Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Carmenita Bridge To Open

Southeast view of new Carmenita Bridge and future Carmenita Bl. northbound I-5 on-ramp 
Caltrans expects to switch traffic from the existing, two-lane Carmenita Road Bridge to the new 10-lane Camenita Road Bridge on Thursday, July 2 at 5 a.m. Until the new ramps are constructed and connected to the new bridge, only four-lanes (two-lanes in each direction) will be accessible.  

Scale model of Carmenita Interchange Project
While crews restripe lanes of traffic to align with the new bridge, Carmenita Road will be closed to through traffic over the I-5 freeway, between Excelsior Drive and Firestone Boulevard, from 9 p.m. Thursday, July 2 to 5 a.m. Friday, July 3. The new bridge will include two northbound and two southbound lanes. The traffic shift will include temporary changes to the traffic pattern at the intersection of Firestone Boulevard and Carmenita Road; motorists exiting southbound I-5 at Carmenita will only be permitted to turn right on Carmenita Road or continue straight on Firestone. 

Green fences installed along bridge railing
Additionally, the intersection of Excelsior Drive and Carmenita Road will be temporarily closed while the new northbound Carmenita off-ramp is constructed. The northbound I-5 Carmenita Road off-ramp will be temporarily reconfigured.  Motorists that exit northbound I-5 at Carmenita will be directed to turn right on Excelsior Drive, left on Spring Avenue and left on Pumice Street to access Carmenita Road.  

Following the opening of the new bridge, nighttime demolition of the old Carmenita bridge is scheduled to begin Friday, July 10 and will be ongoing through Saturday, July 18. Bridge demolition will require nightly full freeway closures on northbound and southbound I-5.  

Visit www.my5la.org for more project information.
Carmenita Interchange under construction

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Edition of "The Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report" is Here!

Looking for some summer reading? You’re in luck! Caltrans has released the latest installment of The Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report, a plain-language performance report that delivers a straightforward accounting of how Caltrans is doing in its work to protect and improve California’s transportation system.

This 2015 second-quarter report features a revamped at-a-glance chart, which measures and quantifies Caltrans’ performance — what’s working, what’s not and where improvement is needed. For example, Caltrans’ safety and health performance indicators now include specific break-out data for pedestrians and bicyclists — a strong indication of Caltrans’ expanded focus on alternative transportation, active transportation and a fully integrated system.

Other articles include: a look at new Caltrans work gear and vehicle striping that increase the visibility and safety of Caltrans workers out in the field; details about work underway at the department to combat California’s historic drought; and a glimpse at the health of California’s culverts – the drainage systems under California’s roadbeds.

The Mile Marker is distributed to the Legislature, local government agencies, transportation professionals statewide and around the country, and to you!

Check it out online here

Friday, June 26, 2015

Six Week Express Lanes Closure on San Bernardino Freeway (I-10)

Damaged pavement and bridge joints. 
Caltrans will close the Metro Express Lanes on the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) from Monday, July 6 to late August 2015 to perform maintenance and upgrade sections of the bridges on east- and westbound I-10 between Valley Boulevard and Peck Road.  The pavement in the section above Peck Road and Valley Boulevard will be removed and replaced, and new bridge joints will be installed to replace ones that are failing.   

“To complete the work as fast and as safe as possible, the lanes must be closed,” said District 7 Director Carrie Bowen. “We are working with the city of El Monte, county of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to help reduce the impacts to traffic on the freeway and local streets.”

Additional closures will be in place as needed at the following locations:

  • Freeway Mainline: East- and westbound I-10 lane closures between Peck Road and Valley Boulevard.
  • Eastbound I-10:  North Peck Road/Valley Boulevard off-ramp.
  • Westbound I-10: South Peck Road off-ramp and North Valley Boulevard on-ramp.
  • Street Closures: Peck Road between Asher Street and Valley Boulevard and Valley Boulevard between Peck Road and I-10

Damaged pavement and bridge joint.
Motorists using the Express Lanes may experience some delays due to this project and partial closure of the Express Lanes.  Eastbound motorists will be merged into the mainline near Santa Anita Avenue, impacting approximately 2 miles of the Express Lanes.  Westbound motorists will continue to have access to the Express Lanes just west of I-605 but will be required to merge into the mainline at Whistler Avenue and then will have full access to the Express Lanes near Peck Road.  Tolling for eastbound commuters will be adjusted to reflect the closure of that portion of the Express Lanes.  Tolling for westbound commuters will not be impacted.

