San Gabriel Valley drivers are expected to be rocked today by the construction that began last night on the I-210 freeway. With the closures set to last at least 126 hours, drivers should prepare for severe delays for the next five days, Caltrans reports.
While the impact of closing one of the main arteries in and out of Los Angeles is unknown in its reach, fears are mounting that the 5-day continuous closure could lead to “carmageddon,” with tangled freeways and side streets lasting from Thursday to Tuesday.
Aging Bridge Needs Repairs
Workers actually began at 11 p.m. last night replacing two hinges that lock the bridge in place, along with giving the bridge a higher concrete median, new steel rebar and stronger set concrete on two of two, 20-feet-by-90-feet bridge decks along the westbound I-210 freeway stretch between the I-605 on-ramp and Irwindale Avenue.
This is the first of a set of repair periods, lasting until 5 a.m. Tuesday, July 26. The
San Gabriel River Bridge is some 50 years old and while being safe to drive over, certain parts of the bridge have been long overdue for improvements.
“The bridge essentially is 811-feet-long,” structural manager Qunh Nguyn told ABC7. “The challenge in this project is not just the upgrade of the hinges — two hinges — hinge four and six, but we have to do it for the first time in California.”
Eastbound Side Next
The second closure will be happening on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 11 p.m. through Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 5 a.m, when work on the eastbound side of the 210 at the 605 and Irwindale Avenue will take place.
All westbound lanes will be closed, and the eastbound side of the freeway will be pared down to three lanes going in both directions. Because of this, Caltrans and CHP are encouraging commuters to take the I-10 or SR-60 freeways as alternate routes — though severe delays should still be expected — take public transportation or try to work from home.
City streets will remain open, though Caltrans recommends avoiding them due to the higher traffic volume.
On & Off Ramps Closing, Too
In addition to the 1.3-mile stretch of construction, the on-and off-ramps at Irwindale and the I-210 to I-605 connectors will also be shut down, as well as the Mt. Olive on-ramp to the 210 East.
Bottlenecked traffic is expected to affect westbound lanes going as far as Glendora and San Dimas, with eastbound lanes in Pasadena and possibly the I-210 in east San Fernando Valley possibly getting hit with traffic setbacks as well, as reported by The Sun.
‘Stay Away From Area’
Caltrans spokesperson Eric Menjivar says the closures will also impact the East Side San Gabriel River Bike Trail and West Side San Gabriel River Trail, though measures are being taken to ensure the trails remain open.
Some of those measures include working on the railing and overhang of the bridge at nighttime so that the part of the trail under the bridge will still be accessible, while protective fencing will go up along the San Gabriel River Trail so that it can fully remain open.
Temporary detours will also be put in place for bike riders who don’t want to use the trail under the scaffolding.
“This is a major operation. Stay away from the area,” Menjivar said.
Cervanté Pope can be reached at email@example.com