Friday, May 30, 2014

Caltrans Reopens Reconstructed Shoemaker Avenue Bridge

Caltrans today opened the newly reconstructed Shoemaker Avenue Bridge, connecting two cities of Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. It is one of three new bridges to be constructed for the $180 million Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) HOV/Rosecrans, Bloomfield, Shoemaker Bridges Project that broke ground on February 6, 2013. The two-lane, local bridge that spans Interstate 5 reopened today following a Ribbon Cutting event held on the Shoemaker Avenue Bridge. The bridge was completely demolished shortly after the project began and rebuilt within 15 months with current design standards and features, including a longer span to accommodate a wider I-5 freeway that is now under construction. The bridge carries approximately 15,000 vehicles daily. The bridge, with no on-ramp or off-ramps connecting to the freeway, mainly serves local commuters, school transportation buses and many commercial and business vehicles. The bridge connects two cities: Norwalk on the north side of the bridge and Santa Fe Springs towards the south. The work is part of the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects, a $1.8 billion package of six projects extending nearly seven miles from the Los Angeles County/Orange County line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (Interstate 605). More than 220,000 vehicles travel this section of I-5 daily. This project will add one carpool lane and one regular lane in each direction from Shoemaker Avenue to Silverbow Avenue; reconstruct the Rosecrans, Bloomfield and Shoemaker bridges; build a pedestrian overcrossing at Silverbow Avenue; and upgrade the Firestone Boulevard frontage road. For more information on the I-5 Corridor Projects, visit or call toll-free at 855-454-6335.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Caltrans Breaks Ground on I-5 Empire Project

It's official: the I-5 Empire Project has started. Caltrans hosted a groundbreaking event for the project today, though if you live or work in Burbank, you probably know that work actually began last week, which is when the closures began. (Sign up to receive closure updates in your inbox at, left column.)

This $355 million project will enhance I-5 in Burbank and improve traffic circulation by adding carpool lanes in each direction between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, constructing a new interchange at Empire Avenue, reconstructing the Burbank Boulevard overcrossing and realigning ramps, elevating the railroad tracks at Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Boulevard and adjacent to Empire Avenue, providing a new connection to Empire Avenue, and constructing an auxiliary lane between Burbank Boulevard and Empire Avenue. The project will relieve congestion, improve traffic flow and provide easier access to Bob Hope Airport and shopping centers. More information is here.

Photo: District 7 Director Carrie Bowen (center) and elected officials and representatives toss the ceremonial dirt. Left to right: Eric Menjivar, Field Representative for Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Jess Talamantes, Burbank City Council Member; Rick Backlund, FHWA Associate Division Administrator; Carrie Bowen; Ara Najarian, Metro Board Director; Dr. David Gordon, City of Burbank Mayor; Daniel Cedeno, District Representative for Senator Carol Liu.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day and Our Veterans

Caltrans hopes that all motorists will have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, but we also hope that you will take time to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Some of California’s freeways and have been named in honor of veterans who served and lost their lives in wars abroad:

  • 101st Airborne Screaming Eagle Freeway (US 101 aka Ventura Freeway)
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial Freeway (SR-126 aka Santa Paula Freeway)
  • Ventura County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway (SR-1)
  • L.A. County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway (SR-1)
Inside 7 Newsletter article: A Few Good Men and Women

Memorial Day is a very personal day for Caltrans because many of our engineers, electricians, lawyers, information officers, landscapers, painters, and many more have served in the military or are still actively serving.  Also, many of the Division of Highways (as Caltrans was known as until 1972) and Caltrans employees have served in the military since World War I.

Motorists Rejoice!: 405 Carpool Lane Opens

The 10-mile carpool lane on northbound Interstate 405 from Interstate 10 to U.S. 101 opened today, in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. 

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty (pictures at podium) was one of several speakers at an opening media event today at the Getty Center. Others included Gregory Nadeau, Federal Highway Administration Deputy Administrator; Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, to name just some.

"We now have a completed rideshare system on the 405 Freeway that allows carpoolers to go all the way from north L.A. County to Orange County in one seamless HOV lane," Dougherty said. 

