Project Overview – New Lane, Added Capacity, Improved Driving Conditions
OCTA and Caltrans are working together to add a new, four-mile westbound general-purpose lane to State Route 91 between State Route 57 and Interstate 5. The new westbound lane will increase capacity, improve driving operations and relieve traffic congestion along this key stretch of westbound SR-91.
On May 1, 2013, OCTA and Caltrans broke ground on this third in a series of 91 freeway improvement projects. Anaheim-based C.C. Myers, Inc., was awarded the construction contract after submitting the lowest, responsive bid earlier this year. Construction is expected to take place in two phases and will last approximately two (2) years, with completion estimated for late 2015. In addition to building a new westbound general-purpose lane, construction crews will also:
- Widen six bridges
- Realign nine ramps
- Erect new signage and safety barriers
- Re-stripe and standardize lanes and shoulders within the project limits
Setting the Stage
In May, June and July 2013, construction crews began setting the stage for major construction activities. In addition to “clearing and grubbing” several gore areas, crews installed concrete safety barriers along the mainline and several on and off-ramps to carve out a safe area to perform a variety of work, including, but not limited to, electrical, structural and/or roadway work. During this mobilization period, crews also erected informational and directional signage to guide motorists through the project area.
As part of the project, construction crews are widening six bridges in the westbound direction, as well as constructing and/or repositioning numerous retaining and/or sound walls.
Between August and October, construction crews successfully demolished the edge of five of six westbound overpasses, including at State College Boulevard, Acacia Street, Raymond Avenue, Euclid Street and Brookhurst Road.
In an effort to maximize safety and minimize traffic impacts, this demolition work took place during the night and required the closure of the aforementioned streets at the freeway from approximately 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In most cases, the work took between 2 – 3 nights to complete. With the demolition work now finished, crews will soon begin bridge widening activities, including constructing piles, bents and abutments.
In addition to bridge work, crews have also demolished several walls, including at Acacia Street, adjacent to Houston Avenue between Euclid Street and Brookhurst Road, and along the westbound 91 on-ramp at Brookhurst Road. The purpose of demolishing these and other walls is to make room for the new lane and emergency shoulder by constructing a new wall – of equal or greater height - approximately twelve (12) feet to the north. More than 10 retaining and/or sound walls will be built between State College Boulevard and Brookhurst Road as part of this project.
For the past few months, construction crews have also been working on reconstructing a limited section of the Houston Channel between Euclid Street and Brookhurst Road. Owned and operated by the Orange County Flood Control District (OCFCD), the Houston Channel is a storm drain facility that runs above ground along the northern side of the 91 Freeway. To make room for the new lane and shoulder, crews have been reconstructing a limited portion of the channel underground. This work is expected to be completed by the end of the year, if not sonner. When finished, this portion of the channel will be located underground and will have the carrying capacity required by the OCFCD.
The Road Ahead
Between now and the end of 2013, construction crews are expected to undertake bridge widening work at State College Boulevard, Euclid Street and Brookhurst Road. The majority of this work will take place behind k-rails. While local traffic will be able to travel north and southbound under the bridges during this work, some short-term closures of street lanes at the freeway will be necessary to provide for the safety of commuters and crews alike. In most cases, crews are expected to conduct bridge widening activities from west to east. Beyond this bridge work, crews are also expected to begin roadway work at select locations.
Nine-Day Ramp Closures – To Be Announced
As part of the project, there will be three nine-day ramp closures. While the dates of these closures have not been finalized, the following ramps will be closed for nine-days: 1) westbound State College Boulevard off-ramp; 2) the westbound Raymond Avenue off-ramp; and 3) the westbound Brookhurst Street on-ramp. These closures are necessary to provide for the safety of commuters and crews alike during ramp realignment work. These closures will not happen concurrently.
No Full-Freeway or Ramp Closures During Peak Hours*
It is also important to note that this project will not require lane or full freeway closures during peak hours, unless an urgency or emergency arises. Also, the number of general-purpose lanes within the project limits will remain the same before and during construction. However, existing auxiliary and emergency shoulders have been eliminated to provide crews the safety and space required to perform lane, shoulder and bridge work.
The 91 Outreach Team is available to make a presentation to your neighborhood, organization or business. Feel free to contact us with your request, questions or comments by email, phone or social media. You can also stay informed by visiting this page on a recurring basis, joining the project email list, going to the project map at www.octa.net/91detourmap or following @91fwy on Twitter.
For more information, please contact Fernando Chavarria at email@example.com, (714) 560-5306 or on Twitter @91fwy.