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At the December 5 groundbreaking ceremony residents, dignitaries, elected officials and Caltrans folks gathered in the mist to celebrate the start of a new $66 million freeway interchange at the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10)/San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) in the San Gabriel Valley.
The project is notable for several reasons: It is the first entirely state-funded design-build project in California, financed entirely through the State Highway Operations and Protection Program (SHOPP). Design-build is a construction method in which the project is designed and constructed simultaneously, speeding up the process and allowing for greater flexibility. Although traditional design-bid-build continues to be the primary delivery tool for Caltrans, the department is increasingly making use of alternative methods such as design-build, design-sequencing and public-private partnerships.
Currently, motorists traveling southbound on the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) have a very short distance in which to merge onto the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway (I-10). The new project is a direct fly-over, which will make the transition from freeway to freeway easier by eliminating a weave movement.
“The connector will provide a smooth transition and eliminate confusion for motorists by removing the need to cross various lanes to get from freeway to freeway,” said Acting District 7 Project Management Deputy Shirley Choate at a groundbreaking ceremony on December 5 in Baldwin Park. “It will also reduce backups due to merging traffic and improve freeway operations.”
The direct connector project joins the I-10 carpool lane currently underway from I-605 to Puente Avenue, the first of three projects that, when complete, will offer a continuous carpool lane along I-10 from downtown Los Angeles to the San Bernardino County line.
“The half-billion dollars worth of projects in the San Gabriel Valley will help to expand capacity, facilitate maintenance, operations and safety and improve commuting times,” Choate continued. “This magnitude of construction would not be possible without the significant and substantial investments by cities, counties, transportation agencies, including the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.”
As the ceremony ended, the fog lifted and the sun shone upon the celebrants and the work ahead.