Officials broke ground Wednesday on a construction project set to enhance Interstate 5 from the Newhall Pass to Castaic over the next few years.
While the $679 million project has been in the works for more than a decade, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, said its groundbreaking couldn’t have come at a better time, as the need has only grown since then.
“The I-5 is the backbone of commerce in the western United States. It is a critical artery for the movement of goods from the Canadian border, in Washington, through Oregon and all the way down California to the Mexico border,” said Barger, who is also on the Metro board of directors. “As we witness the ongoing supply chain disruption due to the pandemic, it’s projects like this one that will make sure critical goods can move through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and on to destinations in our region and throughout the nation more efficiently.”
The 14-mile project of I-5 between Highway 14 and Parker Road in Castaic is set to not only extend truck lanes, but also add a high occupancy vehicle (HOV)/carpool lane in each direction along I-5, as well as sound walls in some areas, among other improvements.
This is an enhancement project to the current I-5, not a new freeway build, noted Ara Najarian, vice chair of the Metro board of directors, adding that it’s set to address the current congestion and deficiencies to improve the efficiency and safe operation of the I-5.
“We will not be adding any more mixed-flow lanes as part of this project, and… the project will generally be within the existing freeway right of way and will not have any property impacts,” Najarian added.
A major undertaking, the project will bring significant change to not just SCV residents, but those traveling through the area, Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda said.
The plan is designed to decrease the amount of traffic congestion, as well as accommodate future traffic should Santa Clarita’s population increase — as it is projected to do by more than 25,000 people by 2035.
Miranda asked drivers to demonstrate patience during the construction process, which began in November and is expected to continue with intermittent lane closures until the project is set to be completed in November 2026.
Construction site preparation along the I-5 between the Highway 14 interchange and Lyons Avenue/Pico Canyon Road is set to continue to occur nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until Dec. 10.
For more information, visit metro.net/projects/i-5-enhancements.