Friday, March 30, 2012

Angeles Crest Highway Opens (Again)

Date: Friday, March 30, 2012

District: 8 - Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

Contact: Terri Kasinga

Phone: (909) 383-1910 (work) (951) 232-4268 (cell)

San Bernardino County – Caltrans District 8 will again reopen the closed section of State Route 2 (SR 2) between Vincents Gap and Islip Saddle today at 10:00 a.m. The route first closed for winter on December 12, 2011 and reopened on January 10, 2012 for the first time that maintenance employees can remember. It closed again during the latest storm that breached the Inland Empire to allow maintenance crews to focus on snow removal efforts on Interstate 15, and State Routes 138, 2 and 18.

This stretch of mountain highway, located west of Wrightwood leading to Los Angeles County, typically closes every winter due to heavy snow, avalanche activity, and concern for motorist safety and does not reopen until Memorial Day.

Due to a low level of snow fall to date this winter, Maintenance crews were able to clear the route of debris, clean the drainage facilities, and prepare the roadway for opening to the traveling public and sightseeing enthusiasts.

Motorists are advised that the route is subject to closure in the event of any future snow fall, storms, or other unforeseen events.

For more roadwork information please visit

Paramount Blvd. Bridge Update

The construction of the new Paramount Boulevard bridge in Montebello has been progressing well, even the recent rains didn’t slow work. Fortunately, work is still on schedule.

Some motorists on the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) may wonder what the heavy equipment and construction workers are doing in the middle of the freeway. It is a pile driving operation.

To provide support for the bridge abutments, 188, 45-foot long steel piles will installed into the soil the east– (51) and westbound (52) sides and center (80) of the freeway at the completion of the pile driving operation. Westbound has been completed. The abutments on the east and west sides of the freeway will help support the bridge structure.

Caltrans and the contractor, Ortiz Enterprises, Inc. of Irvine, CA meet daily to discuss every aspect of the rebuilding of the new bridge. This is a necessary process to ensure that proper standards are adhered to and to ensure that the project moves along as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

This project is moving along quickly, so we’ll try out best to keep you updated as much as possible. In the mean time, if you have questions, please contact Public Information Officer Patrick Chandler at or 213-897-3630.

Construction work to rebuild the bridge began on March 2, 2012. The bridge is expected to finished and open to the public by June 2012.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Caltrans Supports Business

Public hearing to assist Caltrans in implementing their Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs. If you are a vendor or contractor who has done business with Caltrans and would like to share your experience, please plan to attend the District 7 public hearing Thursday, May 24 at 4 p.m. in District 7 Headquarters at 100 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please contact Wil Blas with Government Affairs for more information 213-897-0890.

Distracted Driving: It's NOT Worth It!

Next Monday in Calabasas, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol will be hold a press conference on the dangers of distracted driving. We’ll have more on that next week, but in the meantime, check out these sobering stats:

> In 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver and about 448,000 people were injured. That’s about 15 deaths every day.

> Among those killed or injured in these crashes, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries included cell phone use as the major distraction.

> The proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of a fatal crash has increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009.

Distracted driving isn’t just cell phone use. It also includes things like texting, eating, putting on makeup, and messing with your navigation system — all of which can result in a serious accident, and in California, a serious fine. Clearly, distracted driving isn’t worth it. The call can wait. Lunch can wait. Mascara can wait. And if you need to adjust your navigation system, pull over and stop.

Why do our driving skills deteriorate so much when we do something else at the same time? You can read more about how the brain becomes overtaxed in this study, or just take our word for it: You’re a pretty crummy driver when you’re distracted. Science says so! (And so do the casualty stats.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Pomona Freeway and Its Wild Residents

Deer living along the Pomona Freeway (SR-60)? Maybe in Riverside County, but not Los Angeles County, there’s too much traffic on SR-60 and I thought the deer moved away a long time ago.

Our Environmental Planning Division initiated a preliminary study to determine the level of deer activity in a green space near SR-60 in Hacienda Heights near Crossroads Parkway.

Caltrans biologists knew that there were deer living near the highway. Fortunately, there have been no reports of motorists hitting deer but there have been sightings of them on the highway.

Biologists placed motion-detecting cameras on the slopes along SR-60 and as time went by, the cameras captured pictures of a few deer and their woodland friends.

Editor's Note: This blog entry previously stated that there were no sightings of deer on the highway, that statement was incorrect.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Closure Updates: I-5 in the San Fernando Valley

In every closure notice we distribute, we always include the phrase “closures are subject to change,” because despite careful planning, sometimes we have to revise closures unexpectedly. Rainy weather, for example, can completely throw off the construction schedule.