The $815,802 project funded by Caltrans’ highway maintenance fund was awarded to O’Donnell Construction, Inc. in San Dimas, California.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Be Work Zone Alert.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ride Along with Malcolm Dougherty on the Annual Director’s Bike Ride

Every year, Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty, along with his executive team and bicycling stakeholders, ride through Sacramento to highlight the advantages of and opportunities for bicycling-focused transportation planning. The ride helps focus attention on Caltrans’ efforts to expand the multimodal transportation infrastructure.

Check out the video below to learn more about what Caltrans is doing to offer sustainable transportation options and satisfy public demand — everything from updating the Highway Design Manual to constructing protected bike lanes. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

UPDATE: Segment of Victory Place in Burbank to Close for Two Weeks

Update: This closure will occur the week of July 6, 2015.

Caltrans is constructing a new interchange and undercrossing at Empire Avenue in Burbank, and as part of the work, crews will need to build a new bridge at Victory Place. Toward that end, a short segment of Victory Place north of Empire Avenue will be closed for about two weeks starting the week of June 29 July 6 while crews complete shoring work. Details below.

Closure of a short segment of Victory Place in Burbank. Access to businesses along the closed segment will NOT be affected. Local traffic will be permitted in the closure.

Both directions of Victory Place will be closed between Empire Avenue and Lincoln Street.

This closure is necessary to complete important shoring work for the new Victory Place Bridge, which is part of the I-5 Empire Project. Learn more about it here.

Motorists traveling northbound on Victory Place must turn left at Empire Avenue. A signed detour (shown in green on map above) will be provided.

Caltrans reminds you to be work zone alert and slow for the cone zone.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Caltrans and Metro Extend Public Comment Period for SR-710 North Study and Release Cost-Benefit Analysis

SR-710 North Study Area

To provide more time for study and community input, Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today extended the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) on SR-710 North until August 5, 2015. In addition, Caltrans and Metro today released the Analysis of Costs and Benefits (CBA) for the SR-710 North study alternatives. The CBA can be downloaded here

The CBA was prepared in response to direction by the Metro Board. The motion directed the chief executive officer to conduct a parallel cost-benefit analysis concurrent with the Draft EIR/EIS. The CBA is a means of applying an economic value to alternatives, which enables the costs of an alternative to be compared directly to the benefits the alternative will deliver. The CBA will be considered in conjunction with the information provided in the Draft EIR/EIS during identification of the preferred alternative.

The Draft EIR/EIS is in the midst of public review that began March 6, 2015. An EIR is required to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and an EIS fulfills requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The laws require government agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects. Information from public comments will be weighed before preparing the final environmental document.

Caltrans and Metro have conducted four public hearings since the opening of the comment period and a fifth hearing is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2015 at the David Wark Griffith Middle School located at 4765 East Fourth Street, Los Angeles, Calif. 90022. Map viewing will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. followed by a public hearing from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Saturday’s hearing will be available as a live webcast that can be accessed in English at ustream.tv/channel/sr-710-study and in Spanish at ustream.tv/channel/sr-710-espanol

The five alternatives proposed in the Draft EIR/EIS are:
•    No Build option that would leave conditions as they are
•    A traffic management system to upgrade and synchronize signals and improvements to local street intersections to more quickly move traffic that exits the dead end freeway
•    A rapid bus line featuring high frequency service with minimal stops and potentially a dedicated bus lane
•    Light rail to carry passengers between East Los Angeles and Pasadena
•    A freeway tunnel that would extend the SR-710
No decisions have been made on any proposed alternative in the Draft EIR/EIS.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Caltrans Dive Team To Perform Diver Rescue and Recovery Training in Long Beach

