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

i5_project_map

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 http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07 Caltrans reminds you to “Slow For the Cone Zone”

This week’s closures on the I-10

Here’s the schedule of freeway closures for the I-10 HOV Lane Project for next week via Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close portions of the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) as part of the High Occupancy Vehicle lane construction project. The following schedule will be in effect, weather permitting, and is subject to change:

Continuing Long Term Closure

Bess Avenue Pedestrian Overcrossing

Full closure of Bess Avenue pedestrian overcrossing through fall, 2013                       

Monday, September 23 through Thursday, September 26

  • 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Southbound I-605 connector to eastbound I-10.
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Northbound I-605 connectors to I-10.
  • 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Northbound I-605 Valley Boulevard on-ramps.

Westbound I-10

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Frazier Street. Baldwin Park Boulevard and Francisquito Avenue on- and off-ramps.
  • 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to 3 lanes from Puente Avenue to I-605.
  • 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. – Full freeway closure from Puente Avenue to I-605.
  • 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Connector to I-605.
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Frazier Street, Baldwin Park Boulevard, and Francisquito Avenue on- 2and off-ramps.
  • 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Puente Avenue on-ramp.

Eastbound I-10                                                            

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Baldwin Park Boulevard on- and off-ramps.
  • 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Up to 3 lanes from I-605 to Puente Avenue.
  • 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. – Full freeway closure from I-605 to Puente Avenue.
  • 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Connector to northbound I-605.
  • 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Durfee Avenue on-ramp.
  • 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. – Frazier Street off-ramp.
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Baldwin Park Boulevard on- and off-ramps.
  • 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Francisquito Avenue off-ramp.

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. Detour signs will be posted to direct motorists. Anticipated completion is fall, 2013. Caltrans reminds you to “Slow For the Cone Zone”

Updates on I-5 HOV improvement project between SR-118 and SR-170

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I-5 closures set for next week. Some good news too – 3 long term ramp closures are ending this month! Here are all the details from Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) plans to implement the closures listed below as part of a project that is constructing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes and a direct HOV lane connector at the I-5/SR-170 interchange. Ramp closures will be staggered. Detours will be signed. Closures are subject to change.

No unusual levels of noise, dust or vibration are expected. Residents may hear some construction noise, but it will not exceed levels permitted by state and federal regulations.

For the safety of the construction crew and motorists, please be attentive to closures, slow for the cone zone, and move over one lane where possible.

Closure information for this and other freeway projects is available on the Caltrans website: http://www.lcswebreports.dot.ca.gov/lcswebreports/

For real-time traffic information, visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov, go511.com, or call 5-1-1.

Closure Dates: Sunday, Sept. 15, to Friday, Sept. 20, 2013

Northbound I-5

Lanes

  • Up to three lanes between SR-170 and SR-118: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Note: The most restrictive closures (i.e., the most lanes closed) will occur between midnight and 4 a.m.

On-Ramps

  • Tuxford Street: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Lankershim Boulevard: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Off-Ramps

  • Osborne Street: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Paxton Street: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Connectors

  • Northbound I-5 to eastbound SR-118: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Northbound I-5 to westbound SR-118: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Southbound I-5

Lanes

Southbound I-5 will be closed between Osborne Street and Sheldon Street the nights of Sept. 17 – 19, 11:59 p.m. to 4 a.m. See the attached notice for details. Additional closures below.

  • Up to three lanes between SR-118 and SR-170 — 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Note: The most restrictive closures (i.e., the most lanes closed) will occur between midnight and 4 a.m. See the attached

Long-Term I-5 Ramp Closures

Long-Term On-Ramp Closures

  • Eastbound Osborne Street to northbound I-5 (opens this month!)
  • Branford Street to southbound I-5 (opens December 2013)

Long-Term Off-Ramp Closures

  • Northbound I-5 to eastbound Van Nuys Boulevard (opens this month!)
  • Northbound I-5 to Branford Street (opens this month!)
  • Northbound I-5 to westbound Terra Bella Street (opens October 2013)

Northbound SR-170

On-Ramp

  • Eastbound/westbound Roscoe Boulevard: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Connector

  • Two lanes of the northbound SR-170 connector to northbound I-5: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Southbound SR-170

Lanes

  • Up to two lanes between I-5 and Roscoe Boulevard: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On-Ramp

  • Sheldon Street/Arleta Street — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

About the Project

Caltrans is constructing an HOV lane in each direction on I-5 between the Hollywood Freeway (SR-170) and SR-118, a distance of 6.8 miles (3.4 miles in each direction). The project is also widening four undercrossings, replacing sections of pavement, and building a

direct HOV connector at the I-5/SR-170 interchange. A direct HOV connector allows for freeway-to-freeway transfers without exiting the carpool lane.