At 70 miles, the lane is the longest carpool lane in the nation. 

Currently, the state has more than 1400 HOV lane miles, making it one of the largest HOV systems in the country," he added. "Roughly 514 or 36 percent of those facilities are in Los Angeles County, the Carpool Capital of California."

Carpool lanes save users about a minute per mile during peak hours. That would amount to a 50-minute savings per week.

"Congratulations to the elected officials who championed the project and helped secure funding, to the agencies who led the construction and the workers who built it but, most especially, to the motorists who will benefit from it."


The Empire Project: Stay Informed!

The I-5 Empire Project in Burbank has now been underway for a little over a week, and I-5 commuters and Burbank residents are already noticing impacts: road closures, ramp closures, drilling, construction equipment, etc.

To stay informed about the project and to gain a better understanding of how YOU might be impacted, sign up to receive construction updates in your inbox. About once a week, you'll receive a notification explaining closures, construction activities and other info that might be helpful to motorists and residents. 

To sign up, visit the I-5 website, and in the drop-down list under "Stay Informed" on the left side, select "Magnolia Boulevard to Buena Vista Street" and enter your email address. You can unsubscribe at anytime. 

Current subscribers today received the list of next week's freeway closures and some reminders about other closures, as follows:

> San Fernando Boulevard Closure: The half-mile segment of San Fernando Boulevard under I-5 is now CLOSED PERMANENTLY, as are the following  I-5 ramps: northbound Lincoln Street off-ramp, southbound San Fernando Boulevard on-ramp, and southbound Scott Road off-ramp. Use the Buena Vista Street or Burbank Boulevard on- and off-ramps as alternates.  

> Empire Avenue Closure: There will be a full closure of a short segment of W. Empire Avenue May 27-30, 2014, at night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) for utility relocation. There will be no street parking in the closure area. See map at below.  

Questions: Visit or call the toll-free I-5 Info Line at 866.454.6335. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

Half-Mile Segment of San Fernando Blvd. in Burbank to Close Permanently TOMORROW

A half-mile segment of San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank will close permanently tomorrow, May 20, 2014. It will be closed before the morning commute. The closed portion is the segment that crosses under I-5 between the Lincoln Street off-ramp on the east side of the freeway and the Lincoln Street/Victory Place intersection on the west. Here are common questions we’re getting about this closure (see the notice here):

So, is this really PERMANENT? Yes. San Fernando Boulevard will be realigned so that it connects directly to Empire Avenue. There will be a NEW undercrossing at Empire Avenue that will open in mid-2017, creating a new east-west link.

Why is this necessary? The closure is part of the Empire Project, which includes elevating the railroad tracks adjacent to I-5. Closing San Fernando Boulevard is necessary to construct temporary railroad tracks that will allow trains to keep operating during construction. More info about the Empire Project is here.

Will ramps be affected? Yes. The northbound I-5 Lincoln Street off-ramp and southbound San Fernando Boulevard on-ramp will be closed permanently. The southbound Scott Road/Burbank Boulevard off-ramp will be closed when San Fernando Boulevard is closed and will be integrated into the new Empire Avenue interchange.

Is there a detour? Yes. A detour will be posted to route motorists around the closure. Here it is:

You can view a larger version of the detour map here.

What about congestion on surrounding streets? Initially, there may be more congestion, but we find that traffic tends to flow more smoothly once motorists get used to taking another route. To ease congestion, Caltrans is working with the City of Burbank to implement traffic circulation improvements on local streets — such as corridor timing and new signals — before San Fernando Boulevard is closed. Buena Vista Street will also be reconfigured to accommodate additional traffic.

Questions? Visit or call the toll-free I-5 Info Line at 855.454.6335.