Caltrans' Office of Structure Maintenance and Investigations Underwater Inspection Team or dive team will perform rescue and recovery training in the Alamitos Bay under the Appian Way Bridge between Sorrento Drive and Bayshore Avenue during the following days and times:

  • Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 24th, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. 
During the training the dive team will have one primary (working) diver and one standby (rescue) diver. During the drill the rescue diver (on a timed exercise) will don gear, enter the water, and locate and recover a primary diver who has become unresponsive during a dive, and return the unresponsive diver to a boat or shore. 

This 11 member team consists of licensed civil engineers and engineering technicians.  Team members are certified commercial hard hat divers and federally qualified bridge inspectors. Each team member is required to complete regular safety training to maintain diving certification.

The training involves simulating the types of situations the engineers would encounter performing bridge inspections up to depths of 100 feet and in water with good and poor visibility. The participants in the training utilize drill tools to check timber members, perform hand inspections on concrete elements and utilize equipment to check the thickness
of steel. 

The Underwater Inspection Team is responsible for inspecting more than 600 bridges ranging from the Vincent Thomas, San Francisco-Oakland Bay, Richmond–San Rafael, and San Diego-Coronado bridges to hundreds of bridges over the state’s major rivers and water delivery systems.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crosswalk Closed as Crews Construct New I-5 Undercrossing in Burbank

The crosswalk on Empire Avenue at Victory Place in Burbank is now closed. Pedestrians who want to cross Empire Avenue will need to use the crosswalk at Valpreda Street. (See map above.)

Reason for Removal: The crosswalk at Empire Avenue and Victory Place has been removed to allow for construction of a new interchange and undercrossing at Empire Avenue, which will include a new bridge with a pedestrian sidewalk at Victory Place over Empire Avenue. This work is part of the I-5 Empire Project. (More info here.)

Future Pedestrian Crossing: A new pedestrian sidewalk (part of the Victory Place bridge) will be built in approximately the same place to allow pedestrians to cross Empire Avenue safely. It will be completed by 2017. (See pedestrian bridge over Empire Avenue in rendering below.)

Parking Restrictions on Empire Ave.: Street parking has been removed on the south side of Empire Avenue between Victory Place and Valpreda Street. Parking will be removed on the north side in mid-July.

Traffic Impacts: There will be some traffic disruptions due to underground electrical work on Empire Avenue between Valpreda Street and Maria Street through mid-July. Motorists will be able to use Empire Avenue in both directions, but should expect lane closures. Work schedules and closures are subject to change.

Want more info? Check out the closure notice here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

They’re Open! They’re REALLY Open!

Ribbon-cutting event in Pacoima, June 11, 2015.

For motorists who have been eyeing the almost-finished-but-not-quite carpool lanes on I-5 between SR-118 and Buena Vista Street in Burbank, your wait is over! The lanes are now open. Find yourself a rideshare buddy and enjoy!

The new carpool lanes are the result of two projects that together add 16 miles (eight in each direction) of carpool lanes to District 7’s carpool lane system. Carpool lanes enhance safety, ease traffic congestion and improve travel times, saving motorists about a minute per mile.

The $223.4 million carpool lane project on I-5 between SR-118 and SR-170 began in September 2010. In addition to almost seven miles (3.4 miles in each direction) of carpool lanes, the project constructed a new northbound SR-170 to northbound I-5 connector and a direct carpool lane connector at the I-5/SR-170 interchange, which enables motorists to transfer between freeways without leaving the carpool lane.

The $99.8 million carpool lane project on I-5 between SR-170 and Buena Vista Street in Burbank began in March 2011. The project constructed almost nine miles (4.4 miles in each direction) of new carpool lanes.

Metro contributed $241 million in funding for the projects.

