After almost a week of closures forcing drivers to reroute their usual commutes, the westbound I-210 freeway is set to reopen on schedule at 5 a.m. Tuesday, though it will be fully closed overnight, Caltrans stated Monday.
The 126-hour shutdown started last Wednesday night due to the construction of the San Gabriel Bridge. While the impact of closing one of the main arteries in and out of Los Angeles was initially unknown in its reach, the continuous closures ran relatively smoothly, leading workers to complete the project as scheduled.
Aging Bridge Needs Repairs
The project began with workers 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 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, with the other side of the freeway slated for construction starting next month. 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 — or 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. However, 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 it can fully remain open.
Temporary detours will also be placed 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 firstname.lastname@example.org