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: or contact Public Affairs at (213) 897-3487. You may also email us at,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

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Pain on the way to More Gain

Beginning Monday, October 24 at 7 a.m., lanes will be reduced on Sepulveda Boulevard between Moraga Drive and Montana Avenue as part of the $1 billion northbound I-405 carpool lane project in West Los Angeles.

The bad news: These closures will be in effect for three months, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to perform utility relocation work.

The good news: The Sunset Boulevard off-ramp, closed daily since October 15, will reopen on October 30.

The 10-mile carpool lane, from I-10 to U.S. 101, will complete in 2013 and is expected to provide congestion relief to long-suffering Westside motorists.

For more information on this and other project-related closures, as well as everything you ever wanted to know about 405 carpool lane currently under construction, please go to

A Blast from the Past: I-5 Under Construction 1950s

In January 1957, Assistant State Highway Engineer Edward T. Telford said, “Completion of the Golden State Freeway through the City of Los Angeles, connecting it with the Santa Ana Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and the Pasadena Freeway is of vital importance in clearing up traffic congestion on present freeways serving the Los Angeles Civic Center and business district.”

In 1957, the Golden State Freeway was known as U.S. Highway 99. Now known as Interstate 5 or I-5, it is still a vital route not only for Los Angeles but the backbone for the entire west coast. Currently, there is a lot work to be done on I-5 and honestly it is going to affect the lives of millions of motorists everywhere in Los Angeles County. Reduced lanes, closed on- and off-ramps, construction noise, and a break or interruption of your daily routine, are what some motorists may experience, but more lanes will be added along with carpool lanes, soundwalls, improved interchanges, longer lasting pavement, and many more improvements are on the way. More…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Construction Notice: Southbound I-5 in Arleta

As part of the I-5 carpool project between SR-118 and SR-170, crews are placing dirt behind the new retaining wall along Sharp Avenue between Osborne Street and Branford Street in Arleta this week. This will allow the roadway to be elevated for the widening of the freeway. The work is taking place through Friday at night (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.).

Two lanes of southbound I-5 will be closed so that crews can access the area safely, but you can still get through.

If you live in the area, you may hear construction noise during this operation, but it won’t exceed levels allowed by state and federal regulations.

To learn more about this project, visit the I-5 website.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tony Curtis leaves the Hollywood Freeway

Unfortunately, after 16-years of re-touching the Tony Curtis mural after numerous vandal attacks and few hundred thousand road miles on his truck, muralist George Sportelli of Whittier has begun the delicate process to remove the mural from the Sunset Blvd. bridge on the southbound side of the Hollywood Freeway (US 101). Sportelli repainted the mural near Hollywood Blvd. and Bronson Ave. in Hollywood in September.

“I painted it [the mural] because I had seen murals on the freeway growing up and I thought it might be fun to do one,” said Sportelli. “I decided about a year or two ago that I needed to relocate this mural because I didn’t intend to spend the rest of my life cleaning graffiti off of it.”

Originally painted in 1995 by Sportelli as part of Caltrans Transportation Art Program, the mural has stood as an easy reminder to motorists that they are passing through Hollywood or the city’s creative nature. The current mural will be installed on a building at the Shiloh Horse Rescue near Las Vegas which is owned by Curtis’ widow, Jill Curtis.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Smooth Move

Motorists on the 101 Freeway between Calabasas and Camarillo are noticing a distinct difference in their driving experience with the recent completion of two pavement rehabilitation project in that area.

It was a bumpy ride while construction was underway, and Caltrans appreciates the patience of those who had to put up with it. Now we are told that the roadway is "like glass" but the most important part is that pavement life has been significantly extended and maintenance needs reduced. As a result, fewer lane closures will be needed.

A final section of the project, between Pleasant Valley Road in Camarillo and Padre Juan Creek in Ventura is still ongoing and is expected to be finished before the end of the year.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who Are You Going to Call?

Getting mixed up, a little confused as to who to call about your transportation needs? Daily, at Caltrans we receive calls from residents who aren’t sure whether they need to speak to Caltrans or the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Well let’s try to quickly breakdown the differences to help you get to where you need to go. Here are a few frequently asked questions:

Q: I received a parking ticket while parked on a street in the City of Los Angeles?
A: Call LADOT. Please call 3-1-1 for Los Angeles City services.

Q: I need to update by ambulance driving permit in the City of LA?
A: Call LADOT. Please call 3-1-1 for Los Angeles City services.

