State and local officials on Monday broke ground on a $140.2-million project to add carpool lanes to a congested portion of the Golden State (5) Freeway.
Nearly 10 miles from the Interstate 5 Burbank Boulevard offramp and 13 from the Colorado Street exit in Glendale — both named in a recent report as freeway segments where traffic conditions worsened significantly last year — the project will build high-occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction between the Hollywood (170) Freeway and the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway.
Stretching a distance of 3.4 miles in each direction, the project will also widen under-crossings and reconstruct the carpool connector between the 170 and I-5 freeways, where officials say roughly 300,000 vehicles pass through each day.
"We cannot reduce traffic in our region," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who advocated for better use of mass transportation and the construction of carpool lanes as a way to combat the problem.
In addition to easing commute times, the new lanes and other improvements will make the section of freeway safer, officials said.
"This is important because we are tying systems together," said Doug Failing, executive director of highway programs for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "We are making a system within a system to increase safety and efficiency."
Most of the work on the project, to be paid through a mix of federal, state and county funding, will be done late at night, when there are fewer commuters on the road, said Kelly Markham, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation.
No two consecutive off ramps will be closed at the same time, she added. Closures and construction delays will be announced in advance by signs along the freeway.
The project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2015.