Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Caltrans making repairs to burn areas to mitigate potential impact of flooding, slides during storms

Following the aftermath of historic wildfires across the Southern California region, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is taking proactive measures to assess the damage to burn areas along and adjacent to freeways and highways.

Along Interstate 210 (Foothill Freeway), crews worked on stabilizing slopes and conducting erosion control ahead of storms in area where La Tuna Canyon Fire burned.

Crews performed hydroseeding and cleared storm drains off I-210 in La Tuna Canyon Fire burn area.

The fire last September burned more than 7,000 acres of hillsides in the Verdugo Mountains, crossing I-210 at multiple locations.

This included hydroseeding, adding mulch and straw blankets, and clearing and repairing drainage systems like culverts and inlets to help control stormwater run-off.

The work is part of approximately $5 million in emergency repairs to help minimize the potential threat of slope erosion, slides and flooding on areas of I-210 that previously burned in wildfires.

Crews doing work to stabilize slope off Interstate 210 near La Tuna Canyon Road.

Washout on slope of I-210 about one mile west of La Tuna Canyon Road that is being repaired.
Additional emergency work orders to make repairs where the Creek Fire burned in the Lake View Terrace and Sylmar neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and the Rye Fire in the city of Santa Clarita, will begin in a few months.

The goal of these mitigation measures is to ensure that our region's freeways and highways are ready to handle any future storm events that could impact areas damaged by wildfires.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Caltrans making progress on clean-up, repair and reopening of U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues to work as quickly and safely as possible to reopen a portion of U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County covered in mud, debris and water from heavy rains and a mudslide.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 9, a massive mudslide ripped through the community of Montecito, bringing tens of thousands of cubic yards of mud and debris onto U.S. 101 in and around Montecito. Sadly, 21 people were killed, more than two dozens injured and hundreds of homes destroyed.

At Olive Mill Road, U.S. 101 was buried in up to eight feet of debris and mud.

Since then, Caltrans has deployed more than 200 dump trucks, excavators and loaders to remove debris using hundreds of Caltrans crews and contractors working 12-hour shifts, 24/7. Crews have cleared mud and debris from U.S. 101 at a rate of 9,000 cubic yards daily.

The scope of the work was focused primarily on U.S. 101 at Olive Mill Road, where the highway was buried in up to eight feet of debris, mud and water.


Caltrans has established six sites for the safe disposal and stockpiling of material from U.S. 101 cleanup, as well as other properties within Caltrans right of way on U.S. 101, Highway 1 and 150, and at a contractor construction yard in Buellton.

“We are laser focused on the safe, efficient clean-up of US 101 and have established these disposal sites in the overall effort to clear the highways,” said Caltrans District 5 District Director Tim Gubbins.

So far, nearly all of the mud has been cleared, and Caltrans is now in the process of inspecting pavement and overcrossings to ensure they are structurally sound and not damaged. Caltrans is also checking drainage. guardrails, signs and striping that may need repairs before safely reopening the highway.
Nearly all of the mud has been cleared from U.S. 101

"We understand the impact that the closure of Highway 101 has on the people of California. We are teamed up with partner agencies responding to this tragedy and continue to work 24/7 to make progress toward re-opening US 101," said Sara von Schwind, Caltrans District 5 Deputy District Director of Maintenance and Operations. "This is Caltrans' highest priority and we are working diligently to re-open US 101 as safely and quickly as possible."


Northbound U.S. 101 remains closed from State Route 150 near the city of Carpinteria to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara. Southbound U.S. 101 is closed from Milpas Street in Santa Barbara to Padaro Lane south of Summerland in Santa Barbara County.

State Route 150 is open and northbound access is allowed into Carpinteria using Via Real or Carpinteria Avenue. Southbound U.S. 101 is open south of Padaro Lane.


