Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I-405 Memorial Sign Dedicated to Westminster Chief of Police Mitch Waller

Three years ago today, former Westminster Chief of Police and City Manager Mitch Waller was killed by a distracted driver while he was riding his bike in Laguna Canyon. A memorial sign dedicated to Waller was recently erected on I-405 in Irvine.

In the Caltrans News Flash below, you'll learn more about the remarkable man behind the sign, the impact his death has had on his friends and family, and how it takes only a split second of distracted driving to destroy a life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Driving Tips (and Some Hazards to Watch For)

Summer is officially here! Although we Californians love our warmth and sunshine, it’s not without its hazards—especially when it comes to summer driving. Some examples: 

New drivers: More new drivers, generally young and inexperienced, will be on the road when school is out. 

Visitors: Visitors generate more traffic on the roadways. They’re often unfamiliar with the area and may be distracted looking for landmarks and exits. 
Car trouble: High temperatures may create problems for tires and engines. 

Fires: Forest and grass fires generate smoke, reducing visibility, and sometimes cause road closures. More emergency vehicles may be on the road in a fire area. 

Unsecured loads: Summertime moves and home improvement projects mean that more people are driving with loaded vehicles. Sometimes those loads are not secured well, and items fall onto the roadway. 

Bikes and pedestrians: More bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians are on the roads. Note: Bikes and pedestrians are not “hazards” per se (we love bicyclists and pedestrians!), but they sometimes move erratically. Watch for them and give them plenty of room. Unlike motorists, they’re not encased in several tons of steel.

Despite the hazards, summer is a terrific time to get out and enjoy our beautiful state—whether you’re just going across town or taking an epic road trip. Here are some simple summer travel tips to help ensure that you arrive safely:

Hot vehicles are deathtraps: Never, EVER leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the window open. Even for a few seconds. Don't do it. EVER.

Plan ahead: Plan, map and estimate the duration of your trip ahead of time and let others know your plans. You can estimate the cost of gas for your trip here.

Practice patience: Expect to encounter roadwork, delays and detours. Check planned lane closures and real-time traffic conditions before you leave so you can make smart choices about your route.

Inspect your car: Inspect the engine, battery, hoses, belts and fluids for wear and proper levels. Check your tire air pressure, including the spare. Also check the AC—triple digits with no AC is no fun.

Be prepared: Prepare an emergency roadside kit, including jumper cables, a flashlight and plenty of bottled water. Check out this list of items your kit should contain (scroll down).

Use your safety belt: Buckle up — every trip, every time.

Steer breakdowns out of lanes: If you have a flat tire, engine problems or a fender bender, drive out of traffic lanes and off the highway, if possible. Freeway shoulders are not safe for repair work.

Report problem drivers: If you see a drunk or dangerous driver, call 911.

Want more driving tips? Check out the Office of Traffic Safety website.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Feeling Alone? Help Is Available

In response to the tragic event that took place on Sunday in Orlando, Fla., Caltrans wants to remind employees that the Employee Assistance Program is available to help employees and their family members cope with feelings of fear, sadness, anger and hopelessness that can occur following such a traumatic event.

The EAP offers helpful tools and resources that can help guide you through a difficult time. From simple questions like how to minimize stress, to more difficult issues like finding support after the loss of a loved one, your EAP is there to work with you and offer suggestions, options and information to help you when you need it most.

Your EAP offers you face-to-face counseling or telephone coaching, is available 24/7 and completely confidential.

The following link provides information regarding violence in the community:   http://www.eap.calhr.ca.gov/members/violence-in-the-community.aspx

Remember, the EAP is available 24/7.  To speak to a clinician or access services, call 1-866-EAP-4SOC (1-866-327-4762).  TDD callers may use (800) 327-0801.

Or visit online at www.eap.calhr.ca.gov (the company code is: soc).

A traumatic event is, understandably, a source of stress and can take a toll on your well-being. Caltrans urges you: please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our EAP for confidential, professional help in coping with any issues that are causing you distress. Your talent and experience are our greatest strength, and we want you to be a productive part of our team even in tough times.


