The county is scheduled to vote next Tuesday on a motion to alleviate traffic clogging up Interstate 5 during the holiday season, leading to extensive delays for the Castaic community.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th Supervisorial District, which encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley, motioned to direct county departments to collaborate with the California Department of Transportation, county Sheriff’s Department and county Fire Department to devise an emergency plan to alleviate the issue.
In her motion, Barger wrote that the highest priorities include identification of strategies to direct traffic and considerations of potential chokepoints related to highway construction.
The problem has been exacerbated due to ongoing construction in the area and resurfacing of the I-5, she said.
The planned collaboration would also include an analysis of high traffic volume and development of plans in anticipation of such periods, implemented in the event the I-5 and 210 freeways may be shut down for weather concerns.
The supervisors plan to vote on this motion at their Dec. 4 meeting, but Barger’s office has already begun soliciting feedback from the agencies.
“Since it wasn’t just a report back, they have to report on it next week,” said Barger spokesman Tony Bell. “But Caltrans is already on notice that the county wants to introduce a more extensive master plan, and this will formalize the board’s intention that an emergency plan needs to be in place as soon as possible.”
Caltrans spokesman Michael Comeaux said the department is aware of the “amazingly” higher than usual volume of traffic.
This past weekend saw the highest number of holiday travelers in the metropolitan Los Angeles area in the past 15 years, according to the motion.
A record 4.2 million local residents were projected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the Auto Club of Southern California.
The 15.8-mile stretch of I-5 under construction cuts through the Santa Clarita Valley and affects the stretch of The Old Road between Hasley Canyon Road and Parker Road that leads out of Castaic. The construction is part of a two-year, $171 million project to replace and repair concrete lanes on the freeway.