Drivers in the Ventura area can detour from the south using State Route 126 to Interstate 5 north to Highway 46 or Highway 166 back to U.S. 101. Drivers in the Los Angeles or other areas in Southern California can use I-5 north to either Highway 46 or 166 back to U.S. 101.

Highway 46 remains the best option to connect with either I-5 or U.S. 101 because it has four lanes with a wide median most of the 65 miles between Lost Hills and Paso Robles.

Caltrans recommends taking Highway 46 to U.S. 101 or I-5 because it has more lanes than Highway 166.
Drivers in Santa Barbara trying to get to Ventura or Los Angeles can take U.S. 101 north to Highways 46 or 166 east to I-5 south.

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner is also offering service to Santa Barbara County. Starting Jan. 20, they will add an additional roundtrip service between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to meet the demand for people trying to get to Santa Barbara. During the closure, Caltrans worked with other partnering agencies to obtain 15 additional railcars to add more than 2,000 seats to Pacific Surfliner trains serving Santa Barbara County.

Caltrans does not have an estimated date of opening of U.S. 101, but U.S. 101 will remain closed through Santa Barbara until at least early next week.

Caltrans appreciates the public's patience and understanding  as we work around the clock to reconnect the U.S. 101 corridor.

For the latest information on the status of the U.S. 101 closure, be sure to follow us on Twitter @CaltransD5 and @CaltransDist7. You can also use QuickMap for real-time information on closures, CHP incidents, and traffic conditions, or the QuickMap app, available for free on Google Play or the App Store.

I-5 Rosecrans Ave. / Bloomfield Ave. Interchange is Complete!

NORWALK / SANTA FE SPRINGS — The new year marked a significant milestone in local transportation for the city of Norwalk in Southern California. On Wednesday, January 10, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) celebrated the completion of the I-5 (Santa Ana Freeway) Rosecrans Avenue / Bloomfield Interchange Project, which included opening through-access on Bloomfield Avenue under I-5 for the first time in more than 60 years.
Working in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), reconstruction of this interchange is a key part of the $1.9 billion I-5 South Corridor joint project to widen I-5 between I-605 (San Gabriel River Freeway) and the Orange County line. This stretch of interstate traverses, intersects, and impacts the five communities of Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Downey, Cerritos and La Mirada.
“I-5 is the backbone of our interstate system in California and it carries the goods and services that support our economy,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Expanding I-5 and adding HOV lanes in a densely populated area like Southern California allows us to improve mobility and air quality. This project also reflects our commitment to reconnect community routes when rebuilding our freeway interchanges,” he added.
Caltrans has worked closely with all five of the local community governments along this corridor to minimize construction impact and maximize efficient integration of our interchanges with local roadways and traffic. This is the third of six segments along the I-5 South Corridor widening project to reach completion. Funded by federal, state and local sources, this $180 million segment reconnects two sections of Norwalk east and west of I-5 and Santa Fe Springs by re-establishing through access on Bloomfield Ave. under I-5. In 1954, the construction of I-5 through this neighborhood blocked local traffic on Bloomfield Ave. at the interstate. By elevating lanes of I-5 in the new interchange, local traffic on Bloomfield Ave. can now cross under I-5 in both directions, creating a significant local alternate route that will alleviate congestion on parallel city streets.
Working together, Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration have made it a priority to reconnect local communities in this manner whenever possible as we rebuild our freeway interchanges. Bloomfield Avenue under I-5 was reconstructed with two lanes in each direction, a median, traffic signals and colorful tile work on the walls of the undercrossing. Rosecrans Avenue was rebuilt and reconfigured to accommodate easier and safer access at the wider on and off ramps connecting Rosecrans Avenue to I-5, with matching tile work along the undercrossing walls. Drivers can access on and off ramps to northbound and southbound I-5 from either direction of Rosecrans Avenue with traffic signals. They can also exit from either northbound or southbound I-5 to either direction of Rosecrans Avenue.   

