Delays to 5 Fwy. project, debris generate backlash

About 30 people attended a California Department of Transportation meeting Wednesday night looking for answers about a scheduled freeway expansion on the Golden State (5) Freeway.

They got their answers, but some weren’t necessarily what they wanted to hear.

Caltrans representatives said the project to add carpool lanes to Interstate 5 through Burbank and portions of Glendale had been scheduled to begin last year, but was delayed. At the community meeting at Glendale’s Environmental Management Center on Flower Street Wednesday night, they said construction should begin this month.

However, a specific schedule for when new sound and retaining walls are going in, and when the construction will be completed, wasn’t yet available, frustrating residents anxious about the coming traffic and noise impacts.


“It is tough to give you a definite schedule,” said Mumbie Fredson-Cole, the project manager for the $153-million project that will add carpool lanes in both directions along the I-5 from the Ventura (134) Freeway to Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.

The project also includes new on- and off-ramps near Western Avenue and Flower Street.

Armed with brochures, renderings and a large aerial map, about a half-dozen Caltrans representatives tried to placate the crowd upset about leftover debris and missing details.

“We try to provide as much information as we can.” Fredson-Cole said.


Demolition of existing sound walls should be quick, but it will take several months to build their replacements along the 2.7-mile stretch. Heavy roadwork will follow, officials said.

The project could take three to four years. The original completion date was 2014, but that may be pushed back because of delays caused by moving utilities that have since been cleared, officials said.

Some at the meeting were upset that a Caltrans contractor had torn down trees and left debris scattered when the project was put on hold.

“I know this is what you’re going to do, you’ve made up your mind, but clean it up,” said resident Barbara Ellner, who complained that felled trees remained unkempt for several months.

Fredson-Cole said the debris may be removed in coming weeks.

Remaining dirt patches will be filled with ivy, Canary Island Pine, California Sycamore and other plants.