Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Full Closure of U.S. 101 in Ventura County

WESTLAKE VILLAGE – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close all lanes of the southbound Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) between Lindero Canyon Road and Reyes Adobe Road from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30.

All lanes of northbound U.S. 101 will be closed on Thursday, October 31 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Lindero Canyon Road to the Los Angeles County border.

Up to three lanes of U.S. 101 will be closed at Lindero Canyon Road nightly Monday, October 28 through Friday, November 1 beginning at various times from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The Lindero Canyon on-ramp to southbound U.S. 101 will be closed nightly Monday, October 28 through Thursday, October 31 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. In the northbound direction, the on-ramp will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Thursday, October 31.

Detours will be in place.

The closures are related to a project to widen and improve Lindero Canyon Road in Westlake Village. The one-year, $9.3 million project, locally-funded with Caltrans oversight, will complete in fall 2014.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday’s 710 Tanker Fire in Perspective

You probably heard about the tanker fire on I-710 near Washington Avenue on Sunday. At about 9:40 a.m., a tanker carrying about 8,000 gallons of crude oil crashed into the guardrail on the southbound side and burst into flames. Southbound lanes were closed for about 18 hours. 

It’s hard to put a positive spin on an accident like this, but in many respects, this could have been so much worse. Consider:

Reports indicate the driver was seriously injured, but no one died, and no other motorists were seriously injured.

Caltrans engineers dispatched to the scene shortly after the accident undertook a thorough inspection and determined the structural integrity of the bridge wasn’t compromised. 

Caltrans crews worked around the clock and were able to get the freeway open in time for the Monday morning commute.

There will be no long-term impacts on traffic.

It doesn’t always work out this way. A tanker fire on SR-60 in December 2011 resulted in damage so severe, the Paramount Boulevard bridge had to be reconstructed. And a tanker fire this past July in the tunnel connecting southbound SR-2 to southbound I-5 did so much damage, the connector is still closed. So, although accidents are NEVER a good thing, this one wasn’t quite as destructive as other recent tanker fire incidents.

And now, some tanker fire tips for motorists:

Steer clear. If there’s been a tanker fire, chances are very good that traffic is going to be seriously backed up — not just on the affected freeway itself, but in the surrounding area as well. Use an alternate route.

Get news you can use. Consult TV, radio and internet news sources for updates. The Caltrans District 7 Twitter feed (@Caltransdist7) will also have the latest info.

Know before you go. Check the Caltrans QuickMap before you leave (or go511.com) to find out where the traffic hotspots are and what your best alternates might be. You can also dial 511 to get real-time traffic info.

Breathe deeply. Be patient. If you’re inconvenienced by a tanker fire, try to be patient. We know getting stuck in gridlock is no one’s idea of a good time, but keep in mind that many people are working around the clock to provide aid to the injured and to get the freeway open as quickly as possible. So, keep calm and carry on.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Full I-405 Closure in Sepulveda Pass Planned Saturday Night, Oct. 26

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project will be pouring the concrete deck for the new Skirball Drive Bridge in the Sepulveda Pass, work that will require the full closure of both directions of the I-405 in the area beginning this Saturday night, October 26.

Southbound I-405:  Lane closures start on Saturday, October 26 at 10 p.m.  Closure will be from Valley Vista Boulevard to the southbound Skirball Center Dr on-ramp from 1 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Northbound I- 405:  Lane closures start on Saturday, October 26 at 10 p.m. Closure will be from Getty Center Dr to the northbound Skirball onramp from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Skirball Bridge:  Skirball Bridge will be closed from northbound Skirball Center Dr off-ramp to Sepulveda Boulevard on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

·         I-405 southbound closure: exit Valley Vista off-ramp and detour south on Sepulveda Boulevard to the I-405 southbound Getty on-ramp.
·         I-405 northbound closure: exit Getty Center Drive off-ramp and detour north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf Street.
·         Skirball Bridge: To go south: head south on Sepulveda Boulevard to the I-405 southbound Getty on-ramp. To go north: head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 onramp at Greenleaf Street.
·         Sepulveda Boulevard will be open northbound and southbound from Getty Center Drive to the U.S. 101. Getty Center Dr. southbound on-ramp and Getty Center northbound off-ramp will be open.

For additional project information or to obtain detour maps, visit www.metro.net/405.  Follow the project on social media at www.facebook.com/405project and http://twitter.com/I_405. For real-time traffic conditions, visit Caltrans web site at www.quickmap.dot.ca.gov.

Full Closures on Eastbound I-105 near LAX

Caltrans will fully close the Glenn Anderson Freeway (I-105) from California Street to northbound I-405 from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday, October 25 as well as the eastbound I-105 connector to northbound I-405 from 8 p.m. to 7a.m. for filming.  

