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Interstate 5 project gets major piece of funding

The Interstate 5 corridor through Burbank.
(Times Community News)

The California Transportation Commission has allocated $224.1 million for a project on the Golden State (5) Freeway that will include building an interchange at Empire Avenue and elevating a dangerous train crossing where two people have died.

The allocation is about half of the total $452-million price tag for the project, which will stretch from Magnolia Boulevard to Buena Vista Street.

“The Empire interchange and the railroad crossing have been two major priorities for the city for several years,” said David Kriske, a transportation planner for the city.

The Empire Avenue interchange will basically be a major overhaul of several off- and on-ramps at Scott Road, he said.


The existing Scott Road interchange is “confusing and old-fashioned,” he said. The new one will be a standard diamond-shaped interchange that will also greatly improve access to the Empire Center, he added.

The railroad crossing at Buena Vista and San Fernando Boulevard will be elevated and will cross over the city street, Kriske said. While it’s needed for logistical reasons to make room for an on-ramp that’s part of the new Empire interchange, the track elevation will also address safety concerns for a site that has seen two fatalities.

The city and the California Department of Transportation have been working together to ease traffic congestion during the project.

Caltrans is offering millions of dollars in incentives to finish the project ahead of schedule, perhaps knocking about a year off the timeline. It’s slated to begin in early 2013 and is set to be completed sometime in 2016.


Kriske said a massive outreach project is going to be launched, informing people who live and drive in that area about the project.

The city will also be reimbursed by Caltrans for about $265,000 it will spend on traffic signal modifications designed to improve traffic flow as motorists take side streets to get around the closure of San Fernando Boulevard.

The work in Burbank is part of an approximately $1-billion project to build carpool lanes along the Interstate 5 from the Ventura (134) Freeway and Route 14.

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