Project Description & Funding Request: Interstate 5 Gateway Improvement Project in North L.A. County, March, 2009
The Golden State Gateway Coalition advocates funding the design and construction of The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) proposal to add northbound and southbound truck lanes and carpool lanes to Interstate 5 in northern Los Angeles County.
We ask that California legislators recognize the economic, public safety and environmental benefits of this project, and support funding for its design and construction. The next phase of the project requires $7.5 million for final design (Project Specifications & Estimates) for the truck lanes.
The $506 million project would add truck lanes and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to the north and southbound Interstate 5 between State Route 14 and the Pico/Lyons exit; and, add one HOV lane from Route 14 to the Parker exit in both directions, approximately 33 miles of roadway. The project also entails improvements to The Old Road, the road that serves as an alternate to the I-5 through the Newhall Pass.
Project Status: An Environmentally Cleared Project Developed Through Public/Private Partnership
Through an innovative partnership with the private sector, environmental review and preliminary design efforts were begun by Caltrans in FY 2006. The EIR/EA for the project is on track for approval in the second quarter of 2009. The Caltrans/Golden State Gateway Coalition’s combined efforts have saved taxpayers an estimated nine million dollars so far, and have resulted in completing the environmental review process two and a half years earlier than estimated.
All the components of the I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project are included in the Regional Transportation Plan for Los Angeles County and LACMTA’s Long Range Plan. In 2005, $1.6 million was authorized by the Congress for the I-5 Gateway Improvement Project in the national surface transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU).
Project Benefits: Jobs, Goods Movement, Clean Air and Public Safety
The I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project is critical to the mobility and goods movement needs of the region and the state. This view is reflected in studies and plans produced by the Southern California Association of Governments and Governor Schwarzenegger’s office. The project is cited and recommended for funding in the Governor’s Goods Movement Action Plan, released in 2007.
Daily traffic counts in 2005 exceeded 206,000 just north of the I-5/SR 14 interchange, resulting in routine gridlock. And traffic here is projected to more than double in less than twenty years. According to LA Metro, the proposed carpool lanes and truck lanes will increase the capacity of this roadway segment by 50%, resulting in dramatically improved travel speeds and documented reductions in carbon monoxide, diesel particulates, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Along with mitigating traffic congestion, the I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project will provide significant economic, environmental and public safety benefits to all Interstate 5 users: more than 73 million drivers every year. An estimated 24,000 jobs will be created by the project, directly and indirectly. This portion of Interstate 5 serves as the “Gateway” to Southern California and currently carries well over half a million trucks each month. This volume of truck traffic is projected to increase dramatically, fed by growth in commerce and seaport and air cargo. The proposed truck lanes over the steeply graded Newhall Pass will also provide for the much-needed separation of “slower” trucks from the other vehicles traveling on Interstate 5.
The project deserves to be funded and built without delay: it is cost-effective, and beneficial to the nation’s economy and the regional environment.