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.