Monday, February 23, 2015

Caltrans will host seven statewide workshops next month to solicit public comment and input on the development of the California Transportation Plan 2040, which provides a long-range policy framework to meet California’s future multimodal mobility needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Workshops will be held in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento and Redding. The workshop in Los Angeles is scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at SCAG, 818 West 7th Street, Los Angeles. More information is here. 

These fun and interactive workshops will include maps and exhibits, a short overview presentation, and a variety of activities designed to share information about transportation concerns and help shape the direction of the CTP 2040 document. 

The CTP envisions a fully integrated, multimodal, sustainable transportation system that supports economic vitality, protects natural resources, promotes the health and well-being of all Californians, and meets people’s needs equitably. By being involved and sharing your ideas, you can influence the content of the final plan and, ultimately, decisions on how California transportation dollars are invested. More info about CTP 2040 is here.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Freeway Connector Tunnels To Close For Washing

Tunnel cleaning in SB SR-14 to SB I-5
Caltrans will close the following freeway connector tunnels from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to remove soot, dirt, and grime graffiti:

Friday, Feb. 20 – Westbound I-105 to Southbound I-405    
Saturday, Feb. 21 – Eastbound I-105 to Northbound I-405   
Sunday, Feb. 22 – Eastbound I-105 to Southbound I-405
Monday, Feb. 23 – Northbound I-110 to Northbound I-405               
Tuesday, Feb. 24 – Southbound I-110 to Southbound I-405               

The tunnel washing will help enhance lighting and safety within the tunnels.
Have you tried for freeway conditions throughout California?

A signed detour will be in place.  Minor delays are expected.  The California Highway Patrol will be on duty.  Please Be Work Zone Alert. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

West County Connector Project Now Complete!

After four years in the making, Caltrans and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) have completed the $297 million West County Connector Project, which will bring congestion relief where three major freeways (I-405, I-605 and SR-22) converge. The project will enhance safety by reducing the merging and weaving previously necessary to transition between carpool lanes and reduces travel times, getting motorists to their destinations sooner.

The six-mile project constructed the following improvements: 

  > Two new direct carpool connectors eliminating the need to exit and re-enter the carpool lanes when transitioning to adjacent freeways. 

  > A second carpool lane in each direction on I-405 between SR-22 and I-605.

  > Reconstruction of six bridges to add an additional carpool lane. 

  > Installation of new sound walls, retaining walls and landscaping.

This major connection between Orange and Los Angeles counties is the busiest section of freeway in the nation, with an average daily traffic volume as high as 370,000 vehicles and projections of 430,000 in 2035. 

The connector is also an important truck route and an integral part of Southern California’s freeway network. Motorists traverse this section of highway for access to John Wayne Airport, Long Beach Municipal Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Long Beach.

The press release announcing the project’s completion is here.

More info about the project is here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

710 Extended Weekend Closures Cancelled


Check back Feb. 26 for status of next weekend

We're calling it the "Winter Wham," a series of three-to-six extended weekend closures on the 710 Freeway between Florence Avenue and Washington Boulevard beginning Friday, February 20, 2015.

The full freeway closures will start Friday evenings at midnight to Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. and resume Sunday evenings at 11 p.m. through Monday mornings at 5 a.m.

From Saturday morning through Sunday night, lanes will be reduced to two lanes northbound and three lanes southbound. 

There also will be ramp closures:

EB Florence Avenue to NB I-710 – Detour is EB Florence to NB Garfield       Avenue to NB I-5;
WB Florence Avenue to NB I-710—Detour is WB Florence to NB Atlantic;
SB Atlantic Boulevard to SB I-710 – Detour is SB Atlantic to EB Florence;
NB Atlantic Boulevard to SB I-710 – Detour is NB Atlantic to EB Bandini     Boulevard to SB Garfield Avenue to WB Florence; 
NB I-710 off-ramp to NB Atlantic and EB Bandini—Detour is to exit at         Washington, and then east on Washington to Atlantic.

During the closures, Caltrans suggests these alternate routes:

To northbound I-710:

·         EB I-105 to NB I-605
·         WB I-105 to NB I-5
·         NB I-605 to NB I-5. 

To southbound I-710:

·         EB State Route 60 to SB I-605
·         WB SR-60 to SB I-605 to WB I-105
·         EB I-10 to SB I-110 to EB I-105.