"Our transportation network doesn’t just move Angelenos from place to place — it powers our economy forward, connects our communities and gives our region a shared sense of identity,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Metro’s Board Chair.  “This project is a crucial upgrade for our highway infrastructure that will ease congestion and enhance safety for everyone who depends on this busy corridor.”

The project widens one mile of I-5 from Shoemaker Avenue to Silverbow Avenue and adds one High Occupancy Vehicle Lane (HOV or car pool lane) and one general purpose lane in each direction. The Shoemaker, Rosecrans, and Bloomfield Avenues bridges at I-5 were reconstructed to accommodate the widened freeway and a new pedestrian overcrossing was built at Silverbow Avenue. Completion of this interchange from groundbreaking to the ribbon cutting ceremony took almost five years.

The project also includes wider freeway shoulders, concrete median barriers, improved ramp designs, realignment to Firestone Boulevard, and interchange modifications at the Rosecrans and Bloomfield Avenue undercrossings.

Another special feature of this project is the construction of an underground Austin Vault, which removes pollutants from drainage water. Benefits of the reconstructed interchange and bridges include:

  • Improving the overall traffic circulation along the I-5 South Corridor
  • Reduced emissions through use of HOV lanes
  • Improving traffic flow on nearby frontage roads
  • Enhancing safety
  • Accommodating future traffic demands and increasing capacity
  • Revitalizing our I-5 community
The lead contractor on this project was Flat Iron Corporation and the project was completed on time and on budget. Over the next five years, Caltrans is investing $1.9 billion dollars to improve southern segments along the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) between the Orange County line and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605). For more information, visit


Friday, January 12, 2018

Caltrans working around the clock to help clean up and reopen highways across Southern California impacted by storms

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and contractors continue to work around the clock to clear the massive amount of debris, mud and water that has inundated U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County and other highways in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Caltrans crews and contractors are working to clear portion of U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County
hit by slides and flooding caused by heavy rains. (Photos courtesy: CHP Santa Barbara)
Photo courtesy: CHP Santa Barbara)
A series of storms packed with heavy rain and winds overnight Monday caused flooding and slides on state highways and freeways near burn areas, including the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara County and La Tuna Canyon Fire in northern Los Angeles County.

Flooding, debris and mud blocks access to U.S. 101 on-ramp in Santa Barbara County.

Water, debris and mud covers U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County. U.S. 101 remains closed
from State Route 150 near the city of Carpinteria to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.
A devastating mud slide hit the foothills community of Montecito between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, resulting in 17 fatalities, and damaging or destroying hundreds of homes.

As of Friday afternoon, the following portions of state highways and freeways are closed between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties as a result of flooding and slides:
  • Santa Barbara County: State Route 192 from State Route 144 west of Montecito to State Route 150 near city of Carpinteria (no estimated time of reopening).
  • Santa Barbara County: U.S. 101 from State Route 150 near city of Carpinteria to Milpas Street in city of Santa Barbara (the goal to reopen was by Monday, Jan. 15, but due to extensive rescue/recovery and clean up efforts there is no estimated time of reopening). 
    • NOTE: State Route 150 is open and drivers can get off U.S. 101 at SR-150 and take Via Real or Carpinteria Avenue for access to city of Carpinteria.
  • Ventura County: State Route 33 from Fairview Road north of Ojai to Lockwood Valley Road in Los Padres National Forest. No estimated time of reopening.
A washout on State Route 33 two miles south of Rose Valley Road in Los Padres National Forest.

State Route 27 (Topanga Canyon Boulevard) was also closed for a period of time from Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) and Grand View Drive in the town of Topanga, but reopened Thursday night.

A slide occurred about one mile north of PCH in an area that burned during a wildfire in June of last year. A contractor cleared the highway, as well as areas behind temporary concrete barriers (commonly referred to as "K-rails") and debris racks that were installed to limit the potential threat of slides coming down hillsides and going onto the highway.

Area along State Route 27 north of Pacific Coast Highway where mudslide occurred.