Friday, May 16, 2014

This Could Be the Last Time (for Sepulveda Pass Project Closures)

Northbound 405 Freeway Closures in West L.A., Sepulveda Pass Planned Nights of May 16-23

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is scheduled to conduct a new series of nighttime freeway closures on the northbound I-405 May 16 through 23 to facilitate permanent striping of general purpose lanes and electrical, drainage, concrete barrier, and k-rail removal work.  Closure information is as follows:

 The northbound I-405 will be fully closed from Skirball Center Drive to Greenleaf Street:

·  Morning of Saturday, May 17, 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
·  Morning of Sunday, May 18, 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
·  Night of Sunday, May 18, midnight to 5 a.m., Monday, May 19
·  Night of Monday, May 19, midnight to 5 a.m., Tuesday, May 20
·  Night of Tuesday, May 20, midnight to 5 a.m., Wednesday, May 21

Ramp Closures: Ramps begin closing as early as 7 p.m. and lanes begin closing at 10 p.m. on the nights of each operation.
·  Northbound Sunset Boulevard on-ramp 
·  Northbound Moraga on-ramp
·  Northbound Getty Center Drive on-ramp
·  Northbound Skirball Center Drive on-and-off-ramps
·  Northbound I-405 to the north US 101 connector

The northbound I-405 will be fully closed from Wilshire Boulevard to Greenleaf Street:

·  Night of Wednesday, May 21, midnight to 5 a.m., Thursday, May 22
·  Night of Thursday, May 22, midnight to 5 a.m., Friday, May 23

Ramp Closures: Ramps begin closing as early as 7 p.m. and lanes begin closing at 10 p.m. on the nights of each operation.
·  Northbound Santa Monica Boulevard on-ramp
·  Northbound on-ramp from eastbound and westbound Wilshire Boulevard
·  Northbound Sunset Boulevard on-ramp 
·  Northbound Moraga on-ramp
·  Northbound Getty Center Drive on-ramp
·  Northbound Skirball Center Drive on-and-off-ramps
·  Northbound I-405 to the north U.S. 101 connector

Detour Routes:
·         Detour for northbound I-405 closure from Skirball Center Dr to Greenleaf St: Take the northbound Getty Center Dr off-ramp, head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf St.

·         Detour for northbound I-405 closure from Wilshire Boulevard to Greenleaf Street: Take the northbound off-ramp to eastbound Wilshire Boulevard, head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf Street.

What to expect:
·         Work is dependent on favorable weather conditions.
·         Emergency access will be maintained at all times.
For a listing of daily closures and latest updates visit our website at or follow us on twitter: and Facebook at

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Empire Building is Now Underway!

Planning for the Empire Project began more than a decade ago. This week, construction is finally starting. The $355 million project is a series of improvements to I-5 in Burbank between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street. It includes elevating the railroad tracks, building a new interchange at Empire Avenue, reconstructing the Burbank Boulevard Bridge, adding carpool lanes in both directions and more. 

What will crews tackle first on this massive project? The temporary widening of the Buena Vista Street ramps and restriping of Buena Vista Street. We expect motorists to use Buena Vista Street as an alternate after the closure of the half-mile segment of San Fernando Boulevard under I-5, so we're improving Buena Vista Street before the San Fernando closure begins on May 20. 

Want to know more? Learn more about the Empire Project here. Check out this week's closure list here. And sign up to receive the weekly closure list and construction updates in your inbox here (left column under "Stay Informed").

Visualizing what the freeway will look like post-improvements can be challenging, so we created this virtual tour to help:

Questions? Visit or call the toll-free I-5 Info Line at 855.454.6355.

It's Hot!: Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat

All over Southern California temperatures have been well into the nineties and hundreds so we have to be mindful that we keep our little ones car safe. 

According to Jan Null, a meteorologist and lecturer at San Francisco State University, in 2014 there have been at least four heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles; two confirmed as heatstroke and the other two still pending official findings by the medical examiner.  Read more...

These fatalities and injuries were preventable. 

Null suggests the following safety recommendations:
  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.  IF A CHILD IS MISSING, ALWAYS CHECK THE POOL FIRST, AND THEN THE CAR, INCLUDING THE TRUNK. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area. 
  • Keep a stuffed animal in the carseat and when the child is put in the seat place the animal in the front with the driver. Or place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.
  • Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.
    Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up for school. 