With that preamble out of the way, we have two closure updates in the San Fernando Valley we’d like you to know about. Both are related to the I-5 carpool lane project between SR-118 and SR-170.

Branford Street

Branford Street will be closed under I-5 from midnight to 6 a.m. beginning Sunday night, March 25, through Wednesday morning, March 28 (not March 20 through 23). Two lanes of northbound I-5 will also be closed on the same dates and during the same times, but traffic can still get through. See the detour map above. Keep in mind that there’s rain in the forecast for Sunday, so the closure may be revised.

Van Nuys Boulevard

Through April 11, we’ll be closing lanes of Van Nuys Boulevard between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Arleta Avenue while crews work on the drainage system. At least one lane will be open in each direction at all times. Most of the work will be done during the day, though there will be some night work.

For the latest closure info, check the I-5 website or call the toll-free I-5 Hotline: 855.454.6335.

Paramount Blvd. Bridge Update

  • Construction crews have began pile driving the bridge footings in the center median that will eventually support the center section of the new bridge.

  • Pile driving on the eastbound and westbound sides of the freeway is expected to begin very soon.

  • The (precast pre-stressed bulb tee) girders arecurrently being manufactured off-site and will be delivered to the construction site and set in place on the bridge supports using cranes.

  • Nearby residents and businesses may experience noise and vibrations during the hours of construction.

  • Ortiz Enterprises, Inc. from Irvine, California has been awarded this $4.8 million contract. Funds were provided by the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Fund.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Students Glimpse Future Careers at LA Trade Tech’s Construction Awareness Day

About 3,000 high school and community college students today are learning about building bridges, operating sign trucks and backhoes, constructing solar energy systems and much more at the fourth annual Construction and Associated Careers Awareness Day now underway at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Forty industry representatives, union leaders and construction professionals are on hand to talk with students attending the day-long event, which is sponsored by the Caltrans, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Community College District and California Community Connection Corporation.

This unique event enhances students’ classroom training and provides them a glimpse of possible future careers. They’re introduced to technical careers including carpentry, plumbing, welding, solar energy, electrical, heating and air conditioning, pipe trades, landscaping and paving. Construction-related careers include engineering, surveying, architecture, project management, construction financing and management, transportation construction and maintenance, and community development. The event features exhibits, heavy equipment demonstrations, a solar panel presentation and a virtual bridge building display.

Students have access to potential employers and employers have the opportunity to inspire future employees. Caltrans has a prominent presence at the event — and for good reason. The Department offers career opportunities in construction, management, maintenance, design, environmental analysis and planning.

This is an unprecedented time to get involved in infrastructure improvements. Caltrans presently has over 598 highway and freeway projects in construction across the state valued at $10.5 billion. In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, there are 98 ongoing contracts valued at nearly $1.8 billion.

Want to learn more about Caltrans? Check out the Department's website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Science and Engineering Fair Coming Next Week!

Caltrans District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura counties) is joining the educational community along with local businesses, city and other state agencies in the 62nd Annual Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair to be held at the Pasadena Convention Center during March 29-31.

The Science Fair is the largest and longest running regional science fair in the country; it began in 1950 by a small group of volunteers who wanted to encourage students who had shown an interest in science, math and engineering. Caltrans engineers and staff who are active in the department’s student mentoring program will be on hand as volunteers, judges and to exchange ideas with the educational community and to discuss career opportunities with the department.

For more information, please link to their website at

Monday, March 19, 2012


Caltrans today announced that construction will begin on a $110 million project on the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) that will significantly improve congestion and enhance safety on the heavily traveled corridor where more than 220,000 vehicles travel daily.

The I-5 Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project will add one carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction from North Fork Coyote Creek to Marquardt Avenue, a distance of nearly a mile. The project also includes reconstructing three bridges at Alondra and North Fork Coyote Creek to accommodate a wider freeway, redesigned ramp structures, and realigned Firestone Boulevard and Freeway Drive frontage roads.

The project is funded by federal, state, and local financing, including $99.4 million from Proposition 1B, California’s 2006 transportation bond. To date, the state has allocated more than $11 billion in Proposition 1B funds for transportation purposes statewide. Other sources include $9.1 million from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Proposition C, and $830,000 from the Federal Highway Administration.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

Closure in the San Fernando Valley: Branford Street

If you live in the San Fernando Valley near I-5 and Branford Street, there’s a closure coming up this week we’d like you to know about.

Branford Street will be closed under I-5 from midnight to 6 a.m. beginning Tuesday night, March 20, through Friday morning, March 23. Flaggers will be on site to allow access to local traffic. See map at right for detours.