For traffic conditions, try: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

An encroachment permit was issued to BOLD Films.  Detour signs will be posted for motorists’ convenience.  Expect delays in these areas.  Caltrans advises motorists to Slow for the Cone Zone and Move Over.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Coming on November 16 to 18

Caltrans will conduct an extended weekend closure on the northbound Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) from Valley View Avenue to Carmenita Road beginning Saturday, November 16 at 12:01 a.m. through Monday, Nov. 18 at 5 a.m. in La Mirada and Santa Fe Springs.  

Although the weekend closure includes only one northbound I-5 lane, one freeway connector and one on-ramp, motorists could experience 60- to 90-minute delays on northbound I-5 from Orange County to I-605 at various times throughout the weekend unless 40% to 50% of weekend motorists divert to use alternate routes or avoid I-5 in this area altogether. 

WEEKEND CLOSURE: Sat., Nov. 16 at 12:01 a.m. to Mon., Nov. 18 at 5 a.m. 
CLOSED continuously throughout the weekend will be:
•one of three lanes on northbound I-5 from Valley View Ave. to Carmenita Rd.;
•the freeway connector transition from westbound State Route 91 to northbound I-5;
•the northbound I-5 on-ramp at Valley View Ave. (begins Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.)

Two directional FULL FREEWAY CLOSURES on northbound I-5 ONLY from Valley View Avenue to Carmenita Road, will take place overnight Saturday and Sunday.  Each full freeway closure will last from four to seven hours.
•Overnight, Saturday, Nov. 16: 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m.
•Overnight, Monday, Nov. 18:  1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

OPEN:  All (3 of 3) southbound I-5 lanes will remain open for motorists throughout the weekend from Carmenita Road to Valley View Avenue. 

The public is encouraged to sign-up to receive email notifications on freeway lane and ramp closures and local city street closures by calling the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects Toll-Free Information line at (855) 454-6335 or by visiting www.I-5info.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Talk to Caltrans! Public Workshop on 710 Property Regs TONIGHT!

Caltrans will host two public workshops this week to provide information and request public input on SR-710 property sales regulations. The first workshop is tonight at the El Sereno Senior Citizens Center. The drafting of these regulations is the first step in the process for selling SR-710 surplus residential properties. We want your input on how it should work. (See the workshop notice here.)

Keep in mind that these workshops will maintain a laser-like focus on the drafting of regulations. This is not a workshop about whether a tunnel should be built, property management, or other issues related to the SR-710 gap closure. We want your suggestions on the topics, strategies and perspectives you believe the regs should address.

You'll have an opportunity to make an oral presentation of up to three minutes. We want to have an accurate record of everyone's suggestions, so a stenographer will be on hand to transcribe comments. An interpreter will be available for Spanish speakers. Don't want to speak? No worries. You can fill out a comment card instead. Workshop details below.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.)
El Sereno Senior Citizens Center
4818 Klamath Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90032

Parking: Limited free parking is available at the Center.

Transit: Metro Local 256 and DASH El Sereno/City Terrace. Check trip planners at metro.net and ladottransit.com to verify stop and schedule information.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.)
Pasadena Convention Center
Exhibit Hall and Ballroom, Ballroom C
300 East Green St.
Pasadena, CA 91101

Parking: Convention Center parking is $10.

Transit: Gold Line - Del Mar and Memorial Park stations; Pasadena ARTS Route 10. Metro bus routes also serve the Convention Center. Check trip planners at metro.net and cityofpasadena.net to verify stop and schedule information.
Both the Pasadena Convention Center and El Sereno Senior Citizens Center are wheelchair accessible.

Monday, October 21, 2013

US 101, 102 Years Ago: The El Camino Real

From the Caltrans Digital Collections:

Four Studebaker-EMF automobiles with their drivers and passengers parked in front of the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura, CA 1912.
The Pasear Tour was organized as part of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. Anticipating the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914, in 1911 the United States Congress decided the best way to celebrate would be to hold a world fair, and designated San Francisco as the host city for this exposition. There was an immediate flood of inquiries from all over the country, as to how to best see California by motor car. The Inyo County Good Roads Club proposed that a statewide tourist route be mapped.

El Camino Real Bell Map
The Inyo County Good Roads Club proposed that a statewide tourist route be mapped, called the Pasear Tour, that would "present to the tourist the sublimity of the ocean, the desolation of the desert, the grandeur of the Sierras, and the fertility of the valleys." The route would cover three of the principal roads: El Camino Real (San Francisco to San Diego); El Camino Sierra (Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe); and El Camino Capital (Lake Tahoe to San Francisco). The Inyo proposal received support and sponsorship from the American Automobile Association, California Governor Hiram Johnson, the Studebaker Corporation and the California Highway Commission, among others.

