Despite the confluence of major construction projects on Burbank’s freeway arteries that will cause detours for months to come, at least motorists will have renewed access to one main on-ramp.
Officials on Friday christened the new on-ramp from Hollywood Way onto the westbound Ventura (134) Freeway, eliminating a left turn that backed up traffic during peak times for a corridor that accommodates hundreds of workers for Disney, Warner Bros., Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and NBC.
Previously, motorists heading north on Alameda Avenue had to cross traffic to turn onto the Alameda on-ramp.
Now, instead of turning left, motorists can continue north and turn right onto the new Hollywood Way on-ramp. The ramp curves around a power station and merges with the existing Alameda on-ramp, said Steven Milton, design manager of the project.
The $47-million project through the California Department of Transportation started in April 2007. It also included the lengthening of freeway overcrossings on Alameda and Pass avenues, as well as Hollywood Way.
“Now there are two ways to get onto the freeway,” said Burbank Major Anja Reinke. “It divides the traffic.”
Tackling traffic congestion is important because of the city’s workforce dynamic, Reinke added. Eighty percent of Burbank residents leave the city for work, and 80% of the workers in Burbank drive in from other cities, she said.
Traffic flow could be worse, though, if it weren’t for some creative scheduling by employers, Reinke said. Several years ago, some companies in the Media District, such as Warner Bros., switched to alternate work hours for employees, staggering the times when they arrive and leave.
As the on-ramp project comes to a close, the carpool lane on 134 Freeway that was shortened by a few miles has been restored to its original configuration, said California Highway Patrol Capt. Bill Dance.
He also cautioned drivers to pay attention to where they should enter and exit the carpool lane.
“It will take a little getting used to,” he said.
Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, who also serves on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, said he often drives in Burbank and welcomes the smoother ride.
The MTA allocated $3.4 million in Proposition C funds, generated through a county sales tax, to the project.