non-state funds, giving our economy an added boost.

“These projects will allow billions of dollars to flow into construction and produce enormous economic benefits for California,” said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Highlights of the funding allocations for Los Angeles County include:
$19.8 million to widen the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) from the Orange County Line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605);
$35.3 million to extend the Exposition Light Rail by 6.6 miles to the intersection with Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica;
$323.6 million to lower a 1.4 mile section of Union Pacific Railroad track along the Alhambra subdivision with construction of bridges at four major intersections;
$13.5 million to extend the existing Bus Rapid Transit Metro Orange Line route four miles along Canoga Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley.

The CTC funding includes $695 million from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond. To date, the state has allocated more than $9 billion in Proposition 1B funds.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Schuyler Heim Bridge Replacement Project to Begin


Usually this happens only in the private sector but now Caltrans too is replacing one of its most venerable workers with a younger model.

Located midway between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the lift-span Schuyler Heim Bridge turned 65 this year, making it more than eligible for retirement in bridge years. The replacement bridge will be a fixed span structure that not only will conform to higher seismic standards but will also lead to improved roadway connections in the future. Additionally, replacing a deteriorating structure with a new one will also reduce maintenance costs.

Preliminary construction is expected to begin this fall on the $200 million project.

The bridge will be constructed in stages:

· Stage one involves construction of the northbound portion over Cerritos Channel, expected to take approximately six months;

· Stage two will shut down the southbound half of the existing bridge, shifting traffic to the existing northbound section;

· Stage three will shift traffic to the newly-completed northbound bridge, demolish the remainder of the existing bridge and construct the southbound portion;

· Stages four, five and six will consist of finishing work.

Traffic on the bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction for approximately a year and a half. Completion of the entire project is anticipated in early 2016.

During construction, periodic 55 hour closures of Ocean Boulevard may be required.

Motorists will be notified in advance of any impacts as the project develops. For further information and updates, please visit the Caltrans website: www.dot.ca.gov/dist07 or contact Public Affairs at (213) 897-3487. You may also email us at Judy.Gish@dot.ca,gov.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Safe Routes to Schools


Last week, Caltrans awarded $66 million to cities, counties, and regional agencies for 139 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects to improve safety for students in grades K-8 who walk and bicycle to and from school. In the allocation process, Caltrans works closely with a diverse group of state, local, and regional stakeholders representing transportation, health, education, law enforcement, and bicycle/pedestrian advocates.

The funding was provided by the federal SRTS program. Since its inception in 2005, Caltrans has awarded $156 million for 356 SRTS projects. Caltrans District 7 awarded $16.6 million to 25 cities in Los Angeles County and two cities in Ventura County. Some of the notable projects in that received funding for approximately 125 schools include:

$1 million each to the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park and Glendale to construct raised pedestrian islands, sidewalks and bike lanes and upgrade traffic signals, signs and striping near Gladstone Elementary School in Azusa and at various areas near several schools in Baldwin Park and Glendale.

Nearly $1 million each to the City of Los Angeles and Pico Rivera. The funds will construct roundabouts, crosswalks, pedestrian crossing warning devices, and will be used to install signs, striping and bike racks on 11th Street between Harvard Boulevard to Vermont Avenue near Berendo Middle School. In Pico Rivera, eleven schools will benefit by the installation of traffic signals, flashing beacons, pedestrian crosswalks, and curb and gutter improvements.

$925,000 to the City of Palmdale’s Mesquite Elementary School to install traffic signals and bike lanes, upgrade crosswalks, signs and pavement markings and curb ramps.

In Ventura County, $425,000 was allocated to the Rio Del Valle Middle School in to install traffic signals, and construct crosswalks, bike lanes, and $621,000 to Anacapa Middle School for similar improvements.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caltrans in Ventura Co.: Rice Avenue/US 101 Project

Caltrans partners with local agencies to improve the freeway infrastructure in their communities.

Since February of last year, the City of Oxnard has undertaken the effort to improve the Rice Avenue (SR-1)/Ventura Freeway (US 101) Interchange. The improvements include a new eight-lane over crossing, three through lanes in both directions, two southbound left turn lanes and new northbound and southbound on-and-off-ramps and auxiliary lanes on the 101 freeway. The project will also include enhanced landscaping,new bicycle paths, decorative lighting, sidewalks, and public art. More…

Please call the City of Oxnard at (805) 385-8136, if you have questions about this project.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Smoother Ride on I-5

If you travel I-5 between I-210 and SR-118, you’ve probably noticed that your drive has been considerably smoother as of late. That’s because Caltrans has recently completed an $11 million slab replacement project along this stretch of freeway, a distance of nine miles (4.5 miles in each direction). This part of I-5, which runs through Sylmar and the City of San Fernando, has an average daily traffic volume of more than 200,000 vehicles. So to all 200,000 of you, enjoy the drive. And by the way, we have more I-5 pavement projects in the pipeline.

For more information on I-5 construction projects in Los Angeles County, visit
www.I-5info.com.