HOV lanes nearing finish
PALMDALE – Antelope Valley Freeway car-pool lanes under construction south of Palmdale are expected to be ready for traffic in a few weeks, Caltrans says. Construction crews are nearing the end of the $41 million project, which is adding a lane in each direction for 6.2 miles of the freeway just south of Palmdale. The project is on budget and coming in ahead of schedule by a few months. “We are looking to open it by the end of next month,” said Judy Gish, a spokeswomen for the California Department of Transportation. The new high-occupancy-vehicle lanes will run from Avenue P-8 in Palmdale to Mountain Springs Road, where the existing car-pool lanes end just south of the Pearblossom Highway interchange. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmates“What this means is the bottleneck will hopefully ease,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. “That’s going to bring relief.” When the lanes are completed, motorists will be able to travel 35.9 miles of car-pool lanes from Palmdale to the Interstate 5 interchange south of Santa Clarita. The lane construction started in 1996 in Canyon Country. Eventually, the car-pool lanes will connect with car-pool lanes on Interstate 5. Antelope Valley officials would like to see the car-pool lanes extended north to Avenue L. “As the system starts interconnecting, you’ll see movement of both cars and goods,” Ledford said. The car-pool lane project had a torturous path to getting started in March 2005. It was originally expected to start in 2003 at a cost of less than $32 million, but in 2003, the project was among some 140 dropped in a budget-cutting move. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board later reinstated the project, but state transportation officials then twice turned down a proposal to finance the work with bonds. MTA leaders in 2004 financed the work by shifting away money earmarked for other highway projects that weren’t ready for construction. The Antelope Valley Freeway’s last new section of car-pool lanes was completed between Escondido Canyon Road and Pearblossom Highway, a distance of 10.5 miles, in 2002. That work lasted two years and cost $32.9 million, officials said. Car-pool lanes are on 380 miles of Los Angeles County freeways and are planned on 70 more within five years. Officials say they encourage motorists to stop driving alone and also provide express lanes for public buses. On the Antelope Valley Freeway, the car-pool lanes are open to motorists driving alone outside rush hours, under legislation authored by state Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, when he was an assemblyman. [email protected] (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!