Commuters in the eastern Santa Clarita Valley will have a smoother freeway drive thanks to a $6.5 million project to replace pavement on the Antelope Valley Freeway. Caltrans said Tuesday they will start construction late next month on a 30-mile stretch of the freeway from the Santa Clara River bridge in Canyon Country to the Technology Drive overpass in Palmdale. Crews will be repairing and replacing pavement surface treatments on lanes, ramps and highway shoulders. “This is a key commuter and truck corridor, and this project will preserve and increase life of pavement, enhancing the driving experience for tens of thousands of drivers who come into the greater Los Angeles area from the Antelope Valley,” said Caltrans District 7 Public Information Officer Tim Weisberg. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Part of the section that will be resurfaced is the far right lane and shoulder on the southbound side between Sand Canyon Road and the river bridge that is currently littered with potholes. Last summer, Caltrans removed debris from hillsides along the northbound side of the freeway near Placerita Canyon Road. Officials said the debris included erosion and loosened rock caused by storms the previous winter. In August, Caltrans broke ground on a $171 million, two-year project to repair nearly 16 miles of the Golden State Freeway from the intersection with the 14 Freeway to a mile and a half north of Lake Hughes Road. Officials said the freeway’s concrete is being replaced and will last another 40 to 50 years once completed.