Your pets shouldn't be left in hot cars either.

"Parents and other caregivers need to be educated that a vehicle is not a babysitter or play area ... but it can easily become tragedy."

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Father and son Caltrans workers talk about near death experiences.
Caltrans employees and guests gathered at a maintenance station in Whittier for a Workers’ Memorial event to recognize and remember District 7 workers killed on the job.

Statewide, Caltrans has lost 183 employees since 1921, when the Department began keeping records of such fatalities.  Of the 183, 32 of the workers were from District 7, covering Los Angeles and Ventura counties.  The district’s last work related fatality occurred in 2005.

Last year in Northern California, Shawn Baker, 50, of Weed, and Joseph “Robert” Jones, 40, of Montague, died in April 2013 while working on a rock scaling operation to stabilize a hillside on State Route 96, west of Yreka. Their deaths ended a two-year stretch without a highway maintenance worker fatality.  Several District 7 workers perform similar duties along state highways throughout the year as well.

“Our crews put themselves in harm’s way to maintain California’s transportation infrastructure and to help ensure motorists and goods and services get to where they need to go,” said District 7 Director Carrie Bowen.

On average 1,000 Caltrans vehicles are struck each year.  Highway work is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.  The risk of death is seven times higher for highway workers than for an average worker, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In addition to the danger to workers face, an estimated 85 to 90 percent of people who are killed in highway work zones are drivers and passengers.  Latest data shows that speeding was a factor in more than 35 percent of all fatal work zone crashes.  Most work zone fatalities are caused by rear-end collisions.  Driver distraction, inattention and aggressive driving are most often the cause.

“We will never forget our fallen and we will never forget the risks they take every day and night working within a few feet or inches of vehicles zipping by,” said District 7 Director Carrie Bowen.  “All motorists must remember those that you will leave behind if you become complacent or careless about your safety and the safety of those around you.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Caltrans Bikes to the Future!

Owing in large part to its high-profile massive freeway improvement projects, Caltrans is widely perceived as a department that serves automobiles. And we do! But increasingly, we're focusing on other modes of travel as well, including bicycles. Our efforts were recently recognized by the League of American Bicyclists, which just released its 2014 Bicycle Friendly State Ranking. California ranked 9th overall, up from 19th in 2013. That's a big jump in a short time — not too shabby, right? Check out the rankings here.

And while we're talking bikes, come by the Caltrans Museum and see what we're up to on the people-powered transportation front. Our "Bike to the Future: New Directions in Mobility" exhibit will be on display through the end of May. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All are welcome. Admission is free. Address: 100 S. Main St. 90012.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I-710 Connector in Long Beach Set for Long-Term Closure

SB I-710 to WB Ocean Blvd. Connector Set to Close May 10

The southbound I-710 (Long Beach) Freeway connector to westbound Ocean Boulevard is scheduled to close on May 10 so it can be demolished as part of the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project.

The long-term closure is tentatively set to start at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 10. The connector to be demolished links the southbound I-710 to the existing westbound Gerald Desmond Bridge/Ocean Boulevard. A new connector will be built, along with the new bridge. The Gerald Desmond Bridge will remain open.

When the connector closes, southbound I-710 traffic heading to Terminal Island will be diverted briefly onto southbound Pico Avenue to rejoin westbound Ocean Boulevard via the Pico Avenue on-ramp. Detour signs will be in place.

To learn more about the connector closure and associated road closures, visit our FAQ page. Download a detour map and click here to view a demonstration video of the detour and a suggested alternate route.
Please see below for more information about this week's closures.