Two lanes of northbound I-5 will also be closed on the same dates and during the same times, but traffic can still get through. Be sure to slow down when you see the cones.

Why the closures? It’s part of the carpool lane project now in progress on I-5 between SR-118 and SR-170. This week, crews will begin removing portions of the bridge rails to accommodate the widening of the freeway. For the safety of motorists, we need to close the road below the worksite and the freeway adjacent to it.

You may hear construction noise during this operation, but it will not exceed levels allowed by state and federal regulations.

For more information about the project, check out the I-5 website or call us on the I-5 toll-free hotline: 855.454.6335.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Angeles Crest Highway Closes Due To Snow

Friday, March 16, 2012

8 - Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

Terri Kasinga

(909) 383-1910 (work)
(951) 232-4268 (cell)

San Bernardino County – Caltrans District 8 will close the section of State Route 2 (SR 2) between Vincents Gap and Islip Saddle today at 2:00 p.m. until further notice due to the prediction of a large amount of snow from the incoming storm.

This stretch of mountain highway, located west of Wrightwood, closes every winter due to avalanche activity and concern for motorist safety. However, the route reopened for a period of time this winter due to low snow levels. The Maintenance crews from Cajon were able to maintain the route for several weeks and keep it open to the public for the first time remembered during winter months.

For roadwork information please go to Bring chains when traveling to any mountainous area.

# # # #

Pearblossom Highway (SR-138) Widening Project Groundbreaking

Date: March 16, 2012
District 7:
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties
Patrick Chandler


Littlerock – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) today announced the beginning of construction of a two mile-long project to enhance safety and improve congestion on the Pearblossom Highway (SR-138) between Avenue T in Littlerock and State Route 18 in Llano. The project is expected to finish in spring 2013.

The improvements are as follows:

  • A new traffic signal at 87th Street, and the existing 82nd Street signal will gain a left-turn arrow and pocket.
  • A median will be constructed so cars can move into it to turn left.
  • Alpine Elementary School and several businesses nearby will gain continuous American with Disabilities Act compliant sidewalks with wheelchair access.
  • Several drainage inlets will be installed throughout the project area to help alleviate flooding.

“This project is part of the first phase of several projects in the pipeline to continue to upgrade and improve SR-138 in the Antelope Valley,” said District 7 Director Michael Miles. “Through this steadfast partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and our local partners, our efforts to improve and maintain Los Angeles County’s transportation infrastructure will continue.”

This $11.6 million project is funded by the State Transportation Improvement Program fund. Toro Enterprises, Inc. of Oxnard, California has been awarded this construction contract.

# # #

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Caltrans Launches Website to Help Helicopter Pilots Find Hospitals

Caltrans has launched a website for emergency response pilots to help them find 150 heliport-equipped hospitals across California during medical emergencies. This service will provide a critical link between hospitals and personnel that respond either to daily or large-scale medical emergencies.

“Until now, emergency responders had no single source of information for the locations and capabilities of these heliports,” said Acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “This new website provides critical information at a time when every second counts.”

The website is intended to aid pilots who fly Emergency Medical Services (EMS) helicopters and helps first responders by providing quick online access to state-permitted hospital heliports and the type of emergency services each hospital provides.

“It’s a great resource for any air medical organization,” said John Mitchell, Redding Reach Air Medical Services base Lead Pilot. “It reduces pilots’ stress levels by familiarizing them with different hospitals’ helipads and also gives a birds-eye view of each hospital’s location and area. I have it marked as a favorite on my browser."

The Hospital Heliport website was developed by Caltrans in cooperation with the EMS Authority, EMS operators, and other stakeholders. The result is an interactive state map that shows the locations of hospital heliports. Emergency responders can “zoom” into county or regional views and select information about a particular heliport.

Information includes geographic coordinates, trauma center level, and the heliport’s proximity to nearby cities and major roads. The site also provides aerial photographs depicting authorized flight paths, and heliport data such as dimensions, lighting, elevation, and helicopter size and weight limits.

“Air ambulance services make it possible to transport the most severely injured and sickest patients from distant locations to medical centers that have the needed expertise,” said Dr. Howard Backer, Director of the EMS Authority. “Providing hospital landing site information online ensures that air ambulance providers have ready access to accurate information on receiving facilities’ landing sites to improve flight safety.”

The website address is:

Monday, March 12, 2012

California Household Travel Survey Now Underway

Every day, millions of people move throughout California in cars, on bikes, by foot, by light rail, by bus. To plan the projects of tomorrow, Caltrans needs to understand how Californians travel today. Toward that end, Caltrans, the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board and local transportation agencies are now undertaking the California Household Travel Survey.