We know this is going to be difficult for motorists and sincerely apologize for
the inconvenience. However, the closures are necessary to accomplish work
othe I-710 pavement improvement project from Interstate105 to Interstate10, part of an ongoing effort to upgrade the route which began in 2001 and is being accomplished in phases.

The project is installing precast concrete panels and concrete slabs in various lanes and locations, upgrading the median barrier and constructing maintenance pullouts.

The roadway rehabilitation project will result in better ride quality and will reduce the need for maintenance. Existing median barriers will be upgraded to concrete barriers, therefore reducing the risk of vehicle crossovers. Construction of maintenance pullouts will also reduce exposure of maintenance personnel to traffic and enhance safety. 

Shimmick/Myers and Sons is the contractor on the $120 million project, which started in fall 2012 and will complete in 2016.

Motorists are encouraged to visit the Caltrans website at for further information.

Friday, February 13, 2015

I-5 Empire Project Update: Buena Vista Pile Driving

The I-5 Empire Project in Burbank is one of the biggest projects underway on I-5. Now nine months into construction, the $355 million project will construct carpool lanes between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, widen the overcrossings at Burbank Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, build a new undercrossing and interchange at Empire Avenue, elevate the railroad tracks, and cap the Burbank Western Channel.

On January 12, crews began pile driving for the widening of the Buena Vista Street overcrossing, which will soon need to support new carpool lanes. What exactly is pile driving and why is it necessary? The video below explains all! 

More information about the operation, which will continue through late February, is here. A detailed schedule is here

Swarm Maintenance Recap: East LA Interchange

Caltrans electricians replace old amber lights with new LEDs on US 101.
To avoid disrupting traffic and inconveniencing motorists, maintenance closures that allow crews to work on the East Los Angeles Interchange are usually very short – typically a couple of hours at most. By increasing that window to six hours and assigning multiple crews to the effort, Caltrans was able to complete multiple maintenance operations simultaneously during District 7’s fourth “swarm” maintenance operation.  

A total of 100 maintenance and community service workers participated in the effort on Sunday, January 25, in closed sections of the East Los Angeles Interchange from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. They removed litter and graffiti, trimmed trees, cleared weeds, repaired guardrail and irrigation, replaced lamps, inspected and cleared drains, and inspected structures. Thousands of motorists were detoured around the closure, but delays were minimal.

Read the The Guardian’s perspective of the day’s events.

According to South Region Maintenance Manager Marvin Pruitt, the interchange was in need of a great deal of maintenance due to accessibility difficulties and short closure windows. “We cannot close lanes during the day Monday through Friday, unless it’s an emergency, and working at night exposes crews and motorists to additional risks,” said Pruitt. 

Maintenance Manager I Richard Almanzan agrees. “We are being conscious of the traveling public and commuters and by having the swarms on Sunday morning when traffic volumes are low. Tackling all of these operations at once allows us to reduce the future need for closures in that area,” he said.

One of the day’s tasks included cleaning the slot drain next to the center median, which was filled with debris and trash.  A truck equipped with a water jet sprayed high-pressure water to bust open clogs. “If it weren’t for the swarm closure, the crews would have needed to close at least two of the three southbound lanes,” said Pruitt.

Thanks to six car-free hours on a Sunday morning, crews were able accomplish weeks of maintenance work – and they were able to do it in safe conditions without exposure live traffic, leaving the interchange safer, cleaner and in better repair for motorists.

Want to see the swarm crews in action? Check out the photos below.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The I-5 Empire Project in Six Minutes

The I-5 Empire Project in Burbank is one of the biggest freeway projects underway in Los Angeles County. Now nine months into construction, the $355 million project will construct carpool lanes between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, widen the overcrossings at Burbank Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, build a new undercrossing and interchange at Empire Avenue, elevate the railroad tracks, and cap the Burbank Western Channel.

It's a lot to wrap your head around, and to help city residents understand how it will all come together, the City of Burbank has produced an informative video that clearly and concisely explains the project in just six minutes. 

The video, by Los Angeles-area Emmy Award-winning journalist Peter Musurlian, first aired as the cover story of the City of Burbank's Golden Mike-winning magazine program called "Burbank on Demand" on the city's government access outlet, The Burbank Channel. Check it out below. 

