District 7 Projects Collect a Truckload of Awards
This has been a banner year for District 7 people and projects, both winning multiple awards and acknowledgements from various transportation organizations.
To start, District 7 Operations Division was recognized twice in the recently announced 2013 Excellence in Transportation Awards. The Harbor Freeway (Interstate 110) and San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10) ExpressLanes won in the Systems and Operations category. ExpressLanes is a one-year demonstration program that converted 11 miles of existing carpool lanes on I-110 between the Harbor Gateway Transit Center (formerly Artesia Transit Center)/182nd Street and Adams Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles and 14 miles on the I-10 El Monte Busway between Union Station/Alameda Street and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is administering the program in partnership with Caltrans.
The program, funded under a $210 million federal grant, seeks to reduce congestion by improving travel choices along the two corridors. All motorists traveling in the ExpressLanes need a transponder. Solo drivers are allowed to use the lanes for a toll. Carpools, transit, vanpools, and motorcycles travel toll free. The general purpose lanes are not tolled.
In the Safety Category, we won for the State Route 110 Dynamic Lanes Project, which turned a regular-use lane on northbound SR-110 into an optional connector lane to the Golden State Freeway (I-5) during peak hours and a through lane on SR-110 during general hours.
This solution has not been employed anywhere else in the state, and allows smart-system technology to increase traffic capacity at a location where space is restricted. According to Traffic Investigations North Chief Marco Ruano, “a lot of the credit goes to Sheik Moinuddin for his leadership to bring this concept to fruition, along with other units in Traffic Operations that were responsible for the delivery of the project and to those who continue to monitor it.”
ExpressLanes also received two additional awards: one for 2013 Partnered Project of the Year, Ruby Level, from the International Partnering Institute in Livermore, Calif. Judging factors included success in applying best practices; project results achieved; inclusion of all stakeholders and project participants in the process; lessons learned; and evidence of a culture change. (Click on the LETTERS menu on the Inside 7 Home Page to link to the letter from the IPI).
It also won the California Transportation Foundation (CTF) Operations Efficiency Program of the Year.
District 7 also took home two more CTF awards. Right of Way Deputy Andrew Nierenberg won the prestigious Emerson Rhyner Award, presented to non-engineering Caltrans managers. Among other accomplishments, Nierenberg led the Right of Way team to deliver timely certifications for the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) widening and carpool lane projects, which impacted more than 500 industrial, commercial and residential parcels in southeast Los Angeles. Missing this critical certification deadline would have resulted in loss of project funding.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas received the CTF Elected Official of the Year award after being nominated by Caltrans District 7. The supervisor was instrumental in helping to rally support for the ExpressLanes project and has been a champion of many transportation and transit improvements locally.
Caltrans congratulates all the winners and thanks everyone involved for their outstanding work.