This project will alleviate congestion, encourage carpooling, improve air quality, and provide a smoother ride for motorists. The work is part of Caltrans’ effort to provide motorists with a seamless carpool lane network in California.

Work began in August 2010 and is on track for completion in late 2014. Funding administered by Metro.

Caltrans thanks motorists for their patience and understanding during construction. For more information, visit www.I-5info.com.

Upcoming closures for I-10 HOV project

Caltrans will close portions of the I-10 as part of the High Occupancy Vehicle lane construction project.

The following schedule will be in effect, weather permitting, and is subject to change:

Continuing Long Term Closure

Bess Avenue Pedestrian Overcrossing

Full closure of Bess Avenue pedestrian overcrossing through summer, 2013                                 

Extended 55-Hour Closure

Friday, September 13 at 10 p.m. through Monday, September 16 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                                  

Friday, September 13

  • 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. – One lane of eastbound I-10 between I-605 and Baldwin Park Boulevard.
  • 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Eastbound I-10 connector to northbound I-605
  • 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Northbound I-605 connector to westbound I-10

Saturday, September 14

  • 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. – One lane of eastbound I-10 between I-605 and Baldwin Park Boulevard.

Sunday, September 15                                               

  • 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – One lane of eastbound I-10 between I-605 and Baldwin Park Boulevard.  

Monday, September 16 through Thursday, September 19

  • 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Southbound I-605 connector to eastbound I-10.
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Northbound I-605 connectors to I-10.
  • 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Northbound I-605 Valley Boulevard on-ramps.

Westbound I-10

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Frazier Street. Baldwin Park Boulevard and Francisquito Avenue on- and off-ramps.
  • 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to 3 lanes from Puente Avenue to I-605.
  • 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. – Full freeway closure from Puente Avenue to I-605.
  • 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Connector to I-605.
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Frazier Street, Baldwin Park Boulevard, and Francisquito Avenue on- and off-ramps.
  • 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Puente Avenue on-ramp.

Eastbound I-10                                                           

  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Baldwin Park Boulevard on- and off-ramps.
  • 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Up to 3 lanes from I-605 to Puente Avenue.
  • 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. – Full freeway closure from I-605 to Puente Avenue.
  • 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Connector to northbound I-605.
  • 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Durfee Avenue on-ramp.
  • 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. – Frazier Street off-ramp. 
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Baldwin Park Boulevard on- and off-ramps.
  • 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. – Francisquito Avenue off-ramp.

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. Detour signs will be posted to direct motorists. Anticipated completion is fall, 2013. Caltrans reminds you to “Slow For the Cone Zone”

Transportation headlines, Thursday, September 12

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed. Have a transportation-related article you want included in headlines? Drop me an email!

And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison!

Bill expanding carpool lanes on 210 and 134 freeways heads to Governor’s desk (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

The bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) would allow vehicles with just one occupant to use the lanes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at night and all weekends — although the exact times will be determined by Caltrans.

It’s a 10-month trial project that Caltrans can choose to end or expand. There was only one vote against in the entire Legislature, indicating that this is an extremely easy thing to do from a political standpoint while generating some pleasant PR.

Whether it accomplishes anything remains to be seen. It could, hypothetically, better spread out traffic during non-peak hours. Or it could just ensure that all freeway lanes are clogged no matter the hour. Thoughts, readers?

The President and the pipeline (New Yorker) 

Map: TransCanada.

Map: TransCanada.

Great article about President Obama and the impending decision on whether to approve the Keystone pipeline to bring oil from Alberta’s oil fields to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Most importantly, the article ponders the question of whether the pipeline really will have an impact one way or the other on climate change.

San Diego pilots mobile ticketing (Transit Wire) 

mTicket-3-passes_001

Those riding the San Diego Trolley (a light rail line) can now buy day passes with their phone and skip waiting in line at ticket machines. It’s just a pilot program and only in effect during Chargers and San Diego State football games and other special events. One thing to note: there are no turnstiles on the trolley system — it’s an honor system. More info on the MTS website.

Beijing subway installs plastic recycling machines (cctv.com)

Photo cctv.com.

Photo cctv.com.

Users can have their recyclables crushed and get a little money that is applied to their transit fares. Brilliant! If this existed here, I could have an entirely Diet Coke-powered commute.

I-5 ramp closures between SR-170 and Buena Vista Street

From Caltrans: a list of the on/off ramps that are closed through this Friday.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the following lanes and ramps of the Golden State Freeway (I-5) as part of a $121 million improvement project to construct High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lanes in each direction along I-5 between SR-170 to Buena Vista Street. Closures are subject to change. Detours will be signed.

