Groundbreaking ceremony held for I-10 HOV Lane Project this morning


Metro, Caltrans, Federal Highway Administration and California Highway Patrol officials at the groundbreaking. Photo: Paul Gonzales/Metro

Metro Deputy CEO Lindy Lee joined Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty and officials from the Federal Highway Administration and California Highway Patrol today for the groundbreaking of the I-10 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Project. The project area is located between Puente Avenue and Citrus Street in Baldwin Park and West Covina.

This is the second of three projects that, once complete, will offer one continuous HOV lane from downtown Los Angeles to I-15 in San Bernardino County. Metro programmed $151.6 million towards the construction of the HOV project, which accounts for 77.5% of the total project cost.

I-5 full freeway and ramp closures June 9 to June 13

Here’s the press release from Caltrans:

Caltrans will conduct overnight full directional freeway closures nightly June 9 through Friday, June 13 on the northbound Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) from Valley View Avenue to Carmenita Road. The closures also include the on-ramps at Artesia Blvd, Alondra Blvd., and Firestone Blvd.  Similar full directional freeway closures on southbound I-5 are scheduled for  June 18 to 20, plus a closed connector from southbound I-605 to southbound I-5.

The work involves removing falsework, the wood structural support for the new Alondra Boulevard Bridge.  The 57-year-old Alondra Boulevard Bridge was completely demolished in June 2013; the new bridge, and the Freeway Drive/Alondra Blvd. intersection is scheduled to reopen later this summer.

Northbound ONLY I-5 Full Freeway Closures:  Nightly, Monday, June 9  through Friday, June 13

N/B I-5 On-ramps Closed:     Nightly, 11 p.m. to  4 Artesia Blvd., Alondra Blvd., and Firestone Blvd.

N/B Full Freeway Closure:  Nightly, 11:59 p.m. to 4 a.m. from  Valley View Ave. to Carmenita Road.

Southbound ONLY I-5 Full Freeway Closures: Nightly, Wed. June 18;  Thurs. 6/19; and Fri. 6/20

S/B I-5 On-ramps Closed:     Nightly, 11 p.m. to  4 Carmenita Road and Alondra Blvd,.

S/B Full Freeway Closure:  Nightly, 11:59 p.m. to 4 a.m. from  Carmenita Road to Valley View Ave.

Connector Closure: southbound I-605 connector to S/B I-5 will be closed from 11:59 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The construction work and schedule is weather-permitting and subject to change.  The Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project is a $110 million project to construct one carpool and one general purpose lane in each direction, from North Fork Coyote Creek Bridge to Marquardt Avenue, reconstruct overcrossings at Alondra Boulevard and North Fork Coyote Creek, and realign and upgrade adjacent frontage roads. The bridge is being widened from a four-lane to a six-lane bridge, with three lanes in each direction, and longer to accommodate a wider freeway. The Alondra Project is scheduled to complete in mid-to-late 2015. The contractor is C.C. Myers, Inc. of Anaheim, Ca.

The construction is part of the $1.8 billion Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) South Corridor Improvement Projects to construct one carpool and one general purpose lane in each direction from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to Interstate 605.

The motoring public, residents and businesses are encouraged to sign-up to receive notifications on street, lane and ramp closures by calling the toll-free I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects information line (855) 454-6335 or visiting

New Reduced Speed Limit              “Slow for the Cone Zone”

The posted speed limit along the I-5 South Corridor, from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to Interstate 605, has been reduced from 65 miles per hour to 55 mph. Signs have been posted alerting motorists that traffic fines are doubled in highway construction work zones.  Please refrain from driving while talking, texting, browsing or other distractions. It’s Not Worth It.


Metro Board to consider extending ExpressLanes on 10 and 110 freeways beyond January 2015

One key issue that the Metro Board of Directors are scheduled to consider at their meeting on Thursday: whether to continue tolling as part of the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways beyond January 15 of next year.

Some quick background: Metro received a $210.6-million federal grant in 2008 to use on transportation improvements in the 10 and 110 corridors. That included trying theExpressLanes for a year-long pilot period to determine if there might be a better way to manage traffic on both freeways. The lanes have proven to be popular with more than 253,000 transponders issued — far more than Metro originally anticipated. (Here is the ExpressLanes home page, including information on how to get a transponder).

The Metro staff report on the issue is above (pdf here). The report also includes a technical memo from the Federal Highway Administration that offers a preliminary analysis of the ExpressLanes, as well as some statistics. Excerpt:

Although preliminary, the results described in this report suggest that the LACRD projects are accomplishing many of their goals and objectives. Consistent with other new HOV/HOT conversion projects,the congestion data analysis shows degradation in travel times and travel speeds performance during the initial deployment period on some portions of the I-10 and I-110.

However, consistent with other sites, the same facilities are showing an upward trend in travel time reductions and increases in speed in the later portions of the pilot period. The tolling analysis findings indicate that the number of trips on the ExpressLanes (by all groups) continued to increase over the course of the demonstration period, partially demonstrated by the increase in gross revenue from toll-paying vehicles.

