Portion of Sierra Highway undergoing lane closures may soon see city takeover

Various road closures are set to impact Sierra Highway over the next month. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Residents driving along Sierra Highway between Newhall Avenue and Friendly Valley Parkway may notice an unusual sign. There is a 14U sign, marking a four-mile section of the state route maintained by the California Department of Transportation.

This marks a portion of Sierra Highway that can be transferred from Caltrans to the city of Santa Clarita, upon an agreement between the city and Caltrans, without requiring further state legislative action.

This transition of control from state to city was originally penned by Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita. The assemblyman introduced a bill in 2017 that would allow the city to perform its own maintenance if it took up the agreement with the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation, Assembly Bill 1172, into law in September 2017.

Ever since, the city of Santa Clarita has been in talks with Caltrans to turn this portion of Sierra Highway to the city, Lujan said. But the city hasn’t taken over the road yet until repairs can be done.

“Before this can occur, the city requires the portion of the roadway be brought up to city standards,” Lujan said. Those standards include improving the road’s grading, slope and environmental factors, she said.

The city only owns certain portions of Sierra Highway, and most of it is maintained by Caltrans, she said.

Acosta said AB 1172’s passing was an affirmation of his desire to give local control to officials in his district.

“This will ensure the city is able to maintain this section of highway, which means a smoother ride for folks in our valley,” he said in October 2017.

Sierra Highway, once part of State Route 14, passes between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road. Caltrans is performing maintenance on the road this week.

Caltrans has had multiple construction projects underway for months. Lane closures this week along Sierra Highway are for a $2.4 million Caltrans road repair project that will include dig-outs, road resurfacing and striping set for multiple locations, including on the road that the city is discussing with Caltrans.

Other areas include sections of Newhall Avenue to Dockweiler Drive, Dockweiler Drive to Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road.

Michael Comeaux, public information officer with Caltrans District 7, said closures are set to occur at multiple locations, but not all at once. Northbound closures started Monday and are scheduled to take place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and southbound closures between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the rest of the week.

Sierra Highway, between Friendly Valley Parkway and Golden Valley Road, will have one lane open to allow through access, with flaggers on the street. Comeaux said there will be no full closure in this area due to two residential communities having access in and out via Sierra Highway only. Instead, the northbound lane will remain open when southbound work is being done and vice versa.

The Caltrans project is estimated to last until late October, Comeaux said.


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