Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bypass lanes play key role in I-5 Roadway Rehabilitation Project

If you're one of the tens of thousands who drive on Interstate 5 through the Santa Clarita Valley every day, you probably noticed the major changes underway to improve your commute.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is working with a contractor to remove concrete slabs and construct new pavement on nearly 16 miles of I-5 between State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) and Lake Hughes Road.in Castaic.
One strategy being utilized to reduce the impact of construction on traffic is adding new temporary bypass lanes.

To create a bypass lane, one lane of traffic is shifted to the opposite side of a freeway, allowing the same amount of lanes in each direction to stay open during construction while also providing drivers a safe way to travel through the work zone.

"Based on my experience with two projects (using a bypass lane), we can shorten the project duration of completion," Caltrans resident engineer Daniel Widjaja said.

Starting in Dec. 2017, new temporary bypass lanes were added on both northbound and southbound I-5.

On northbound I-5, one of four lanes has been shifted to what is normally the inner southbound shoulder near Valencia Boulevard before returning to the northbound side near Rye Canyon Road.

On southbound I-5, one of four lanes has been shifted to what is normally the inner northbound shoulder near Lake Hughes Road, and returns to the southbound side near Hasley Canyon Road.

Traffic going against the bypass lane will remain the same, and the work zone is blocked off with concrete barriers, commonly known as "K-rails."

Drivers are protected from traffic in each direction by K-rails and the existing median barrier.

According to Widjaja, the bypass lane allows the contractor to perform work safely at all hours.

"It is only certain hours that they allow (Caltrans) to close two or more lanes," he said. "Very limited for the contractor. On the other hand, bypass lanes utilizing a k-rail, they all can work day and night.

The bypass lanes are only temporary, and will remain in place for the duration of the work in the area.

A third traffic pattern on southbound I-5 between Calgrove Boulevard and State Route 14 consists of two lanes on each side of a work area in the center of the freeway.

The speed limit is 50 miles an hour in this area, and 55 miles an hour in the rest of the construction zone.

The $171 million project is anticipated to be completed by summer 2019.

We appreciate the public's patience and understanding as we continue to improve our transportation system, providing a smoother, safer and more efficient ride for drivers.

Drivers will be seeing more of these roadway rehabilitation projects thanks to Senate Bill 1, which allows Caltrans to fix 17,000 additional miles of pavement statewide over the next decade.