The motorists consisted of Inyo Good Roads Club members, sponsor representatives and newspaper correspondents. The McCurry Foto Company went along with the caravan of Studebaker E-M-F automobiles and documented the journey in photographs. The tourists embarked from the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on June 10, 1912 and followed El Camino Real south (roughly current US 101/Interstate 5 routes) through Los Angeles to San Diego/Tijuana and then back to Los Angeles. The caravan then took the El Camino Sierra route (now roughly Highways 99 and 395), through the desert country and north up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada to Lake Tahoe. The tour then pursued the El Camino Capital route (now US 50/Interstate 80), completing the 2,000 mile loop at the Palace Hotel on July 9, 1912.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Camarillo: 5th St. (SR-34) Closure for Boys and Girls Club 1/2 Marathon

Caltrans will close Fifth Street (SR-34) between Pleasant Valley Road and Las Posas Road Sunday, October 20 for the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo Half Marathon from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.   

An encroachment permit was issued to the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo.  Signs will be posted for motorists’ convenience.  Expect delays along the marathon route during this time.  

Caltrans advises motorists to Slow for the Cone Zone and Move Over.

I-10 Overnight Full Freeway Closures in Baldwin Park

District 7 has scheduled a series of overnight full freeway lane closures in both directions of the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) between the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) and Baldwin Park Boulevard beginning Friday, October 25 through Thursday, November 7. The freeway closures will be in effect up to 7 hours on weekends and 5 hours on weekdays and are needed to accommodate utility relocation work being performed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Detour signs will be posted. Motorists will experience delays and are strongly advised to use alternate routes.

I-10 Between I-605 and Baldwin Park Boulevard
·         Friday, October 25 at 11:59 p.m. - Saturday, October 26 at 6 a.m.
·         Saturday, October 26 at 1 a.m. - Sunday, October 27 at 8 a.m.
·         Nightly, Sunday October 27 - Thursday, October 31, 11 p.m. - 4 a.m.
·         Friday, November 1 at 11:59 p.m. - Saturday, November 2 at 6 a.m.
·         Saturday, November 2 at 1 a.m. - Sunday, November 3 at 8 a.m.
·         Nightly, Sunday, November 3 - Thursday, November 7, 11 p.m. - 4 a.m.

* Overnight work October 29 through October 31 and November 5 through November 7 is tentative as needed.

MCM Construction, Inc. is the contractor for this $66 million Design Build project, which will create a flyover bridge from the southbound San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) to the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway (I-10). Anticipated project completion is fall, 2015.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2/5 Connector Repair Project Update

4"X 6" melted piece of metal from the tanker.
The repairs for the tanker fire damaged SR-2/I-5 connector are still progressing through the design phase.  It is expected that a hired contractor will begin repairs in early November and finish by mid-December.  

The overall cost of repairs is currently estimated at $16.5 million.  Reimbursement for project costs is be sought from the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program. 

The following solutions will be deployed to repair the connector:

  • Hydrodemolition will remove any degraded concrete from the surface of the structure.
  • Shotcrete is a slurry of concrete that is sprayed at a high velocity to fill damaged voids.
  • Epoxy injections will help seal cracks in the concrete and provide additional strength to the structure.
  • Carbon fiber wrapping will help add strength to the outrigger beams on the north side of the connector.
  • Repave the damaged roadway.
  • Upgrade the connector’s lighting, metal beam guardrail, and add anti-graffiti coated paint.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Picture This: Caltrans Photos Receive AASHTO Awards

An iron worker suspended from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge by a thin cable leans over a metal beam with a cutting torch, a brilliant orange cloud of sparks erupting from the tool and surrounding him. The blue-green water of the bay ripples gently below him, in sharp contrast to the heat and fire of the work occurring just a few yards away.

This scene is the subject of a photo that was recently awarded the Grand Prize in the Faces of Transportation competition sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation (AASHTO) officials. The prize was awarded to Caltrans Engineer Martin Chandrawinata.

That's not the only honor Caltrans received. The People’s Choice Award was presented to Caltrans photographer Bill Hall, who captured Caltrans Engineer Matt Bruce inspecting the cable band installation near the top of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge:

Twenty-eight transportation department employees from 21 states and six private citizens submitted 121 photographs in the competition.

While it's rewarding to receive recognition in AASHTO's annual competition, we take photos 365 days year as a necessary part of our work. Whether it's taking simple snapshots to document a striping operation or photographing an entire freeway corridor from a helicopter, cameras are an essential tool for many Caltrans employees. 

Plus, photos allow us to illustrate and explain the work we do — work that is frequently invisible to the public and often occurs in dangerous and inaccessible locations. Many of the photos on this blog serve that purpose. For example, we can't take you inside a burnt freeway tunnel and point out the repairs underway, but we can show you photos like these. A picture can instantly communicate. ("Oh, so that's why the connector tunnel is closed!")

To see some great examples of transportation photography, check out all the entries in the AASHTO competition here.