Sue Kilpatrick gasped multiple times as she listened to project manager Reza Fateh explain the delays to a pavement rehabilitation project that has caused traffic headaches along the Foothill (210) Freeway since 2015.
At Thursday evening’s Crescenta Valley Town Council meeting, Kilpatrick and other La Crescenta residents expressed their dismay to Caltrans officials when told the freeway project would not be finished until December. It was expected to be completed by March.
“A lot of us are very frustrated,” Kilpatrick said from her seat in the front row. “We haven’t been getting all of the facts. It sounds more like we’re getting excuses.”
Reza Fateh, the project’s manager, blamed rain and construction issues for the delay.
“The pavement in lanes 3 and 4 have to be completely replaced. Those are the heavy traffic lanes,” Fateh explained. With the shifting of work to lanes 3 and 4, traffic had to be limited to the first two lanes.
Fateh said they anticipated about 400 slabs would be damaged while the work was underway. Instead, the toll was 1,300 slabs.
The pavement rehabilitation project involves upgrades on the highway’s pavement, median barrier, overhead sign structures and lighting at three tunnels. The installation of a high-friction surface to improve stopping and traction within the tunnels is also included in the work.
The project covers a 9.7-mile stretch of the 210 Freeway, used by motorists traveling to and from La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, Pasadena and the La Crescenta-Montrose area.
The total contract amount was also increased due to the delays, from $105 million to $107 million, Fateh said.
For every reason and explanation Fathe tried to give, he was shot down by community members irritated by the delays.
Darrell Davis said he couldn’t understand how building famous skyscrapers was done faster than it takes Caltrans to fix pavement on the local freeway.
“I know the Empire State Building was built in 18 months,” Davis said.
Kilpatrick balked at the rain delays, saying, “we only got 10 inches of rain this year.”
Town Council President Harry Leon expressed his dismay with the lack of communication from Caltrans about the delays.
“We’re all banking on the end of the summer for this construction to be over,” Leon said. “If things like this happen ...” and then Leon stopped to gather his thoughts.
“Let us know,” said Diane Bullarz chimed in from the second row.
Fateh said that despite the delays, they have replaced the median barrier, upgraded the overhead sign structures and upgraded the pavement in the tunnels.
Fateh said he’s sure the motorists will enjoy the end results when the project is completed.