Q: There is a pothole in the number 1 lane on the eastbound I-10 just before Grand Avenue.
A: Call Caltrans. Maintenance will schedule a road maintenance crew to come out and repair the pothole. Remember, there are over 1100 freeway miles in Los Angeles County, so our crews are quite busy.

Q: There’s graffiti on Soto St. off-ramp on eastbound SR-60, who should I call?
A: Call Caltrans. The Special Crews maintenance region will schedule crews to change or clean graffiti off of freeway signs.

Caltrans is the builds, maintains, and operates the state’s highways and freeways. Sometimes knowing who to call is a little tough, but we are here to help.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Materials Lab Now Open

Caltrans is very fussy about the materials it uses to build and maintain the freeway system. Everything from the asphalt you drive on to the steel used in the bridges overhead is tested before it becomes part of the transportation infrastructure. Much of that testing is now taking place at the new Southern Regional Laboratory, which just opened in Fontana. The 70,000 square-foot facility serves Caltrans Districts 7, 8 and 12, and replaces a much smaller facility in Los Angeles that had been in use for more than four decades. One major benefit of the new lab is that some tests previously performed in Sacramento can now be done right here in Southern Cali, which helps streamline construction.

Monday, October 10, 2011

710 Freeway Closure Extended

LOS ANGELES – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has extended the temporary closure of the northbound Long Beach Freeway (I-710) from Bell to Downey due to a construction operation that took longer than expected.

A full-freeway closure that has been in place since 11:59 Friday and was scheduled to end on Monday at 5 a.m. has been extended to 5 a.m. Tuesday. Currently, three northbound lanes and two southbound lanes are open to traffic. This is expected to be reversed for the afternoon commute. More...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Caltrans Underwater

What is orange and black, swims underwater, and makes lots of bubbles? Well, it’s a Caltrans Structures Maintenance and Inspections Dive Team.

They may look like something you might have seen in the movie Few Good Men, they are a team of twelve structures maintenance engineers (not sailors) that travel the state to inspect bridges that cross over waterways to ensure they are safe for use.

Whether walking on the bottom of the San Francisco Bay to inspect the support structures of the Golden Gate Bridge, trudging through the murky waters of the Los Angeles Counties bridges, or in the Colorado River, this team is there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I-405 Sepulveda Pass Closures Curtailed for Yom Kippur

In observance of Yom Kippur, there will be no closures related to the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project* before 10 p.m. on Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8, between Getty Center Drive and Mulholland Drive.

For a list of closures occurring after 10 p.m., check the webpage each afternoon for that night’s lane, ramp and street closures. You can also hear a recording of the closures on the project hotline: (213) 922-3665 and then press 1.

*This is a Metro project; Caltrans has oversight.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wet Winter Weather Driving Tips for a Safe Drive

Normally, motorists in Los Angeles don’t face extreme weather-related driving conditions… so, that’s all the more reason to take extra precautions today to prepare for predicted rain showers coming tonight and tomorrow in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Motorists can do a few simple things to prepare for a safe drive in the season’s first rainstorm:

Buckle up.
Gas up.
Slow down.
Take your time and give yourself extra travel time.
Check brakes, tires, wiper blades, headlights and tail lights.
Know your route – you may have to take an alternate route.
Take along water, snacks, blankets, towels, gloves, warm clothing – and some cash!
Put an extra car key in your pocket… don’t get locked out in rain, sleet and snow.
Share the road. Give space to big rigs, trucks, and look twice for motorcycles and cyclists.
Be attentive to electronic message boards and other alerts about road conditions, lane closures or detours.
Dial 911 for emergencies.
Dial 511 in LA/Ventura/Orange County for up to the minute traffic, transit and commuter information.
Call 800-427-7623 (427-ROAD) for highway conditions statewide.
Before you go….view Caltrans network of roadside traffic cameras at:

Remember the Move Over Law requiring motorists to slow down and move over one lane – when it’s safe - when you see flashing amber lights indicating that Caltrans workers, law enforcement or tow truck operators are parked and working near the roadway.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Ramp Closure Planned in Ventura

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the northbound Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) Sanjon/Vista Del Mar off-ramp this weekend as part of a $52 million project that is replacing concrete slabs and repaving ramps on U.S. 101 between Santa Rosa Road and the Padre Juan Canyon Road overcrossing. The closure will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, and the ramp will reopen by Sunday, October 9, at 11:59 p.m. Detours will be signed.