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Traffic Unplugged
Plans for One of Santa Clarita's Most Congested Sites Underway, but it'll be Worse Before it's Better
August, 2006 - Issue #22
Those of us who have been caught in the traffic jam around Six Flags Magic Mountain knows what a nightmare it can be. Cars are backed up in both directions and the dividing lines in the road can be somewhat screwy. It can be especially frustrating if you happen to be behind an out-of-towner who is just looking for the way up to Magic Mountain or is trying to get back on the freeway to go home.

Add to that early morning or evening rush hour when people are going to or getting off work in the Valencia Industrial Center and you've got yourself a major traffic jam.

Well, take heart Santa Clarita, there is some good news. The City of Santa Clarita, working in partnership with the County of Los Angeles, Caltrans, MTA/METRO and Newhall Land, will begin a multi-million dollar road project this month that will have a huge impact on the traffic surrounding the theme park.

The expansion of Magic Mountain Parkway and Interstate 5 will include widening and realignment of The Old Road, widening of Magic Mountain Parkway and reconstruction of freeway ramps. The Chevron Gas Station, located at the entrance of Six Flags Magic Mountain, will be moved up the mountain to make room for the wider streets.

Office space will be built in front of the park entrance and future visions include restaurants and retail stores leading into the theme park.

City of Santa Clarita Project Manager James Tong said the realignment of these roads will not only help with today's traffic, it will also prepare for future development. "Residents and business owners will be notified as to each stage of the project," Tong said.

"Be patient," Tong advises. "The roads will be much better."

There will be 11 stages to this construction project to help minimize traffic disruption. The goal is to maintain a minimum of two traffic lanes in each direction throughout the entire construction timeline, Tong said. The contractor, Security Paving, has 520 working days to complete construction, which is anticipated to begin this summer. Construction should be complete by fall 2008.

The total cost for this project including design, environmental work, property acquisition and construction is approximately $43.7 million. Funds for the project have been allocated by Bridge and Thoroughfare Districts administered by the city and the county. Newhall Land has advanced the project $33.2 million.

The improvements will also include several utility relocations that will be performed by several public and private companies including The Gas Company, Southern California Edison, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Los Angeles County Sanitation, Castaic Lake Water Agency and Valencia Water Company.

This is the biggest project the city of Santa Clarita has taken on even though the construction is taking place in the county. "It's a really big deal for us," said City Spokeswoman Gail Ortiz, "We were asked by Newhall Land to handle it as it has big impacts for the region. The city's Public Works Department does an excellent job of running its projects on time and on budget."

As more homes are built on the west side of town and more businesses come into both the Valencia Industrial Center and the Valencia Commerce Center, it's only natural that traffic will increase. While the two-year construction project may make our driving time a little longer and a little more hectic, the city and the county are being proactive in looking towards the future to try and make our time on the road a little more pleasant.

In the meantime, motorists are wise to take Tong's advice. During the two-year project, there will be several lane closures and changes; we all need to be aware of any new traffic patterns and be patient. Those interested in receiving updates of the project can log on to www.santa-clarita.com. Click on the "eNotify" icon and follow the prompts.

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For more information, contact the city's Public Works Department at 286-4172.
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