Meanwhile on U.S. 101, crews and contractors are faced with the monumental task of clearing a massive amount of debris, mud and water on a major route used by drivers to get from Ventura, Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California to the central coast.

U.S. 101 is a major route used to get to and from Southern California and the central coast.
In addition to clean-up efforts, the approximately 15-mile portion of U.S. 101 that is closed from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara is being used for recovery and rescue operations and allow emergency vehicles and equipment to move about safely.

Some areas are buried in mud and debris that is similar in texture to wet concrete, making it especially challenging to clear roads.
If you are in the Ventura or Los Angeles areas and need to get to Santa Barbara and the central coast, or vise versa, here are a few alternate routes you can take.
  • From Ventura/Los Angeles area: Interstate 5 north through Grapevine to State Route 166 west. This will take you to the Santa Maria area, and you can take U.S. 101 south from there to get to Santa Barbara.
  • From Ventura/Los Angeles area: Interstate 5 north through Grapevine to State Route 46 west. This will take you to Paso Robles area, and you can take U.S. 101 south from there to get to Santa Barbara.
  • From Ventura/Ojai area: U.S. 101 to State Route 126 east to I-5 north, or State Route 33 to State Route 150 to State Route 126 east to I-5 north.
  • From Santa Barbara area: U.S. 101 north to either SR-46 or SR-166 east to I-5 south toward Los Angeles.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, as well as our partners in Caltrans District 5, which covers the Santa Barbara County area, for updates on closures.

You can also plan your trips and check on travel conditions using Caltrans QuickMap, or the free QuickMap app available on Google Play or the App Store.

Caltrans QuickMap is a great tool to receive updates on road conditions and plan your trips on state highways and freeways.
We understand the inconvenience roadway closures present, especially for U.S. 101, but we are working as quickly and safely as we can to reopen U.S. 101 and reconnect the main route between southern California and the central coast.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by the Montecito mudslide. We thank our agency partners at the California Highway Patrol, as well as other emergency personnel at the city, county and state level assisting with rescue and recovery efforts.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Extended closure for Eastbound Interstate 210 (Foothill Freeway) Angeles Crest Highway on-ramps

Since Jan. 2, the Eastbound Interstate 210 (Foothill Freeway) on-ramps along Angeles Crest Highway have been closed for crews to pave roadway across from the ramps.

Caltrans has closed the Eastbound I-210 Angeles Crest Highway on-ramps to repave roadway across from the ramps.

The closure is for up to 45 days, but paving operations near ramps have typically taken about 30 days to complete.

There are a few options for drivers to gain access to Eastbound I-210.

Drivers needing access to eastbound I-210 from Angeles Crest Highway
can take Westbound I-210, exit at Ocean View and enter Eastbound I-210 from Ocean View.

Drivers can take the Westbound I-210 on-ramps located on both northbound and southbound Angeles Crest Highway, exit at Ocean View Boulevard, and then get on Eastbound I-210 from Ocean View.

Drivers can also access Eastbound I-210 from Foothill Boulevard at the Foothill Boulevard on-ramp just past Georgian Road.

Drivers needing access to Eastbound I-210 from Angeles Crest Highway
can use the Foothill Boulevard on-ramp just past Georgian Road.
Detour signs will be posted along Foothill Boulevard and on I-210 guiding drivers where to go. Signs will also be up warning drivers that there are ramp closures.

Detour signs for access to Eastbound I-210 are posted on Foothill Boulevard and I-210.

The ramp closures are part of a $148.5 million pavement rehabilitation project for a nearly 10 mile portion of I-210 from the La Crescenta-Montrose area of Los Angeles County to Pasadena. The work adds a new surface that will provide a smoother ride for motorists and reduce the need for maintenance and further lane closures.

The project is scheduled to be completed in Summer 2018.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CaltransDist7 for updates, as well as our I-210 Pavement Rehabilitation project web page.

We appreciate the public's patience and understanding during this time.