The many incentive programs proved to be successful with almost $13,000 in toll credits issued to Transit Rewards Program account holders and over $100,000 in toll transponder credits issued to over 4,000 LA County households enrolled in the Equity Plan. In addition, the ExpressLanes program surpassed several of its goals including enrolling over 100 new Metro-registered vanpools and issuing over 253,000 transponders by the end of the demonstration period.

Transit analysis findings indicate that Silver Line ridership increased largely due to CRD-funded service. The entire line (bothI-110 and 1-10) showed a 27 percent increase in monthly boardings after the new service was added with an additional 15 percent increase post-tolling. When surveyed, a third of new riders said they drove alone prior to the increased services and 48 percent of riders agreed that tolling has improved their travel. Additionally, the surveys showed an overall good level of customer satisfaction with transit services.


One other point worth considering from the Metro staff report: a more thorough analysis of the ExpressLanes is also being done and Metro intends to use the information to make any improvements necessary to make the ExpressLanes work better.

As a related item, the Metro Board is also scheduled to consider a motion by Metro Board Member Gloria Molina that would permanently waive the $3 account maintenance fee for infrequent users and instead substitute a $1 monthly fee on all accounts.


Metro to publicly finance HOV toll lane project for Santa Clarita Valley


We posted last year about a Measure R project to add tolled HOV lanes to 13.5 miles of the 5 freeway in the Santa Clarita Valley between the 14 freeway and Parker Road. Vehicles with one or two occupants would pay a toll while vehicles with three or more occupants could use the lanes for free; tolling the lanes allows the project to be built well before the original Measure R completion date of 2040.

Today we have this update: Metro and Caltrans have decided to publicly finance the project instead of seeking a public-private partnership (known as a PPP). Why? It’s less expensive to publicly finance the project by using $352 million in now-available Measure R and other funds and a federal low-interest loan for $175 million.

Under a PPP, a private firm or firms would have paid for the construction of the project and then been repaid, in part, by collecting and managing tolls from the lanes for 35 years. In this case, public financing will allow Metro to borrow less money and secure a lower interest rate on the needed loan.

This project as originally proposed was also unusual because it included new sound walls for the 210 freeway in Pasadena and Arcadia and the 170 and 405 freeways in Los Angeles, and adding extra lanes for a short stretch of the 71 freeway in Pomona. Under the public financing deal, those projects will be built separately. The toll revenues would be reinvested and used for transit services and traffic operations in the 5 freeway corridor in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The current forecast calls for the HOV lanes on the 5 to open in 2021, the soundwalls to be completed in 2019 and for the additional lane on the southbound side of the SR-71 to be done in 2021 and the lane on the northbound 71 to be finished in 2028.


90-day closure of southbound I-5 Western Avenue on-ramp to start April 6

From Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound I-5 Western Avenue on-ramp from Sunday, April 6 to Sunday, July 6 to widen the freeway overcrossing above Western Avenue.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.

About the Project

This project is building a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction along the Golden State Freeway (I-5) between the Ventura Freeway (SR-134) and Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, a total distance of 5.4 miles (2.7 miles in each direction). It is also constructing sound walls and retaining walls.

Funding for this $57.8 million project is provided by Proposition C.  The contractor is Security Paving of Sun Valley, California.  Work began in March 2011 and is expected to be completed in late 2014.

Caltrans thanks motorists for their patience and understanding during construction.

4.4 miles of new carpool lanes officially opened on 10 freeway between 605 and Puente Ave.

Caltrans and Metro on Thursday morning officially dedicated 2.2 miles of HOV lanes in both directions on the 10 freeway between the 605 freeway and Puente Avenue in Baldwin Park.

The lanes cost $180 million.

“As the transportation funding authority for Los Angeles County, Metro programmed $192 million for completion of this first of three segments of the I-10 carpool lanes,” said Diane DuBois, the chair of Metro’s Board of Directors. “We are pleased Caltrans delivered this project under the programmed budget. Metro also has programmed the funds for the remaining two HOV lane segments for a total of $560 million.”

The project is the first of three segments that will provide one continuous carpool lane on the 10 freeway between downtown Los Angeles and the boundary with San Bernardino County.

Here is the most recent version of Caltrans’ map showing HOV lanes in Los Angeles County:

LA County HOV System Status 09_2012


55-hour connector closures scheduled for I-10 HOV project

Your weekend traffic update from Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces 55-hour weekend lane closures of the north- and southbound San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) connectors to the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) for pavement and drainage work. Friday, September 27 at 10 p.m. through Monday, September 30, at 5 a.m.

• Eastbound I-10 Frazier Street off-ramp
• Northbound I-605 to eastbound I-10 connector
• Southbound I-605 to eastbound I-10 connector

These closures are weather permitting and subject to change. Detour signs will be posted to direct motorists. The 55-hour connector closures are part of the I-10 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) project. Flatiron West, Inc. is the contractor on this $165 million project, which will add an HOV lane in each direction of I-10 between I-605 and Puente Avenue. Anticipated completion is fall, 2013.

For further information about the project, please contact Caltrans Public Affairs at (213) 897-3656 or visit the District 7 website Caltrans reminds you to “Slow For the Cone Zone”