Construction Progresses on the I-5 South Corridor
The Alondra and Shoemaker Bridges will be demolished
(Click on photos to enlarge and read captions)
This year, Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) commuters in La Mirada, Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk will experience something they haven’t seen the in 55 years since the I-5 was constructed ………freeway improvements!
“Finally - !,” said a local school district employee at a recent community fair at which Caltrans participated.
Yes, it’s finally looking and feeling like a construction zone. After nearly one year of preliminary work on frontage roads to relocate and improve utility, water and sewer lines, concrete barriers (K-rail) and cranes are in place to pile drive for new bridge structures. Graded piles of dirt are covered in plastic where bridge abutments will be located, the right shoulders are gone and the old metal guardrail has been replaced with K-rail.
This seven-mile-long corridor (14 miles total) construction project to widen I-5 comprises six construction contracts totaling over $1.6 billion in improvements that will benefit commuters travelling from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605).
“This is more than just an investment in transportation,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles. “It’s an investment in the economy and in the future of our local communities.”
Four of the six segments that make up the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects, the Carmenita Road, Alondra Boulevard, Rosecrans Avenue and Imperial Highway projects are now in construction. Together, they are building one continuous High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), or carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction, and reconstructing, reconfiguring and realigning bridges, ramps and frontage roads. Preliminary work for the Imperial Highway segment is gearing up now.
Then, later in 2013/14, the Florence Avenue segment will begin followed by the Valley View Avenue segment. Once completed, carpoolers driving northbound I-5 from San Juan Capistrano, in south Orange County, will be able to stay in one continuous carpool lane for about 40-miles (one way) to I-605 in Downey.
“It just wouldn’t make sense to extend the HOV system in one mile increments. The entire corridor should be constructed together as the funding stream is allowing,” said Dan Freeman, Acting Deputy District 7 Director for Construction. “HOV lanes are best utilized by the long-term user travelling at least a seven to 10-mile distance.”
With six projects under contract simultaneously comes the challenge of having just as many contractors working side by side. At times, the projects – at one time or another - will likely bump into each other’s schedule with regards to lane, ramp and street closures. Each contractor has the responsibility to submit his own schedule and work around the staging plans and cooperate with adjoining contracts to avoid conflicts in detours and closures.
To mitigate the traffic impacts, all segment contract plans are carefully staged and come with a Transportation Management Plan (TMP). To implement the planned TMP, Caltrans has incorporated one a traffic coordinator to manage the seven-mile corridor.
“The TMP includes six components: motorist information strategies, incident management, construction strategies, demand management, alternative route strategies and public information and outreach,” said Samson Teshome, Caltrans I-5 South Corridor TMP Coordinator. “Coordinating several construction projects into a corridor management schedule is not a new concept, but it takes patience, cooperation and communication between Caltrans, its contractors, local city officials and the public.”
Here’s a quick update on what’s happening now and into spring 2013 on the I-5 South Corridor:
I-5 HOV/Carmenita Road Interchange Project – Cities of Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk
The $380 million Carmenita Road project – from Alondra Boulevard to Shoemaker Avenue - began a five-month pile driving operation in December. The work involves setting approximately 2,500 steel piles into the ground as part of the foundation structural support for the new Carmenita Road Bridge at the intersection of Firestone Boulevard and Carmenita Road. Pile driving will take place during weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 2013 while Carmenita Road and the Carmenita Bridge remain open for traffic. The existing two-lane steel structure will be replaced with a 10-lane concrete structure. The contractor is Flatiron, Inc.
I-5 HOV/Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project - City of Santa Fe Springs
In late February or March 2013, (dates to be announced) Alondra Boulevard will fully close in both directions between Freeway Drive and Marquardt Avenue for about one year until spring 2014. The closed roadway includes the Alondra Boulevard Bridge, which will undergo reconstruction during this long-term closure. Also, the existing northbound I-5 on-ramp at Alondra Boulevard will be closed permanently. A temporary northbound I-5 on-ramp at Freeway Drive will be constructed during the next six months and open to motorists by summer 2013. The temporary ramp will be used for about two years. Local traffic will be detoured around Valley View Avenue, Artesia Boulevard and Carmenita Road.
Alondra Boulevard Bridge Demolition and Reconstruction
The 57-year-old Alondra Boulevard Bridge will be demolished in February or March, and then reconstructed as a wider and longer structure to accommodate a wider freeway. The new bridge will be widened from four lanes to six lanes, with three lanes in each direction. Both the Alondra Bridge and Alondra Boulevard are expected to open by spring 2014. C.C. Myers, Inc. is the contractor on this project.
I-5 HOV/Rosecrans and Bloomfield Bridges Project – City of Norwalk
Following a groundbreaking event planned for early February 2013, the first order of business is to demolish and reconstruct the Shoemaker Avenue overcrossing. Similar demolition and reconstruction will follow for the Rosecrans Avenue Bridge, the Bloomfield Avenue Bridge and the pedestrian overcrossing at Silverbow Avenue. Flatiron, Inc. is the contractor on this $214 million project that extends from Shoemaker Avenue to Silverbow Avenue.
Caltrans is committed to delivering the improved roadway to the communities, citizens and motorists as soon as possible, but a 14-mile construction zone (seven miles in each direction) will have impacts. To stay on top of them, the public is encouraged to sign-up to receive email notifications on local street, freeway and ramp closures at the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects Toll-Free Hotline (855) 454-6335 or by visiting www.I-5info.com