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Construction continues on Santa Clarita Valley routes

Posted: July 31, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 31, 2012 2:00 a.m.

If you’re a Santa Clarita Valley resident and want to get out of the valley this summer, one thing you’re sure to experience is construction.

Routes in and out of the Santa Clarita Valley are receiving upgrades and repairs all season, and there’s plenty more projects in the pipeline, officials said Monday. Interstate 5 is receiving the bulk of the upgrades, as contractors work on extending truck lanes, rehabilitating pavement and improving carpool connections. Highway 14 is also receiving some new concrete slabs on the 20-mile stretch from Santa Clarita to Palmdale.

Much of the new construction’s timing is due to the distribution of stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, said Caltrans spokeswoman Judy Gish.

“Several of (the projects) had ARRA money in them,” Gish said. “That helped jump-start them.”

Pavement rehabilitation is determined by which roads need it the most, Gish said.

“Eventually, we will be repaving everything,” Gish said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the funds to take case of all of the needy pavement at once.”

Right now, Caltrans is working to repair pavement on a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 5 between Vista Del Lago Road at Pyramid Lake and the Kern County line, as well as replacing pavement on 20 miles of Highway 14 between Canyon Country and Palmdale. While the Highway 14 project is expected to be completed in about a month, the Interstate 5 project isn’t slated for completion until the end of 2015.

Part of the reason for the length of the Interstate 5 repair project is that crews won’t be able to work during cold months, said Caltrans spokeswoman Kelly Markham.

“They can’t work during cold months because it’s hard for them to get the material set up if it’s cold or raining,” Markham said. “They work when temperatures and conditions allow.”

The longest-term project — the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 carpool connector — is about a year from completion after work started in 2008, Markham said.

Once work is done on the connector, motorists using the carpool lanes will be able to transfer from carpool lanes on Interstate 5 to carpool lanes on Highway 14 without having to merge with regular driving lanes.

For the past couple of months, Caltrans has also been working to extend truck lanes in order to separate truck traffic from other vehicles to smooth the flow of traffic.

The southbound truck lane will extend 3.7 miles from Pico Canyon Road/Lyons Avenue to Highway 14. The northbound truck lane will run from Highway 14 to Gavin Canyon, a total length of 1.4 miles. Both lanes will connect to the existing truck routes.

Construction on the truck lanes should be completed in early 2014.

“We really expect these improvements to help reduce congestion and help improve operations on this whole section of Los Angeles County,” Gish said. “It’s short-term pain for long-term gain.”



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