Barger Hosts Transportation Summit
By Carol Rock
Special to Interchange
The inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit, held Sept. 21 at Santa Clarita City Hall, offered stakeholders from downtown Los Angeles to the Antelope Valley an opportunity to exchange ideas and bring each other up to speed on projects currently under way or planned for the future.
The meeting was hosted by Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. In attendance were nearly 50 people representing a cross-section of interests: elected officials, city and county staff members, law enforcement, business and development, Caltrans, Metro and public transportation services from trains to bicycles, as well as special interest groups concerned with senior citizens and the environment.
Barger emphasized the importance of planning as a group, citing the One Valley, One Vision plan that blends local and county efforts.
“Working together and sharing resources, we can move forward,” she said.
During a legislative update, a Metro representative said that the most critical legislation passed this year was Senate Bill 1, signed by the governor in April, which could bring $1.4 billion in transportation funding to Los Angeles County.
A possible referendum of the bill is being monitored, and a repeal of the measure could be before the voters in 2018. The group also discussed federal funding and public/private partnerships to finance transportation projects, as well as the solicitation of letters of support for specific works. The county’s Department of Public Works offered help in drafting the correspondence.
John Lee of Caltrans gave a report on the I-5 Roadway Rehabilitation project, which is currently under way and involves renewing the pavement on a 16-mile stretch of northbound and southbound lanes from Lake Hughes Road to just south of State Route 14.
The pavement in this section of I-5 is more than 50 years old and no longer adequate for the existing and future traffic loads and the project will extend the service life of the roadway.
Those in attendance also discussed plans for Phase 2 of the I-5 North Los Angeles County Capacity Enhancement Project, scheduled to begin construction in 2019 after the pavement rehabilitation project is completed. Phase 2 is planned to include high occupancy vehicle lanes in both directions from SR 14 to Parker Road. Information on the I-5 projects is available by calling the Caltrans Public Affairs Office at (213) 897-9372 or (213) 897-3656 or visiting the Caltrans website at www.dot.ca.gov/d7/projects.
Projects within the Santa Clarita Valley (unincorporated areas) completed in Fiscal 2017-18 included storm repairs/shoulder reconstruction on Vasquez Canyon Road and Hasley Canyon Road and pavement preservation on Hasley Canyon Road near Cambridge Avenue, at the cost of $447,000. Ongoing projects in the Santa Clarita Valley include repairing pavement and realigning the roadway on Sand Canyon Road and the grade separated interchange of State Route 126 at Commerce Center Drive, at a total cost of $55.5 million.
A direct connection between the SCV and the Burbank airport is a priority project of Metrolink and was lauded by Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean, who has worked on this effort.
Barger added her support to streamlining service between Santa Clarita and the local airport as well as the entire line between Union Station and the Antelope Valley.
“We are the only community that does not have a direct connection between rail and airport,” she said, acknowledging Metrolink’s challenges and attempts to improve service. “I will fight to make this system more efficient.”
The possibility of double tracking the Antelope Valley rail corridor was discussed as a safety measure as well as a way to improve speed and efficiency and avoid disrupting communities.
The need for Metrolink to add evening and additional weekend service was also brought up, as many residents have complained that they cannot complete round-trip travel outside of traditional weekday commuter hours.
Barger concluded the meeting thanking the participants for the healthy exchange of information and ideas and proposed setting another summit for six months in the future, vowing that her office would help address concerns that might come up in between meetings.
We’re on the Road: Caltrans Breaks Ground on I-5 Pavement Rehab
Local and state officials gathered recently to celebrate the groundbreaking of a highly anticipated $171 million project to upgrade the roadway on Interstate 5 in the Santa Clarita Valley in northern Los Angeles County.
The I-5 Roadway Rehabilitation Project will replace and repair pavement on nearly 16 miles of the freeway, with an expected completion date in mid-2019.
“This section of Interstate 5 has pavement that is more than 50 years old and no longer adequate for current and future traffic loads,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “This project is an essential investment to improve transportation infrastructure. I-5 is the major north-south trucking corridor that facilitates the movement of goods and people by providing a connection between the Central Valley and the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.”
The improvements are being made on a segment of I-5 that is used by more than 1 million vehicles a week. The project will provide a smoother roadway with a 40-year design life.
Over the next two years, the improvements will be made on 15.8 miles of I-5 from a half-mile south of State Route 14 to 1.7 miles north of Lake Hughes Road.
Pavement will be replaced in the outside lanes (No. 3 and 4 lanes). In the inside lanes (No. 1 and 2 lanes), broken concrete slabs will also be replaced and lanes will receive profile grinding to ensure a smooth surface.
Stage 1 work is conducted mainly between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weeknights. On most nights, at least two lanes will be kept open, except from midnight to 4 a.m. when at least one lane normally will be open. Closure of all lanes is expected to occur infrequently.
The project is funded by state and federal funds through the State Highway Operation and Protection Program.
U.S. Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, reminded guests to spread the word about the need to travel safely through the construction zone.
“We are looking forward to this,” Knight said. “This 15.8 miles is needed. It’s not just the smoother road, but it is the economic impact.”
State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said the project will produce long-needed benefits for motorists. “I’m excited about this project,” Wilk said. “This thing is about more than just California. I-5 goes from Baja California to British Columbia, so B.C. to B.C.”
After the roadway rehabilitation project is completed, the second phase of the I-5 North Los Angeles County Capacity Enhancement Project is scheduled to get under way in 2019, with the addition of high occupancy vehicle lanes between the Newhall Pass and Parker Road.