Paramount Boulevard Bridge Permanent Restoration Project Update

Caltrans' contractor, Powell Constructors Inc. will continue to:
  • Pour concrete to build wider on- and off-ramps that connect to Paramount Boulevard bridge
Motorists may experience occasional freeway ramp closures.  The work is not expected to be louder than freeway traffic.

Work hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday
Work Period: June 6 to June 22

Summary: This project will realign and upgrade two cloverleaf ramps to current standards, constructing sidewalks, and add pedestrian ramps that meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Additionally, three retaining walls will be constructed along the westbound on- and off-ramps, and along the westbound on-ramp near the intersection of Paramount Boulevard and Neil Armstrong Street. 

Background: In 2011, the Paramount Boulevard Bridge was demolished and rebuilt under an emergency contract after a gasoline tanker fire on the freeway below severely damaged the bridge.  The new bridge, built to modern standards, was opened to the public in May 2012.  The new bridge is wider than the original bridge that was built in 1967.  Once this project is completed the flow of traffic and safety will be enhanced, congestion reduced, and will accommodate future traffic demands. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Behind the K-rail (Closure): Pre-cast Concrete Slab Installation on Hollywood Freeway (US 101)

How do you install pre-cast concrete slabs while thousands of vehicles zoom past your construction site? 

Well, here’s your chance to go into a closure on the northbound Hollywood Freeway (US 101) just below Santa Monica Boulevard (SR-2) in Hollywood to see our construction crews in action. 

Pre-cast concrete slabs have also been installed on I-710 in East Los Angeles and SR-210 in Pasadena.

Hopefully, you’ll also see why is it so important to Be Work Zone Alert and Slow For The Cone Zone. 

Recap: 3rd Annual I-5 Empire Project Community Open House

Burbank residents learn about I-5 Empire Project improvements at the Community Open House on June 9.

We want to thank everyone who took time out of their busy lives last Thursday night, June 9, to attend our 3rd Annual I-5 Empire Project Community Open House at the Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank. We appreciate your interest, feedback, and excellent questions. 

If you weren't able to attend, no worries! You can view the presentation HERE. Among other things, it provides a project overview, describes accomplishments thus far, explains the construction timeline going forward, and provides information about the Burbank Boulevard bridge reconstruction. 

We're frequently asked about the timeline, so here are a couple slides from the presentation that address the (tentative) construction schedule: 

Residents and motorists also often ask about the Burbank Boulevard bridge reconstruction. Here are some slides on that:

We hope you'll join us for the next Community Open House. In the meantime, if you have questions, call the I-5 Info Line at (855) 454-6335 or email us HERE.

More information about the project is HERE. For a good overview, check out this brief video:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

You're Invited: 3rd Annual I-5 Empire Project Community Open House

Thursday, June 9, Caltrans will host its 3rd Annual I-5 Empire Project Community Open House. We’ll kick off the evening with a project update, and the rest of the night is reserved for you to talk one-on-one with project staff. Representatives from Construction, Design, Traffic Management, Public Affairs, and Environmental Planning will be on hand to answer your questions. Representatives from the City of Burbank and Metro will also attend. Details: 

WHAT: 3rd Annual I-5 Empire Project Community Open House 

WHEN: Thursday, June 9, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

WHERE: Buena Vista Branch Library, 300 N. Buena Vistat St., Burbank 

PARKING: Free parking is available on site. 

The I-5 Empire Project is a series of improvements to I-5 in Burbank, including: 

  -> Adding carpool lanes between Magnolia Blvd. and Buena Vista St. 

  -> Constructing a new interchange and undercrossing at I-5 and Empire Ave.

  -> Reconstructing the Burbank Blvd. overcrossing and realigning ramps

  -> Elevating the railroad at Buena Vista St. and San Fernando Blvd. and adjacent to Empire Ave.

  -> Improving the intersection at San Fernando Blvd./Victory Pl. and Lincoln St.

  -> Realigning and widening the Buena Vista St. ramps 

The project will enhance safety, relieve congestion, improve traffic flow and provide easier access to the airport and shopping centers.

More information about the project is here.