I-5 in the San Fernando Valley is one of Southern California's busiest freeways with an average daily traffic volume that can exceed 300,000. Carpool lanes carry two to three times more people at peak traffic hours than conventional lanes. Currently, there are 554 miles of carpool lanes in Los Angeles County.

For more info about carpool lanes and other improvements in the works on I-5, check out My5LA.com

Monday, June 8, 2015

New Northbound Schuyler Heim Bridge (SR-47) Opened at 5 a.m. Today!

Newly opened northbound (New) Schuyler Heim
The northbound (new) Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge (SR-47) opened at 5 a.m. this morning.
Part of the Caltrans and MCM project staff/crew. 
Until the old lift bridge is demolished and the new bridge is built, the northbound bridge will have one north- and southbound lane.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Commodore Schuyler Heim Lift Bridge (SR-47) Era Coming to an End: LA County's Last Vehicle Lift Bridge

On-ramp to northbound Heim Bridge. 6/3/2015
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close access to northbound lanes of the Commodore Schuyler Heim Lift Bridge (SR-47) on Wednesday, June 3 at 7 p.m.  All access to the lift bridge will cease by Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m.

Opened in 1948, the SR-47 lift-span bridge will be replaced by a fixed span structure that will conform to higher seismic standards to enhance safety, benefit the local, state and national economy, and international trade.   Additionally, replacing a deteriorating structure with a new one will also reduce maintenance costs and lead to improved roadway connections.

View of old and new Heim Bridge from the Cerritos Channel
As part of this bridge replacement project the following ramps and lanes will be closed:
View of new bridge, Heim, and Badger Ave. bridge.

Temporary Closure
Northbound SR-47 closure starts at 7:00 p.m. on June 3, 2015.  All access to north- and southbound lanes of SR-47 will be closed from Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. to Monday, June 8 at 5 a.m.  Preparations will be made to shift north- and southbound traffic onto the newly constructed northbound lanes of the new fixed span (concrete) bridge.  Detour:  A signed detour will be in place. 

Long-term Closure
The southbound SR-47 New Dock off-ramp will be closed from June 5, 2015 to mid-2017 so that the existing steel bridge can be demolished to make way for the construction of the new southbound lanes.  Detour:  Exit at Ocean Boulevard, right to Pier S, then right to New Dock Street. 

LA and Long Beach port traffic will benefit from new bridge.
The new bridge will provide a permanent navigable channel that is 180-feet wide with a vertical clearance of 47-feet to allow for the passage of ships.  With the elimination of the lift, traffic will no longer be delayed due to passing ships. 

This $180 million State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) funded project was awarded to MCM Construction Inc. of Bloomington, California.  The project is expected to finish in mid-2017.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Be Work Zone Alert.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Public Weighs In On the California Transportation Plan 2040

The California Transportation Plan (CTP) is a statewide long-range transportation plan with a 25-year forecast period that is updated every five years. A draft version of the California Transportation 2040 was released in March 2015 for public review and comment.

To ensure that the general public and transportation stakeholders had an opportunity to provide input on the draft CTP 2040, Caltrans sponsored seven statewide workshops with the primary objective to increase public awareness of how the CTP 2040 is being developed and how it will be used. In addition, the workshops provided Caltrans the opportunity to gauge public support for the goals, polices and strategies outlined in the CTP 2040 to achieve a future statewide, sustainable and integrated multimodal transportation system.

Through the public worship series, webinar and website, Caltrans received hundreds of comments on the draft CTP 2040. Here are some of the recurring topics that emerged:

--> Current developments regarding technology

--> Policy and planning connection of transportation and land use

--> Climate change/sea level rise as an environmental concern for transportation planning

--> Practical strategies to achieve the alternatives and goals

--> Preparation of the CTP for a more general audience, as the information is very technical

--> Maintenance and funding to keep the system operational

You can read more about the public workshops and feedback received in the “CTP 2040 Public Workshop Series Summary Report,” available here.

The Caltrans Office of State Planning will refine the CTP 2040 this summer. The plan is scheduled for final approval in December 20156. Learn more about the CTP 2040 here.