Expect nighttime lane closures along the 5 Freeway before and after the holidays

Vehicles heading east on Empire Avenue in the turn lane for the southbound 5 Freeway use the newly opened exchange to merge onto the southbound 5 freeway in Burbank late last month. Caltrans recently updated the public about the last component of the 5 Freeway project, which will be the demolition of the Burbank Boulevard bridge and construction of a new bridge.
(File photo)

Motorists who take the Golden State (5) Freeway can expect heavy delays when driving through Burbank over the next several months.

Caltrans officials hosted a community meeting on Thursday at the Buena Vista Branch Library to discuss upcoming lane reductions along the 5 and give an update about the long-awaited demolition of the Burbank Boulevard bridge.

Barring inclement weather, Caltrans is scheduled to reduce the northbound 5 between Verdugo Avenue and Magnolia Boulevard to two lanes from 10 p.m. on Nov. 1 until 5 a.m. on Nov. 4 to repave that stretch of the freeway, said John Yang, Caltrans’ construction corridor manager for the 5 Freeway improvement project.

Caltrans is scheduled to do the same during the weekends of Nov. 8 through 11 and Nov. 15 through 18.

A fourth weekend to finish repaving the northbound lanes will likely take place either during the first weekend of December or after the holidays, said Michael Comeaux, a spokesman for Caltrans’ District 7.

All southbound lanes of the 5 will remain open during the repaving.

Caltrans will repave the southbound lanes of the freeway between Verdugo and Magnolia in early 2020, depending on the weather, according to agency officials.

When the southbound lanes are being repaved, all northbound lanes will be open.

Yang said drivers who have to take the 5 during the planned lane reductions are encouraged to use the 134 and 170 freeways to help avoid traffic congestion.

“If you do the math, you might be able to beat traffic taking the 134 and 170 freeways,” he said. “It’s faster than going through the city and waiting at each traffic light. Only take side streets if there’s no other option, but we recommend taking the other freeways. You’ll be on your merry way.”

Yang also gave an update on the status of the demolition and reconstruction of the Burbank Boulevard bridge.

He said that he thinks the new bridge, which is planned to have four travel lanes in each direction, should be completed by April 2021.

There are no hard dates set, but Yang said the current bridge is scheduled to be closed sometime next year.

To alleviate traffic congestion that will be caused by that closure, Yang said motorists should start using the recently opened Empire Avenue interchange, which will allow them to get to the Empire Center or downtown Burbank when the bridge eventually closes.

Yang said he recently drove through the interchange and noticed that few drivers are using the new off- and on-ramps to the 5 Freeway.

He said he hopes more people will start using the interchange before the Burbank Boulevard bridge closes.

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