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.