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County OKs road improvements

Plan will upgrade Highway 126 juncture in Castaic

Posted: September 1, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: September 1, 2011 1:30 a.m.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized $21 million in loans from three Santa Clarita Valley road projects to complete the funding of a freeway interchange at Highway 126 and Commerce Center Drive.

The purpose of the action is to accelerate the construction of improvements at the intersection of Highway 126 and Commerce Center Drive at Castaic Junction. At Tuesday’s public hearing, the board also adopted plans and specifications to obtain competitive bids for the interchange improvements project at an estimated construction cost of $38 million to $45 million.

The project proposes to widen Highway 126 to 3,412 feet east of the intersection at Commerce Center Drive and 2,789 feet west of the intersection; to re-align Henry Mayo Drive to the south; to relocate a signal at Commerce Center Drive; and to relocate and place a signal at the Travel Village entrance on Highway 126.

“It will be a full interchange, basically a freeway — a one-time deal and constructed in one shot,” said Steve Burger of the Department of Public Works. “The funds will complete the project.”

According to the county, the project will be funded with $9.2 million from the MTA grant funds; $14 million from the Fifth District’s road construction funds; $7.8 million from Fifth District advance funding; $21 million from the Valencia, Eastside and Bouquet Canyon districts and $3 million from Newhall Land.

“Eventually, the majority of the project will be financed though developer fees in the area,” Berger said.
The board further gave authority to the director of public works to adopt the plans and seek bids for a stormwater-pollution-prevention plan in the area at costs not to exceed $25,000.

According to Paul Maselbas, principal engineer for the Department of Public Works, bidding on the project will begin this fall, and construction will begin in the spring.

He said the interchange is expected to be completed two years later.

“It’s a significant project,” Maselbas said.

To complete the project, the board authorized loans from the Valencia ($3.5 million), Bouquet Canyon ($10.5 million), and Eastside ($7 million) Bridge and Major Thoroughfare Construction Fee Districts to fully fund the $55 million Westside Bridge/Major Thoroughfare Construction Fee District in Castaic.

Burger said the Valencia, Bouquet Canyon, and Eastside districts are expected to retain fund balances of about $4.0 million, $12.8 million and $10 million, respectively, in fiscal year 2011-12 to complete their own priority projects. They would be refunded with future county revenue for 10 years starting in 2014.


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