Commuters who drive on Interstate 5 today are being urged by Caltrans officials to use alternative routes even though the southbound lanes could reopen at 5 a.m. and the northbound lanes could reopen as early as this afternoon.
"It would make the commute easier for everybody," said Caltrans spokeswoman Deborah Harris.
An even better plan, officials said, would be to use Metrolink trains.
From southbound I-5, exit at Calgrove Boulevard; continue south to The Old Road, which becomes San Fernando Road.
Continue on San Fernando Road to Sepulveda Boulevard; continue south on Sepulveda Boulevard to the southbound I-5 onramp at Roxford Street.
Northbound motorists on I-5 can try to use reopened northbound truck lanes or take the following alternative route:
Transition to northbound Antelope Valley Freeway (California 14), proceed to westbound California 138 and reconnect with the northbound I-5 near Gorman. Harris said Caltrans hopes to reopen the main lanes of the northbound I-5 this afternoon, but that is "not 100% for sure."
Metrolink will put additional trains in service today from the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita to the San Fernando Valley and downtown Los Angeles.
Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell strongly urged commuters in the Santa Clarita area and Newhall Pass areas to take advantage of the extra rail service, special park-and-ride lots and shuttle buses.
Tyrrell said workers should consider telecommuting or simply staying home today, if possible. She urged commuters to ask themselves: "Do they really need to make this trip?"
Additional cars will be added to trains leaving Lancaster beginning in the predawn hours today. Extra trains will operate at midday.
The trains will stop at three stations in the Santa Clarita area. Special shuttle buses will run from emergency park-and-ride lots at Six Flags Magic Mountain and other points in Santa Clarita.
In the afternoon and evening commute periods, Metrolink will operate additional trains from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley, if necessary.
That decision will be based on how many passengers take the trains in the morning.
"We're going to do our best," Tyrrell said. "We're prepared to use our system to the max."
Santa Clarita Transit will open special park-and-ride lots at the following locations:
Hart Park, Saugus Speedway, Lots A1, A2 and A3 at Magic Mountain, and 6th Street and San Fernando Road.
Shuttle buses will carry passengers from those locations to Metrolink train stations.
More information can be found at:
* Metrolink's website: www.metrolinktrains.com
* The commuter rail system: (800) 371-5465. A special phone line is available for the speech- or hearing-impaired: (800) 698-4TDD.
* The city of Santa Clarita's website: www.santa-clarita.com
* The California Highway Patrol's website: www.chp.ca.gov/
* The Caltrans website: www.dot.ca.gov/dist07