Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Closures on Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) for Maintenance

Caltrans will perform routine maintenance on Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) at the following locations:
  • Thursday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    One lane of southbound SR-1 will be closed from Temescal Canyon Road to Chautauqua Boulevard to repair guardrail.
  • Monday, October 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Moving closures will be in place on one lane of north- and southbound SR-1 from Sunset Boulevard to Trancas Canyon Road to repair median paddles.
Motorists should expect delays and consider alternative routes. 

Motorists are advised to Slow For the Cone Zone and Move Over.  It’s the law.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ask Caltrans: Backup on I-5 Near Buena Vista Off-Ramp



Dear Caltrans:

I work in Burbank and commute to my job via northbound I-5, getting off at the Buena Vista Street exit. There’s almost always a backup on the freeway as cars line up waiting to get off at this exit. What’s causing this backup and what are you doing to fix it?

- Delayed and Irritated Guy

Dear DIG:

The queue on I-5 is caused by work related to the Empire Project. At the beginning of the project, the northbound Lincoln Street off-ramp was closed permanently. As a result, more motorists are exiting at the next available off-ramp — Buena Vista Street. Further complicating matters, beginning in mid-October, one of the southbound lanes on Buena Vista Street will be closed for about three weeks.

To address this issue, Caltrans is in discussions with the City of Burbank and LADOT about signal timing at key intersections, which may help reduce the queue on the freeway. You’ll also notice some new signage on I-5 warning motorists to slow down and watch for stopped traffic.

Motorists who normally use the Buena Vista Street off-ramp may want to use the Hollywood Way or Glenoaks ramp instead. Although you may be a little farther away from your destination by using an alternate ramp, chances are you'll end up saving time (and frustration) by avoiding the delay at Buena Vista Street.

Drive safely and slow for the cone zone!

More information about the Empire Project, including updates on closures and construction activities, is here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ronald Reagan Freeway (SR-118) Paving Project

Caltrans began repaving portions of SR-118 between Kuehner Drive to Princeton Avenue on Thursday, September 11.  Metal beam guardrail will be replaced and several ramps within the project area will be slurry sealed.  The project is expected to finish by early January 2015.

Construction crews began by paving the outside lanes first, then work their way towards the middle lanes.

Lane and Ramp Closures, 9/26 to 10/3

  • Kuehner Drive to Tapo Street up to three lanes of west- and eastbound SR-118 will be closed between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Ramps within the project area maybe temporarily closed for construction work.  No two consecutive ramps will be closed.
Motorists should expect delays and occasional noise and dust.  Closures are subject to change.  Signed detours will be in place.

C.A. Rasmussen Inc. of Valencia, California was awarded this $16.3 million project that is funded by the State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Seeing the Unseen: Ground-Penetrating Radar Helps Locate Underground Utilities

One of the trickiest parts of any freeway project is utility relocation. Before major construction begins, underground utilities must be mapped and, in some cases, relocated. Often, potholing is used to confirm utility location. (Potholing is the practice of exposing an underground utility to identify its positive horizontal and vertical location.

On the Empire Project in Burbank, Caltrans used a relatively new technology: ground-penetrating radar (GPR). GPR is a nondestructive way to detect the depth and location of utilities and to create a detailed 3D image of what lies underground. This can help save money because accurately identifying utility location can prevent costly change orders. And there's no digging!

To see a GPR crew in action on the Empire Project and learn more about this technology, check out the video below.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Santa Ana I-5 Extended Weekend Closures This Weekend



Plan ahead  for an upcoming Extended Weekend Closure (55-Hours) on Friday through Monday, September 26-29,  on the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) in both directions from Alondra Blvd. to Valley View Ave in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs.Take alternate routes and avoid the area.  Here is a map of the area showing alternate ways around: 
Although mainline I-5 motorists will have partial access to the freeway (only 1 of 3 lanes will be available) from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., there will be delays on this heavily used weekend route.  

Additionally, two freeway connectors will be fully closed throughout the weekend:
    southbound  I-605 to southbound I-5; and westbound SR-91 to northbound I-5.
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•    Overnight, (Fri. 9/26) Saturday morning, 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., expect a full freeway closure.
•    On Sat. & Sun., 9/27 & 9/28, from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., two of 3 lanes are OPEN in each direction. 
•    Overnight,  from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., full freeway closures within these limits.
•    Sunday night, 9/28, from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., a final full freeway closure  (if needed!!)    
•    The Extended Weekend Closure ends Monday morning 9/29 at 5 a.m, (if not sooner!!)    

Alternate Routes:  Motorists are advised to use alternate ways around the closure to avoid delays.  Suggested detours are Routes SB-710, EB/WB-105, NB/SB-605, EB/WB-22 and NB-57.   
 
