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West Valley Focus

CALABASAS : Work Under Way on Freeway Interchange

March 02, 1994|KURT PITZER

After two decades of study and delays, a $15-million renovation of a crowded, 1950s-era interchange between the Ventura Freeway and Valley Circle Boulevard is under way.

The expansion of two freeway off-ramps and an overpass near Old Calabasas will help ease the often-congested interchange, said Jim McAllister, Caltrans engineer for the project.

"The way the area has been built up, there is a lot of traffic on this interchange," McAllister said. "And it looks like there's going to be a lot more."

The project is scheduled to include the alteration of ramps on both sides of the freeway and the expansion of the Valley Circle overpass to include five traffic lanes, two five-foot bike lanes and a 10-foot equestrian pathway. Groundwork began in January, and the job is expected to be complete by October, 1995, McAllister said.

The renovation also will require the removal of several oak trees near the historic Leonis Adobe. To preserve the rustic appeal of the area as much as possible, crews will install sound walls and plant eight new oaks, according to a Caltrans report.

The improvements were the subject of 20 years of study and four years of compromises between Caltrans and local residents, who had been concerned that the expanded interchange could wreck the picturesque nature of the city's historic core.

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