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Work About to Begin on Freeway Project

February 04, 1988|JAMES QUINN | Times Staff Writer

Work on the first of the Ventura Freeway widening projects will begin in two weeks, the California Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.

The bulk of the 16-month, $18.3-million project will consist of adding a fourth lane each way between Valley Circle and Topanga Canyon boulevards in Woodland Hills, a 2-mile stretch often called the "Woodland Hills bottleneck."

Included in the project is the addition of a fifth lane westbound between White Oak Avenue and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

The contractor, Tutor-Saliba Corp. of Sylmar, also will replace 3,200 feet of freeway pavement at Valley Circle interchange.

The first work to be undertaken will be traffic-signal modifications along Ventura Boulevard, said Jerry B. Baxter, Caltrans interim district director.

Throughout the project, all six lanes of the freeway will remain open during the day between Topanga and Valley Circle, said Jack Hallin, Caltrans project development chief for Southern California.

However, for a four-month period beginning this summer all six lanes will be moved to the same side of the median, which is expected to cause some slowing, he said.

Most of the work will be done between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., Hallin said.

Day projects such as construction of retaining walls will be screened from motorists to prevent the slowing of traffic, Caltrans officials said.

Caltrans also plans to designate bypass routes to encourage motorists bound for Warner Center and other nearby destinations to stay off the freeway within the bottleneck.

Early next year, work is expected to begin on a second widening project to expand the Ventura Freeway to five lanes each way from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to Universal City.

When both are complete, the freeway will be eight lanes from the Conejo Grade in Thousand Oaks to Topanga Canyon Boulevard and 10 lanes from Topanga to Universal City.

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