47 Percent and Counting!

Truck Lanes on Track for 2014 Opening

By Tim Whyte

Interchange Editor

Don’t blink: This job’s going to be done before you know it.

“The project is about 47 percent complete,” Kelly Markham, Public Information Officer for Caltrans District 7, said shortly before InterChange press time. “Project completion is expected in late 2014.”

If you’re new around here, that means by late 2014 the Interstate 5 freeway will have a new, dedicated southbound truck lane between the Lyons/Pico interchange and the Newhall Pass, and the existing northbound truck lane in the Newhall Pass will be extended further northward.

“This will be a valuable addition to I-5 in the Golden State Gateway area of Northern Los Angeles County,” says Gateway Coalition Chairman Tom DiPrima. “When the truck traffic gets its own lane it will benefit everyone who relies on this important stretch of the freeway —  from commuters to first responders to truck drivers.”

As of press time, construction crews were working on the structural portions of the 3.7-mile project. The structural work must be completed before paving can begin. 

“The structural support portion on this project includes retaining walls and median widening of bridge decks,” Markham said.

This spring, crews have been building a retaining wall adjacent to the southbound shoulder of I-5, just south of the Weldon Canyon overcrossing.  

Also under construction have been median retaining walls between Weldon Canyon and the Calgrove Boulevard underpass, as well as a median bridge widening at the Calgrove underpass.

As the walls and bridge widenings have been under construction, crews also have performed work on underground utilities and drainage. 

The contractor in late-spring began preparing for the architectural fascia of the retaining wall, and falsework for the Calgrove underpass bridge widening was erected. Shortly after that, the newly widened bridge deck was being poured and cured.

“We anticipate mainline paving operations to begin by this fall,” Markham said.

“That’s great news for everyone who has been eagerly anticipating this project,” said Victor Lindenheim, Executive Director of the Gateway Coalition.

He praised Caltrans and the project contractor, Flatiron West, for minimizing the inconvenience construction has caused for motorists.

“It’s inevitable that you’ll have some construction-related delays with a project of this magnitude,” Lindenheim said. “However, Caltrans and Flatiron have done a superb job of making the process as painless as possible for motorists, by doing most of the work at night when traffic is lighter and keeping the freeway open at the most critical hours.”