The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have begun construction on a US$215m project on the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) that will ease traffic congestion for the more than 170,000 motorists that travel on it daily. The Florence Avenue Project, which extends from Orr and Day Road in Santa Fe Springs to just south of the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) in Downey, will add one carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction of I-5. The Florence Avenue overcrossing and the Orr and Day Road overcrossing will also be widened for better traffic flow and enhanced safety, and the Florence Avenue Interchange will be reconfigured. Construction is anticipated to be completed in fall 2019.
Caltrans is investing US$3.2bn to significantly improve I-5 in Los Angeles County from Burbank to the Kern County line, and from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (Interstate 605). The Florence Avenue Project is part of a package of six construction projects totaling US$1.6b that will widen the Interstate 5 South Corridor by adding one carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction from the Orange County line to the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605). Once completed, the projects will improve corridor mobility from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to the I-605, provide congestion relief, safety improvements and better facilitate the movement of goods and services. Interstate 5 has been identified by Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as part of the Tier 1 Freight Network, for having the highest truck volumes and providing essential connectivity to and between key freight gateways and regions. The designation will help Caltrans direct its road maintenance and improvement resources where they can have the biggest economic impact.
“This project will be good for commuters and good for the economy, as I-5 is a key route for the movement of people, goods and services throughout California,” said Caltrans director, Malcolm Dougherty. “All the improvements to I-5 by Caltrans and our transportation partners will ultimately improve traffic flow and safety, and decrease surface street traffic for those who live, work and travel along this important highway corridor.” Metro Board member and Los Angeles County supervisor, Don Knabe, added, “This stretch of Interstate 5 to the Orange County line is the backbone of Southern California commerce. It has been in need of upgrading for years and now the major work is being done.” The improvements to I-5 are funded through a combination of federal, state and local resources, including US$7m in State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) funds and US$128m in Metro funding.