New "roundabouts" to be installed to ease traffic congestion
LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich was on hand today to kick off the start of construction of two new roundabouts that hope to ease the traffic congestion at the I-5 and Hasley Canyon.
Currently, the intersection at the Old Road and Hasley Canyon serves as a popular way to get on the I-5 freeway. Traffic at the intersection has been a problem for quite some time.
For over a decade, LA County planners working with Caltrans have looked for a solution to the problem, and the roundabouts were eventually decided upon.
The roundabouts were first met with some skepticism, even on the part of the County’s Director of Public Works Donald Wolfe, who admitted his original weariness. The roundabout is extremely rare in California roadways, and the concept may be hard for some to grasp. But Wolfe says that it is a good way to move traffic. “I was curious, dubious, and thought Barry was crazy,” he said, referring to the man who first brought
the idea to the table. But upon visiting Europe and traveling through many roundabouts, he says his attitude changed. “I fell in love with them…once you get used to them, and the panic factor goes away, they are very efficient.”
The concept is that each direction enters the round-a-bout without a light. As traffic circles, motorists then must work their way to the right to exit at their appropriate road.
One roundabout will be installed at the top of the northbound exit; the other will join the Old Road and Hasley Canyon Road.
Some have questioned the roadway’s safety. Supervisor Michael Antonovich says that he understands the initial uncertainty; “I shared that skepticism, and we called the [Castaic] Town Council, and got their input, and we developed a system that we feel will meet the need, in a safe way.”
After it’s done, Antonovich says he thinks the project will be a win-win. “It’s going to make it easier for the businesses to operate and residents to go to their place of choice.”
The project should be complete by summer of 2009. Detours will be operating throughout the duration of the project, with full on and off ramp closures expected for six to eight weeks.
Also, a new traffic light will guide traffic from Sedona Way, just north of Hasley Canyon on the Old Road, to the southbound I-5. Another southbound on ramp is planned for Hasley Canyon Road.
Newhall Land is a financial partner in the project, and they have paid four million dollars so far in the design of the project. A total of $27 million will be paid out by Newhall Land for the project as a whole. “We have long been working to improve this interchange. Obviously it’s important to the whole regional transportation system, to the Valencia Commerce Center, and to the residents of the Castaic area,” said Newhall Land Spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer.
As for the safety, Lauffer also thinks the traffic pattern will work. “While it is unique, I think it’s going to work, and the engineers are quite excited about it,” she said.
The project has a website with information for motorists and residents at www.hasleyI5.com.