Photo above shows the beginnings of the new Empire Avenue interchange.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

We're not Your Father's Caltrans

Old Caltrans: Roads, roads, roads (and bridges). New Caltrans: Sustainability, livability, and active transportation solutions that work for everyone.

For a recent illustration, you need only look to the city of Hermosa Beach. The city worked for years to improve and beautify the area around Pacific Coast Highway and Aviation Boulevard, forming the PCH and Aviation Committee that ultimately put together a package of improvements including landscape design, signage, lighting, bus benches and a "beachy" aesthetic. 

City officials brought their plan to the Caltrans offices in downtown Los Angeles and, with no hesitation, we approved it and agreed to come up with a Project Study Report. 

"I think it's a win-win for (the city and Caltrans)," said Hermosa Beach Mayor Peter Tucker, "and I think Caltrans has a whole new way of doing things." City Manager Tom Bakaly agreed: "They have some new leadership there."

For more on Caltrans' partnership with the city, please read the entire article in the Hermosa Beach Reporter

And check out Caltrans Mission/Vision/Goals here:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Major Portions of Pacific Coast Highway in Pt. Mugu (SR-1) Opened to Public

Caltrans today announced that nearly six miles of the nine mile closure on Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) between Las Posas Road and Yerba Buena Road are open to public access.  SR-1 is now open from Las Posas Road to the Sycamore Cove Day Use Area.  The public will now have access to trails and beaches in Point Mugu State Park.  The highway remains closed between the Sycamore Cove Day Use Area and Yerba Buena Road.  The damaged section of SR-1 is expected to be closed until the end of February. 
View project page.
200 ton Link-Belt crane used to place
rocks to protect washed out slopes.
Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians will not be permitted access to southbound SR-1 beyond the Sycamore Cove Day Use Area or northbound SR-1 beyond Yerba Buena Road.  Motorists and cyclists must use alternate routes around the closure such as US 101, state highways and Los Angeles county roads that intersect with SR-1.  Trespassers are subject to possible citation by law enforcement.

Due to high surf caused by storms in January, the slopes below the highway washed away requiring extensive repairs that will require the highway to be closed another month.  No motorists, pedestrians or cyclists will be permitted access beyond the campground.

Ongoing Work
At postmile marker (PM) 4.0 an area approximately 40 feet wide and 80 feet deep washed away on the beach side of the highway.  Crews will place large boulders to secure the slope.  A crane will sit in both lanes of the highway to complete this operation. Then geotechnical fabric will secure the hillside, and guardrail will be replaced.  Caltrans worked with utility companies to move their utility lines to the other side of the road so that crews can begin repairs.

At PM 4.2 (Big Sycamore) another slide has undermined the highway and will need to be stabilized and rebuilt.  Caltrans is working with environmental regulatory agencies for the necessary environmental permits to initiate the work at this location. 

Rain storms, debris slides, strong waves during December caused extensive damage along the highway in the Springs Fire Burn Area.  

Completed Work
At PM 6.3 (La Jolla Beach) 400 feet of the shoulder and slope has been rebuilt.
At PM 7.2 scaling of the slope to remove loose debris and rocks has been completed.

Mud from past storms has been removed from the roadway. 
Union Engineering of Ventura, California was awarded this $7 million emergency contract.  The state will be reimbursed for the costs of this project under the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Fund.   

Caltrans understands the inconvenience that motorists and businesses are facing while this closure is in place.  Until the highway has been determined to be safe for motorists, the highway must remain closed.

Motorists should continue to consider alternate routes and visit for traffic conditions.  The California Highway Patrol will be on duty.  Please Be Work Zone Alert. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Caltrans Avalanche Crew in Action!

In District 7, we get plenty of mudslides, falling rocks and debris flows, but avalanches, not so much. In Alpine County, however, the Caltrans avalanche crew at Caples Lake Maintenance Station typically handles 75-100 assignments each season.

What exactly does an avalanche crew do? Working at 8,000 feet, they break up snowpacks before they become unstable and generate avalanches, much like our climbers in District 7 loosen rocks from slopes to prevent them from plummeting on the roadway below. After the snow is dislodged, plows quickly remove it and the highway opens. To break up the snowpacks, they use something called the Gazex Avalanche Control System, which is just as awesome as it sounds. Check it out in the video below.