Stalled I-5 project gets ready to roll

After utility issues caused a speed bump in plans to construct a new carpool lane along a 2.7-mile stretch of the Golden State (5) Freeway in Glendale and Burbank last year, state transportation officials say work should kick off again this month.

To prepare residents for the resurgence in construction, California Department of Transportation officials are hosting a community meeting Wednesday evening in Glendale. But residents take note: the period during which concerns about noise and debris may influence the project has passed. The project, a Caltrans spokesman said Monday, is going forward.

“We’re letting people know what to expect. We’re not there to take people’s opinions or thoughts [about the project],” Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said, adding that the environmental review portion of the project has been wrapped up. The construction will mostly affect residents of the Rancho-Riverside neighborhood.

Caltrans will have an aerial map at the meeting showing the scope of construction, which will run along the I-5 from the Ventura (134) Freeway to Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank in both directions. The $153-million project is paid for by Measure R, a half-cent Los Angeles County sales tax approved by voters in 2008 for transportation projects.

The project is one of many planned for the I-5 to relieve congestion.

Some trees have already been removed and initial work has been done for new sound walls. Construction was halted so that Caltrans could iron out electricity and gas line issues with the city-owned utilities in Glendale and Burbank. With that taken care of, work can restart, Chandler said.

Residents near the freeway should expect to hear construction noise and feel some vibration, and most construction will be done at night, according to a Caltrans report. The project is expected to be completed by 2014, but could take longer due to the delays, Chandler said.

“It’s going to change the look of the area, but it’s going to improve the I-5,” Chandler said.

The community meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Environmental Management Center, 780 Flower St. For more information about upcoming closures, call (855) 454-6335.

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