About 57,000 households randomly selected from all over California will be asked to participate in the survey. Most participants will be asked to record all their travel for 24 hours on a designated day, noting the places they go, how they travel, and the activities they do at each place. Additionally, a smaller sample of households will be given a GPS or engine sensor to record information about their travels. Participation is voluntary.

The data collected will be summarized to describe travel patterns, such as the general activities people engage in, the means of travel used, where the trips are coming from and going to, the extent to which the trips are combined, and the time of day the trips are made.

The travel information gathered will help build a complete picture of local transportation needs, so decision-makers can make the best recommendations for improvements. Smart investments in transportation will improve our state’s economy and environment through better access to jobs and housing, reduced traffic congestion, and increased mobility.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Last Night on I-5: Successful Concrete Pour!

Last night on northbound I-5 near SR-14, while most of us were sleeping, construction crews were busy pouring 1,700 cubic yards of concrete for the new direct HOV connector. (For you engineering types, it was the stems and soffit of frame 3 that were being poured.)

How much is 1,700 cubic yards? A standard pickup bed holds about 2.5 cubic yards, so imagine 680 pickups filled with concrete. That’s a LOT of concrete! Check out the slide show below to see the crew in action. Photos come courtesy of our incredibly dedicated construction team.

To accommodate this operation, Caltrans diverted traffic onto the Truck Route. We had numerous electronic signs in place to provide advance warning to motorists. There was no congestion, no incidents, and the closure was picked up on schedule.

The operation went very smoothly, both from a construction perspective and traffic operations perspective. We thank you for your patience while the work is underway, as well as your attentive driving in the construction zone.

For more information, check out the I-5/SR-14 direct HOV connector project page on the I-5 website, or call the I-5 Hotline: (855) 454-6335.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Caltrans Rocks!?

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s “Levitated Mass” art exhibit has already traveled through several city streets. The big rock has traveled on a few state highways and over a few freeways which meant that Caltrans had to help with the coordination of the big move.

To capture the rock’s move, Steve Devorkin, from District 7's Graphic Services Unit, was able to catch some early morning pictures of the rock on the move on the Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) and above the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) in South Los Angeles.

Concrete Pour Tonight on Northbound I-5, Closures Overnight

If you use I-5 near SR-14, there’s a full freeway closure tonight we’d like you to know about. Northbound I-5 at SR-14 will be closed tonight, March 8, at 10 p.m. until tomorrow morning, March 9, at 5 a.m. But you won’t have to get off the freeway — you’ll be detoured onto the Truck Route. And at least two lanes of the connector from northbound I-5 to northbound SR-14 will remain open.

The closure is necessary so that crews can pour concrete for the new I-5/SR-14 direct connector. The photo at right shows the columns that will support the connector deck.

Here are a couple more closures associated with tonight's concrete pour:

* The connector from westbound I-210 to northbound I-5 will be closed during the same window.

* Up to two lanes of southbound I-5 will be closed between Weldon Canyon and Balboa Boulevard tonight at 11 p.m. until tomorrow at 4 a.m.

Electronic signs will alert motorists to the detour in advance of the closures.

Questions? Call the toll-free I-5 Hotline at (855) 454-6335 or visit the I-5 website.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Construction Begins on New Paramount Boulevard Bridge Over SR-60

Less than three months after the Paramount Boulevard bridge over SR-60 in Montebello was demolished following a tanker fire, Caltrans has begun building its replacement. A groundbreaking was held this morning on a closed on-ramp to mark the occasion. (See photo to the right of District 7 Director Mike Miles being interviewed by KNBC-4 at the event. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, who was instrumental in securing funding, is to the right.)

The bridge, built in 1967, was damaged on December 14, 2011 — so severely that portions of SR-60 near the bridge were closed for three days while crews assessed the damage, demolished the bridge, and repaired the pavement. The new bridge, which is funded by the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program, will be 32 feet wider than the old bridge, with an extra northbound lane, a 14-foot median and shoulders.

One of the truly noteworthy aspects of this emergency project is that the bridge will be completed in just three months — that’s in June! Under normal circumstances, it’s not uncommon for a project of this magnitude to take several years. The cooperation of federal, state and local authorities made it possible to secure federal funding and fast track the project. Thanks to everyone who acted quickly and helped with this process.

And if you drive SR-60, we’d like to thank YOU for your patience in the aftermath of the tanker fire. Going forward, most of the bridge construction will take place at night to minimize the inconvenience to motorists.

For more information about the bridge replacement or closures, call us at (213) 897-3656 or check out the fact sheet on our website.