Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Burbank, Glendale join to improve street traffic

Burbank, Glendale join to improve street traffic
Aerial view of the 2 and 134 freeway intersection in Glendale in December 2010. Officials are embarking on a project to improve traffic on surface streets between the two freeways.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Burbank and Glendale are embarking on a project to improve traffic flow on surface streets between the Golden State (5) and Ventura (134) freeways.

The project, which will cost roughly $1.7 million, includes improving traffic signals, installing cameras and a fiber optic infrastructure that will allow both cities to communicate and make changes to improve traffic flow, Burbank Traffic Engineer Ken Johnson said.

Residents can expect lane closures alongside street curbs, but not during peak traffic times, Johnson said.

The city does not anticipate street closures as contractors install the fiber optic system using a machine that bores holes under the street’s surface, Johnson added.


Johnson said the fibers, which are made of glass and are as fine as strands of hair, allow officials to see how traffic is moving miles away from their operations center.

Transportation officials can also receive pictures from intersections and respond by sending commands to signals.

The work is scheduled to start later in May in Burbank and take about four months to complete, Johnson said.

Glendale will determine the work schedule for the southern border, which could begin in July or August. Glendale Public Works Director Steve Zurn could not be immediately reached for comment.


Johnson said the fiber optic cable is a better alternative than copper, which can easily fail to transmit signals after a half-mile distance. Fiber optics can continue to communicate from up to 30 miles away, Johnson said, and can continue to operate even if partially damaged in a natural disaster.

“It’s the kind of thing that isn’t affected by rain,” Johnson added. “It doesn’t short out.”

There are 70 existing cameras at various Burbank intersections that are compatible with the optic fiber system, Johnson said.

Improvements will be made in the area bound roughly by Glenoaks Boulevard, and Alameda and Sonora avenues.

In 2006, Glendale and Burbank officials applied for a grant through the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to improve the efficiency of major surface streets between the I-5 and the 134 freeways, according to a Burbank staff report. The move was an alternative to building a costly ramp system that would connect the two freeways.

A year later, the cities were awarded a roughly $1.73-million grant to cover 80% of the project’s cost, city documents show. Burbank was given $781,092 and Glendale received $945,020.

Burbank matched the grant with $156,218 and Glendale provided $189,004.