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$18.3 Million for Woodland Hills Project : Sylmar Firm Has Freeway Low Bid

December 18, 1987|JAMES QUINN | Times Staff Writer

A Sylmar contractor was low bidder Thursday on the first of the Ventura Freeway widening projects--elimination of the so-called "Woodland Hills bottleneck"--the state Department of Transportation announced.

The $18.3-million bid by Tutor-Saliba Corp. was 18% above Caltrans' estimate for expanding and resurfacing the Ventura Freeway in Woodland Hills, but "still seems to be within the acceptable range," said Jack Hallin, Caltrans project development chief for Southern California.

If Tutor-Saliba's bid is accepted and a contract is signed, work could begin early in January, he said.

Other bids were $18.4 million by Kasler Corp. and $18.8 million by Steve P. Rados.

Adding a Fourth Lane

The bulk of the 17-month project will be adding a fourth lane in each direction between Topanga Canyon and Valley Circle boulevards. At both ends of the two-mile-long bottleneck between the two boulevards, the freeway already is four lanes each way.

Also included in the project is addition of a fifth lane westbound between White Oak Avenue and Topanga, and replacement of scattered segments of broken pavement, most notably on bumpy Chalk Hill, immediately east of Winnetka Avenue.

The contractor will also replace 3,200 feet of pavement at the Valley Circle interchange.

All work on the pavement will be done in the evening or at night, Caltrans officials say, and day projects--such as retaining walls and sound walls--will be screened from motorists.

Within the bottleneck, three lanes in each direction will be open at all times. However, all six lanes will be on the same side of the median for about four months, Caltrans officials say, almost certainly causing some slowing of traffic.

Several ramps will also be closed for up to eight months at a time, they say.

To ease congestion, the contractor will be required to pave a temporary frontage road on the north side of the freeway west of Valley Circle.

The frontage road will be part of an elaborate set of suggested bypass routes aimed at persuading all motorists who are not passing through the area to stay off the freeway within the bottleneck.

To further ease congestion, Caltrans plans to erect changeable message signs, build park-and-ride lots west of the construction and subsidize van pools and express bus service.

In about a year, Caltrans is scheduled to sign a contract for widening the remainder of the freeway to five lanes each way between Topanga and the Hollywood Freeway near Universal City.

That job, expected to cost $22 million, is expected to be completed in March, 1990.

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