What to Expect:  The purpose of the weekend closure is to prepare the roadway for a traffic shift.  On Monday morning, 9/29, southbound I-5 mainline traffic will shift onto the center of the roadway and the existing southbound lanes will become the new work zone.  Also, the southbound I-5 Alondra Blvd. on-ramp will permanently close.

The work is part of the $1.8 billion Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) South Corridor Improvement Projects to construct one carpool and one general purpose lane in each direction from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to Interstate 605.  Sign-up for notification on street, lane and ramp closures by calling the toll-free information line at 855-454-6335 or visit  www.I-5info.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(Tumble)Weeding out the Facts





It only stands to reason that drier conditions would produce more tumbleweeds, right?

Not so, say Caltrans landscape architects. Weed growth overall is down this year, a result of insufficient water to germinate seeds, even those species requiring very little. 

The Russian Thistle (Salsola iberica), or tumbleweed, is an invasive weed in arid natural areas.  The blowing skeletons can interfere with traffic and lodge against fences. Growing to three feet tall or higher, Russian thistle flower in summer and early fall.  Once the seeds are set in ground, they will germinate the following spring and seeds can survive up to three years.  

Their habitats include disturbed sites (from construction and/or maintenance activity), bare ground and roadsides.  They are competitive and opportunistic, their oblong shape and ability to pre-generate seeds internally giving them an advantage. When they blow, their shape causes frequent banging against the surface, dislodging seeds.

Caltrans controls them mechanically, by pulling, cutting, tillage, or chemically. There are downsides to each method: pulling is not feasible for large areas; cutting or mowing can be done when the Russian thistles are still small but must be followed up with herbicides to prohibit further growth; tillage (also called disking) will control both seedlings and larger plants but must be repeated frequently which in turn creates more disturbance and hence more weed growth. That leaves chemical control as the most practical method provided it is done at the right time, frequency (not too much or -- again -- disturbance) and using the proper herbicides. 

As in all processes involving nature, a balance must be maintained between abating tumbleweeds for optimum roadway operation and over-abating, which ironically creates more pests. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) Seawall (temporary wave breaker) Project near Las Tunas State Beach in Malibu

Temporary wave breaker under construction.
Caltrans will construct a seawall along southbound Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) to protect a beachside slope from eroding away below the highway near Peña Road.  Large waves caused by hurricanes in Mexico have caused severe erosion to slopes along this section of highway.  Additionally, erosion has caused a utility line to become exposed.  Construction work is expected to begin Wednesday, September 24 and finish by late October.
 
On Wednesday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., one lane of southbound SR-1 will be intermittently closed to allow for the delivery of construction materials.  Following Wednesday, the remainder of work will take place behind concrete barriers along the highway and the bike lane will be unavailable to cyclists and pedestrians. 

To construct the 50-foot long seawall, construction crews will use concrete slurry and sandbags to prevent waves from further damaging the slope. 

Union Construction Inc. of Santa Maria was awarded this $125,000 contract that is funded by the State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.
South facing profile of the temporary wave breaker.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Santa Ana I-5 Full Fwy, Lane, Connector Closures

Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) Closures Sept. 21-25
•    SB-5 Full Freeway Closures
•    NB-5 Partial Freeway Closures
•    SB-605/SB-5 Connector Closures

Caltrans will conduct nightly, overnight full directional freeway closures, partial freeway closures and connector closures on the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5), Sunday through Thursday, September 21 to 25, from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., from Norwalk Boulevard to Carmenita Road in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs.  

Each night, the following will occur: 
•    10 p.m. to 5 a.m.,  two of three lanes on northbound I-5 will be closed from Alondra Boulevard to Rosecrans Ave;
•    11 p.m. to 5 a.m., the southbound I-605 connector to southbound I-5 will be fully closed; 
•    12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m.,  full directional freeway closures (3 of 3 lanes) on southbound I-5 from Norwalk Blvd. to Carmenita Rd; 
•    This series of nightly closures end on Friday morning, 9/25 at 5 a.m.
•    Those motorists travelling on southbound I-605 who wish to connect to SB-5, will be directed to use the Artesia Freeway (State Route 91) to detour around the closure. 
•    The California Highway Patrol will be on scene for traffic control, enforcement and to enhance construction zone safety.  Please Slow for the Cone Zone.
•    The work involves paving the center median and installing falsework, the temporary wood structure, for the new Carmenita Road Bridge.

CLOSED RAMPS as part of the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects  
•    Northbound I-5 Carmenita on-ramp is closed until mid-2016. Use NB I-5 Rosecrans on-ramp.
•    Southbound I-5 Alondra Blvd. on-ramp will permanently close beginning 9/26. 
•    Southbound I-5 Imperial Highway on-ramp is permanently closed.
•    Southbound I-5 Imperial Highway off-ramp is closed.  A new ramp will reopen the week of 9/29.
•    Southbound I-5 Rosecrans Avenue on-/off-ramps are closed through mid-2015.

