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Caltrans Lists Its Top Southern California Projects in 2013

Everyone has a list of top stories at year-end. Here's what Caltrans considers the biggest transportation news in Southern California.

Westbound motorists on Interstate 10, looking east from Main Street in Cabazon, Calif., Sunday Dec. 1, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
Westbound motorists on Interstate 10, looking east from Main Street in Cabazon, Calif., Sunday Dec. 1, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.

Mobility is central to our Southern California lifestyle, so a list of the top highway and related transportation projects in 2013 is essential to Patch's year-end review of the news.

Caltrans made nearly $2.5 billion of improvements to the state highway system in the year, but considers these four projects – one of which isn't even a highway – to be the most important in Southern California:

1. San Diego  Otay Mesa East Port of Entry

Caltrans recently broke ground on the first of three segments of the $717 million State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project at the Mexican border. This will add a third port of entry in the San Diego area. A new four-lane highway will connect State Route 905 to the border, reducing wait times for commercial trucks and other vehicles at both Otay Mesa and San Ysidro.

2. Los Angeles – Interstate 5/State Route 14 Carpool Connector

Caltrans broke ground on four major highway widening projects on Interstate 5 in 2013 as part of a $1.8 billion effort that will expand this crucial California commerce corridor from six to ten lanes, including a carpool lane in each direction. The new I-5/SR-14 carpool connector in Slymar reduced travel time for Los Angeles area motorists who can now transition between I-5 and SR-14 without leaving the carpool lane. 

3. Los Angeles – Interstate 5/State Route 2 Tanker Fire Repair

Caltrans worked around the clock to shore up the tunnel at the I-5/SR-2 interchange north of downtown Los Angeles in July after a tanker fire caused extensive damage to pavement, walls, support columns, drainage and lighting. Caltrans proceeded with $16.5 million worth of repairs and improvements to fix the damage and increase safety while improving visibility with bright paint and LED lights.

4. Inland Empire – Colton Crossing Project

Caltrans and its partners delivered this rail improvement in Colton south of Interstate 10 eight months earlier than its scheduled 2014 completion and $109 million below the estimated $202 million cost. The concrete overpass speeds up cargo and cuts diesel emissions from waiting trains. The project will save $241 million in travel time and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons of CO2 equivalent annually.

Here's a link to all of Caltrans' top 2013 projects.

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