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State plans I-5 widening

Transportation: Improvement to add lanes throughout the SCV will cost about $500M

Posted: November 8, 2010 9:51 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2010 4:55 a.m.
This map highlights the three phases of the Interstate 5 Gateway Improvement Project. The $500-million project will two truck lanes and a high-occupancy-vehicle lane both southbound and northbound on I-5 from the Highway 14 interchange north to Parker Road. Construction is not likely to start for more than a year. This map highlights the three phases of the Interstate 5 Gateway Improvement Project. The $500-million project will two truck lanes and a high-occupancy-vehicle lane both southbound and northbound on I-5 from the Highway 14 interchange north to Parker Road. Construction is not likely to start for more than a year.
This map highlights the three phases of the Interstate 5 Gateway Improvement Project. The $500-million project will two truck lanes and a high-occupancy-vehicle lane both southbound and northbound on I-5 from the Highway 14 interchange north to Parker Road. Construction is not likely to start for more than a year.
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While the Interstate 5 Gateway Improvement Project has reached important milestones, the rubber has yet to meet the road.

The three-phase, half-billion-dollar project will add two truck lanes and a high-occupancy-vehicle lane both southbound and northbound on I-5 from the Highway 14 interchange north to Parker Road.

Construction will likely not start for more than a year, officials said. The project has been environmentally reviewed and funding sources have been identified.

Caltrans, the project lead, has a design team working on the first truck lanes, from Highway 14 to Lyons Avenue.

Once the design is approved by the state, Caltrans must find a contractor for the project. This process will start in the fall of 2011, with construction starting shortly after, Caltrans spokeswoman Maria Raptis said.

The project will take two to three years to complete. This first phase alone will cost $130 million, Raptis said.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will use $56 million from Measure R, the controversial half-cent sales tax Los Angeles County voters approved in November 2008. Caltrans will pay for the remaining $74 million with State Highway Operational Protection Program funds, Raptis said.

Federal dollars have helped too, with $1.6 million used for environmental reviews. Both phases of the project have gone California’s environmental stamp of approval last November, said Victor Lindenheim, executive director of the Golden State Gateway Coalition.

The project has been Lindenheim’s primary concern for seven years.

Lindenheim said that several of the recent traffic jams on I-5 involved big rigs, which will soon have dedicated lanes to traverse.

“This is about adding capacity,” Lindenheim said. “When capacity is needed, in certain situations, it will be a godsend.”
Santa Clarita’s planning manager, Robert Newman, agreed.

“There’s certainly going to be a big benefit for traveling public,” Newman said.

The second and third phases of the project will add a carpool lane, an auxiliary lane and second truck lanes to Santa Clarita’s stretch of I-5, from the Highway 14 interchange to Parker Road.

“This is a long-awaited project that is going to greatly help with the truck traffic through the corridor through Calgrove,” Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean said.

McLean participates in several transportation-related groups in Southern California.

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