The work is part of the $1.8 billion Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) South Corridor Improvement Projects to construct one carpool and one general purpose lane in each direction from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to Interstate 605.  The motoring public, residents and businesses are encouraged to sign-up for notification on street, lane and ramp closures by calling the toll-free I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects information line (855) 454-6335 or by visiting www.I-5info.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Give Me Three" Bike Law Takes Effect Today!



The Three Feet for Safety Act takes effect today! The law requires motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike in the same lane. (More info here.) Tips for motorists:

>> Give at least three feet. Don’t overtake or pass a person bicycling too closely. California law requires a standard minimum distance of three feet between any part of the vehicle and any part of the bicycle or person riding the bike.

>> Expect to see people cycling on the roadway. Bicyclists have the right to use all roads except those from which they are officially excluded.

>> Slow down when passing bicyclists. Air pressure from vehicles passing bicyclists, especially trucks and buses, can “push” a bicyclist over just by the wind created by passing at high speed.

Tips for bicyclists:

>> Ride on the right in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. Obey all traffic laws. Stop at red lights and stop signs and yield to pedestrians.

>> Be predictable. Ride in a straight line, not swerving in and out between parked cars. Signal your moves to motorists, other bicyclists, and pedestrians to let them know what to expect.

>> Wear fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. Use appropriate lights and reflectors at night.

>> Use your eyes and ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control and fall. Don't use headphones or earplugs in both ears while riding.

>> Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars. Drivers may pull out in front of you or open a door in your path.

>> Allow faster traffic to pass when it’s safe. Avoid needlessly blocking the road.

The goal is to create a safe environment for both bicyclists and motorists. Let’s look out for each other and keep everyone safe.

Want more info on the "Give Me Three" law? Check out this helpful FAQ from the California Bicycle Coalition.

Monday, September 15, 2014

55-Hour Extended Weekend Closures Coming to Santa Ana I-5

Plan now for an upcoming Extended Weekend Closure (55-Hours) on Friday through Monday, September 26-29,  on the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) in both directions from Alondra Blvd. to Valley View Ave in Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs.
Although mainline I-5 motorists will have partial access to the freeway (only 1 of 3 lanes will be available) from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., there will be delays on this heavily used weekend route.  Additionally, two freeway connectors will be fully closed throughout the weekend:
    southbound  I-605 to southbound I-5; and westbound SR-91 to northbound I-5.
•    Overnight, (Fri. 9/26) Saturday morning, 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., expect a full freeway closure.
•    On Sat. & Sun., 9/27 & 9/28, from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., two of 3 lanes closed in each direction. 
•    Then, overnight,  from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., more full freeway closures within these limits.
•    Sunday night, 9/28, from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., a final full freeway closure.  
•    The Extended Weekend Closure ends Monday morning 9/29 at 5 a.m.  

Alternate Routes:  Motorists are advised to use alternate ways around the closure to avoid delays.  Suggested detours are Routes SB-710, EB/WB-105, NB/SB-605, EB/WB-22 and NB-57.   

What to Expect:  The purpose of the weekend closure is to prepare the roadway for a traffic shift.  On Monday morning, 9/29, southbound I-5 mainline traffic will shift onto the center of the roadway and the existing southbound lanes will become the new work zone.  Also, the southbound I-5 Alondra Blvd. on-ramp will permanently close.

The work is part of the $1.8 billion Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) South Corridor Improvement Projects to construct one carpool and one general purpose lane in each direction from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to Interstate 605.  The motoring public, residents and businesses are encouraged to sign-up for notification on street, lane and ramp closures by calling the toll-free I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects information line (855) 454-6335 or by visiting www.I-5info.com

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ronald Reagan Freeway (SR-118) Paving Project in Simi Valley and Moorpark


Caltrans will begin repaving portions of SR-118 between Kuehner Drive to Princeton Avenue on Thursday, September 11.  Also, metal beam guardrail will be replaced and several ramps within the project area will be slurry sealed.  The project is expected to finish by early January 2015.

Lane and Ramp Closures, 9/11 – 9/26
Kuehner Drive to Tapo Street up to three lanes of west- and eastbound SR-118 will be closed between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

  • Ramps within the project area maybe temporarily closed for construction work.  No two consecutive ramps will be closed.
  • Motorists should expect delays and occasional noise and dust.  Closures are subject to change.  Signed detours will be in place.
C.A. Rasmussen Inc. of Valencia, California was awarded this $16.3 million project that is funded by the State Highway Operation and Protection Program.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Empire Project: A Street-Level View


If you live or work in Burbank, no doubt you’re well aware of the freeway project (known as the Empire Project) now under construction in your fair city. For an overview of the project, you can check out this short video, which provides a bird’s-eye view of the improvements. But you may be wondering what it will look like at street level when all the work is done. What will you see when you’re driving by?

