Ground broken on $140M I-5 upgrade project

PACOIMA, Calif. The lanes will help relieve congestion on a 3.4-mile stretch of Interstate 5 between the 118 and 170 state routes, where some 300,000 vehicles travel daily.

Commuter Ana Campos spends an hour in her car going from Granada Hills to Hollywood. But eventually, she and a co-worker will be able to jump in a carpool lane between to speed up their commute.

"I think anytime we do something to alleviate traffic and congestion and encourage multiple people in a car it's always a good thing," Campos said.

Caltrans officially broke ground to add high-occupancy vehicle lanes, repair pavement, realign ramps and add sound walls along the stretch.

Funding from the /*American Recovery and Reinvestment Act*/, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority and voter-approved Propositions 1B and C will pay for the $140 million project.

"This stretch of I-5 is particularly important because it connects major employment centers in Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley with the greater Los Angeles area," said Roy Fisher with Caltrans.

People who live in the Antelope Valley will be able to stay in the HOV lanes on the 14 freeway and connect to the 5 freeway to the 170 freeway without having to exit the carpool lanes.

The project aims to ease pollution and give drivers shave minutes off the amount of time they are stuck in traffic.

"They can have that time back to spend with themselves, with their families, with their kids, doing whatever they want to do," said Los Angeles County Supervisor /*Zev Yaroslavsky*/. "This is a huge quality of life issue."

To minimize impact on traffic, most of the work will be done at night. It is expected to take about five years to complete.

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