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By Brian Hews
The second of six segments in the massive reconstruction of the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Project kicked off officially on Monday morning with a groundbreaking ceremony that was attended by scores of elected officials with shovels in hand.
Flocked by officials from the California Department of Transportation, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Don Knabe, and many others gathered to commence the beginning of a $110 million project that they claim will “significantly improve congestion and enhance safety on a heavily traveled corridor.”
“Caltrans is making a solid investment in this region’s transportation system that will reduce traffic congestion on this corridor and provide jobs,” said Caltrans Acting Director Malcolm Dougherty.
The I-5 Widening/Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second of six segments in construction as part of the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects, will add one carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction from North Fork Coyote Creek to Marquardt Avenue, a distance of nearly one mile. The project also includes reconstructing two bridges at Alondra Boulevard and North Fork Coyote Creek to accommodate a wider freeway, redesigning ramp structures, and realigning Firestone Boulevard and Freeway Drive frontage roads.
Caltrans federal, regional and local transportation partners for the I-5 South Corridor Projects include Metro and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), with the support of the I-5 Consortium Cities Joint Powers Authority and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments.
The I-5 Alondra Boulevard Bridge segment is funded by federal, state, and local financing, including $72.2 million from Proposition 1B (Prop 1B) California’s 2006 transportation bond; $27.2 million from state transportation funds; $9.1 million from Metro’s Proposition C and Measure R; and $830,000 from the FHWA.
“California voters approved Prop 1B to reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility,” said Metro Board Chair Villaraigosa. “We fought to ensure that Los Angeles County received its fair share of funds based on population and traffic delays.”
At the event, Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles and Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz announced collaboration between the agencies to provide traffic impact mitigation during the estimated five-year construction period for I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects.
“Our goal is to encourage and promote lasting commuter transportation mode shifts,” said Miles.
Last fall, Caltrans began the first of six I-5 corridor improvement projects totaling $1.6 billion from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (Interstate 605). On average, more than 220,000 vehicles travel this section of the I-5 South Corridor daily.
The $380 million Carmenita Road Interchange Project includes widening for carpool and general purpose lanes within a one-mile segment from Alondra Boulevard to Shoemaker Avenue, a new 10-lane Carmenita Bridge concrete structure, plus ramp and frontage road improvements.
“Upon completion of all six segments, motorists will benefit with more freeway capacity, decreased congestion and travel times and better access to regional and commuter transit lines and carpool lanes,” said Art Leahy, Metro Chief Executive Officer.
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