Caltrans has a team of talented landscape architects who work hard to ensure that a project’s aesthetics mesh with the surroundings. For example, they design special architectural treatments for retaining walls, such as this one at the Victory Place separation, looking northwest:


Note the mountain motif on this rendering of the Burbank Boulevard overcrossing, looking east:


And here’s a rendering of the project’s sound walls, covered in trumpet vine and Boston ivy:



The foliage not only looks better than plain ol’ masonry blocks — it also helps deter taggers.

For more information about the Empire Project, visit the I-5 website.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Amtrak Califonria: Be Track Smart

September is Rail Safety Month and Caltrans and Amtrak California are asking Californians to always practice safety when crossing train tracks.

The public is encouraged to pledge to spread the word of rail safety to friends and family. Tweet a friend, post on your Facebook page, tell a co-worker. Get the word out to “Be Track Smart”.

California has more preventable rail-related fatalities and injuries than any other state in the country. Trains and the tracks they travel on can be dangerous if simple safety rules are not followed. 
  • Trains travel in both directions on the SAME track. Be sure to look both ways before crossing.
  • It can take a train up to a mile to stop. If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get out immediately and run away from the tracks in the direction of the oncoming train.  This will prevent injuries from flying debris when the train hits the vehicle.
  • Never walk, bike, jog, or run down a train track. Trains can be very quiet; you may not hear it coming.
  • Never walk within six feet of a moving train. Trains are wider than the tracks. If you get too close you can be hit or dragged under the train.

 About Amtrak California
Under the Amtrak California banner, Caltrans funds three of the five busiest intercity passenger rail routes in the Amtrak system: the Pacific Surfliner® corridor (ranked second), the Capitol Corridor® (ranked third), and the San Joaquin®  corridor (ranked fifth). Caltrans manages both the Pacific Surfliner® and San Joaquin® corridors. The Capitol Corridor®, although funded by Caltrans, is managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority. Visit us at AmtrakCalifornia.com; join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AmtrakCalifornia or follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/Amtrak_CA.


  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Harbor Freeway (I-110) Projects near San Pedro and Wilmington

http://www.portoflosangeles.org/The Port of Los Angeles working in partnership with Caltrans, has initiated two interchange projects that will improve the flow of traffic near the port and in the nearby community of Wilmington ( part of the city of Los Angeles).  

Occasionally, freeway construction projects may require some motorists to find alternate routes to get to their destination.  With a little preparation, delays and tie-ups can hopefully be avoided.  

Check out the Port of Los Angeles web site for more information about the I-110/C Street and I-110/John S. Gibson Projects.


Can We Interest You in a Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant?

Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants can be used for a wide range of purposes, including studying agritourism mobility. This goat is not eligible for a grant, but he can encourage his local transportation commission to apply.

It’s grant time! The Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program was created to support our mission: provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability. There are currently two grants available: Strategic Partnerships and Sustainable Communities.

These grants may be used for a wide range of transportation planning purposes that address local and regional transportation needs and issues and should ultimately lead to the adoption, initiation, and programming of transportation improvements. Recent grants funded projects such as an agritourism mobility study in El Dorado County, an online transit resource guide in Santa Barbara County, and a master parking plan for Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Who’s eligible? Transit agencies, cities, counties, Native American tribal governments, universities, community colleges, non-profits and more. Important dates:

September 2, 2014: Release Call for Applications
October 16 at 5 pm: Applications due to SCAG
October 31 at 5 pm: Applications due to Caltrans

Questions? Check out the grants website or come to a workshop on Monday, September 8:

When: September 8, 2014, 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: 818 West Seventh St,. 12th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017
Host: Southern California Association of Governments

For more information, contact Melanie Bradford at Melanie.Bradford@dot.ca.gov.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cast Your Vote for Best Transportation Photo

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has opened online voting for the 11th annual Faces of Transportation Photography Contest, and they want you to weigh in!

Choose your favorite photographs from among 78 images from all over the country submitted in three categories: "Quality of Life/Community Development," "Historic Projects," and "Taking the Road Less Traveled." Each photograph represents the positive effects of transportation on individuals and/or communities. Vote HERE.

Caltrans District 7 submitted this photo of a diver preparing to perform an underwater inspection of the Commodore Schuler F. Heim replacement bridge (not that you need to vote for it ... unless you really want to): 

 
Online voting runs through September 8, 2014. The photograph receiving the highest number of online votes will win the People's Choice Award.