Golden State Freeway (I-5) Closures

Monday July 22 through Friday July 26, 2013

▪   Southbound I-5 Roscoe Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound On-Ramp

TIME:  7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Roscoe Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound Off-Ramp

TIME:  7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Sunland Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound Off-Ramp

TIME: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Sunland Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound On-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Penrose Street Eastbound and Westbound Off-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Sunland Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound Off Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Sunland Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound On Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 from Buena Vista Street to Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard

TIME: One Lane: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Three Lanes: 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Tuxford Street Eastbound and Westbound On-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Tuxford Street Eastbound and Westbound Off-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Lankershim Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound On-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound

Off and On Ramps

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Penrose Street Eastbound and Westbound Off-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Penrose Street Northbound and Southbound On-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Lankershim Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound On and Off Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard Eastbound and Westbound

Off and On Ramps

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Northbound I-5 Hollywood Way Eastbound and Westbound On and Off Ramp

TIME:  8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Hollywood Way Eastbound and Westbound Off and On Ramps

TIME: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 Tuxford Street Eastbound and Westbound On-Ramp

TIME: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m

▪   Northbound I-5 from Buena Vista Street Eastbound and Westbound On ramp

TIME: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

▪   Southbound I-5 from Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard to Buena Vista Street

TIME: Up to Two lanes: 8 p.m.  To 6 a.m.

Three lanes: 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.

About the Project

Caltrans is building an HOV lane in each direction of I-5 between SR-170 and north of Buena Vista Street in Burbank.

This project will alleviate congestion, encourage carpooling, improve air quality, provide a smoother ride for motorists, and reduce traffic on city streets.

Work began in early 2011 and is expected to be completed in late 2014. Caltrans thanks motorists for their patience and understanding during construction.

Metro releases latest report with preliminary data on ExpressLanes’ performance on 10 and 110 freeways

ExpressLanes Performance Update-Prelim Report, July 2013

The Metro ExpressLanes pilot project publicly released its second performance report Monday morning, offering a statistical look at how the project is faring on the 10 and 110 freeways. This is a follow-up to the first report, released in March.

I’ll offer the same caveat we did in March: Metro and Caltrans officials stress that the data is preliminary and subject to change. The U.S. Department of Transportation has hired the Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit research firm, to conduct a full and thorough evaluation of the ExpressLanes and their overall effectiveness after they’ve been opened at least one year.

That independent evaluation won’t be issued until mid-2014. In the meantime, Metro will be releasing preliminary performance reports such as the one below in order to provide everyone a general idea of how the ExpressLanes are doing.

A few highlights from the new Metro report:

•In April, the average speed in the ExpressLanes on the 10 freeway was 64 mph during the weekday morning peak commute between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. The average speed in the ExpressLanes on the 110 freeway was 65 mph.

•In April, the average speed of the general lanes on the 110 was 48.3 mph during the same morning peak commute. In April 2012 before the ExpressLanes opened, the average speed was 48.4 mph. The average speed of the general lanes on the 10 freeway was 51.6 mph between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.; the average speed for the general lanes before the ExpressLanes opened is still being evaluated.

•Average work week trips were 57,256 on the 110 ExpressLanes in late April, exceeding the average volume of about 54,000 trips before the ExpressLanes opened. On the 10, the average work week trips were 24,613 at the end of April. That’s 88 percent below the pre-opening average volume of 28,000 but Metro expects the number of trips in the ExpressLanes to continue rising and exceed the pre-opening volumes sometime later this year.

•On the 110, 59 percent of those using the ExpressLanes are carpoolers and 41 percent are solo drivers. On the 10, users are 57 percent carpoolers and 43 percent solo drivers.

•There were 152,787 FasTrak transponders issued through the end of April.  As of June, the number has grown to 180,901. Some of those transponders are being used in multiple vehicles.

•Account holders by house income bracket are evenly distributed: 8.5 percent make less than $35,000, 19.9 percent make $35,000 to $49,000, 35.6 percent make $50,000 to $74,999, 21.3 percent make $75,000 to $99,000, 12.2 percent make $100,000 to $149,999 and 2.4 percent make over $150,000. In other words, it’s pretty much a bell curve and suggests the notion that the ExpressLanes are “Lexus Lanes” — i.e. only used by those with very high incomes — is not correct.

•Transit ridership on the bus routes using the 110 freeway was 14,137 boardings in April 2013. In April 2012– it was 12,920. In addition, there have been 58 new vanpools formed to use both corridors.

For those interested in getting a transponder in order to use the ExpressLanes, please click here. Through Labor Day, tolls during non-peak hours have been lowered to as low as 15 cents per mile, 10 cents lower than the usual base toll of 25 cents per mile.

Any thoughts on the ExpressLanes, Source readers? Please feel free to comment — and please keep comments brief and to the point so that other readers will actually read them!