Metro on Wednesday celebrated the groundbreaking for the I-5 North County Enhancements Project, which will improve the operations and safety of the I-5 freeway for motorists in the Santa Clarita Valley. Metro is planning, designing and managing the construction of the project in partnership with Caltrans. Watch the event here.
This $679-million project is specifically designed to make the I-5 freeway safer, improve the movement of freight and people and accommodate expected population growth in the Santa Clarita Valley. Improvements include the addition of one High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction along with other improvements in the 14-mile corridor between State Route 14 in Santa Clarita and Parker Road in Castaic.
“It is critical that we ensure the safe and efficient operation of the I-5, which is the backbone of commerce in the Western United States,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Kathryn Barger. “These improvements will help safeguard the economic vitality of the entire region while providing key safety improvements for all who use this corridor.”
In addition to new HOV lanes in both directions, project improvements include a two-mile extension of truck lanes, construction of sound walls in select locations to reduce freeway noise, the addition of auxiliary lanes at multiple locations and the replacement of the Weldon Canyon Road Bridge. These improvements intend to enhance safety on the freeway by removing trucks from the general-purpose lanes and adding more space for merging.
“We are excited to be bringing these much-needed improvements to the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “Our work will make traveling through this corridor safer, provide much more efficient movement of goods and offer an alternative to commuting solo by encouraging people to share rides through new high-occupancy-vehicle lanes in both directions.”
Santa Clarita, which is now the third-largest city in L.A. County, is expected to increase its population by more than 25,000 people by 2035 as documented in the City of Santa Clarita’s One Vision One Valley Plan. By improving the ability to merge and offering trucks a separate lane from general purpose lanes, motorists who use the corridor should have a faster, smoother and safer driving experience.
The project is funded through a combination of Measure R and Measure M funding specifically set aside for road and highways projects, along with SB1 and federal dollars. SB1 uses state gas taxes and vehicle fees to fund roadways, improve transit and build walking and biking projects. Metro expects the project to be completed in 2026.
“This is another example of how SB 1 continues to deliver for the people of California, contributing $247 million – 36 percent of the total project funding – to enhance freight movement between Southern California and the Central Valley,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “SB 1 continues to provide critical funding to improve the movement of people and goods throughout our state as well as modernizing our infrastructure.”
Enhancements are part of Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan to ease congestion in L.A. County. That plan is a 30-year financial blueprint that sets out the agency’s mobility priorities, which include a transportation network with less congestion, where traffic flows more freely and travel times are more certain.
For more information about the I-5 North County Enhancements Project, visit https://www.metro.net/projects/i-5-enhancements/.
Note to Readers and Editors: Metro Operators are crucial to keeping LA moving. Metro is currently hiring more than 500 bus operators and is offering a $3,000 bonus for coming aboard. This is a great career opportunity. Metro offers competitive hourly rates starting at $17.75 for part-time bus operators and benefits include health insurance, tuition reimbursements, paid training, retirement plan options and part-time flexible hours. Please encourage friends, family and community members to become a part of the Metro team that provides excellence in service and support and keeps our region moving. Apply at metro.net/driveLA.