GDB Replacement Project Work:

SB I-710 Freeway to WB Ocean Blvd. Connector Closure

Type of Work: Freeway connector closure
Area of Work: The southbound I-710 Freeway to westbound Ocean Boulevard connector will be demolished. The detour for traffic headed to Terminal Island and San Pedro is southbound Pico Avenue to westbound Ocean Boulevard. Detour map available here.
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10, 2014 for approx. 30 months

Pico Avenue Off-Ramp (Piers B, C, D, E) Closure

Type of Work: Ramp closure
Area of Work: The Pico Avenue exit (Piers B, C, D, E) from the southbound I-710 Freeway. Follow detour signs along Harbor Scenic Drive to Harbor Plaza. Detour information available here.
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 3 to 7 a.m. Sunday, May 4. *Please note that closure dates and times are subject to change.

Northbound and Southbound Pico Avenue Lane Closure

Type of Work: Lane closure
Area of Work: Traffic will be reduced to one lane on northbound and southbound Pico Avenue between 9th Street and Ocean Boulevard. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times.
When: Ongoing through Saturday, May 3.

Westbound Ocean Boulevard Lane Closure

Type of Work: Lane closure
Area of Work: Traffic traveling on westbound Ocean Boulevard from Downtown Long Beach will be reduced to one lane approaching the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
When: Beginning May 10, 2014 for approx. 30 months.

Beyond the Bridge:

For your convenience, we include traffic impacts from other construction projects in the area from the Port of Long Beach and Caltrans. While we do our best to provide complete information, area construction projects are subject to change.

Westbound Anaheim Street Ramp Closure

Type of Work: Ramp closure
Area of Work: All four I-710 Freeway on- and off-ramps onto westbound Anaheim Street will be closed. Traffic will be detoured to Pacific Coast Highway.
When: 6 p.m. Friday, May 2 through 6 a.m. Monday, May 5

Harbor Avenue and Anaheim Street Intersection Closure

Type of Work: Intersection closure
Area of Work: The northern half of the Harbor Avenue and Anaheim Street intersection will be closed.  East-west traffic through the intersection will remain open, but north-south traffic across Anaheim Street will be prohibited. North-south traffic crossing Anaheim Street will be detoured to Santa Fe Avenue.  
When: 6 p.m. Friday, May 2 through 6 a.m. Monday, May 5

Anaheim Street Lane Closure (POLB)

Type of Work: Lane closure
Area of Work: The project has shifted to the northern lanes of Anaheim Street. Traffic on Anaheim Street remains reduced to two lanes in each direction from the L.A. River to 9th Street. Limited access will be allowed via side streets. (Project information)
When: Ongoing
Use Santa Fe Avenue or East I Avenue to cross Anaheim Street

DISCLAIMER: These dates and times are subject to change due to unforeseen operational factors and inclement weather.

Bridge Project Open House

Join us for an informal, open house-style workshop about the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project at the Hotel Maya on Thursday, May 8. Drop in any time between 7 and 9:30 a.m. to have your questions answered by project team members, speak one-on-one with our project managers, and learn how you can stay connected. We will discuss the upcoming long-term closure of the southbound I-710 Freeway to westbound Ocean Boulevard connector scheduled on May 10, along with detour information, associated traffic impacts, construction updates and more.


LB Bridge App
Download the LB Bridge app to receive up-to-the-minute traffic conditions, view project photos, watch live streaming video of the bridge, read the latest news articles and listen to weekly traffic alerts. When installing the free app, allow "push notifications" to receive breaking news and information about road conditions on and near the Gerald Desmond Bridge. Download the app from the App Store, Google Play or the Windows Phone Store

Live Webcams
Watch live views of the Gerald Desmond Bridge from the website at Once construction really kicks in, you can watch from the safety of your computer or mobile device. There are several cameras installed that provide multiple views and perspectives, you can also view archived photos and time-lapse photography.

Speakers Bureau
If your organization or group would like to schedule a presentation about the GDBR Project, visit our speakers bureau page.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project:

The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project will provide three lanes in each direction to improve traffic flow, emergency lanes on both sides to reduce traffic delays and safety hazards, and 205 feet of vertical clearance to accommodate the world's largest, "greener" vessels.

Visit and like us on Facebook
 to learn more about project activities. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Flickr for project photos and real-time updates.


GINA DEPINTO, Community Liaison
(562) 485-2780 |

                                @newgdbridge         newgdbridge


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