Burbank, Calif. — Caltrans broke ground on the $355 million Interstate 5 Empire Project, which will add more than four miles of new carpool lanes on I-5, provide motorists easier access to Bob Hope Airport, and elevate railroad tracks to eliminate vehicle collisions with trains.

“Caltrans is investing almost $3 billion in 17 projects to make driving less stressful and safer along Interstate 5 in Los Angeles County,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We’re repairing the highways and bridges you drive on. We’re building carpool lanes to reduce congestion and save fuel. And, every one of these projects is an economic driver that provides jobs.”

The I-5 Empire Project will add 2.2 miles of carpool lanes in each direction between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street; construct a new interchange at Empire Avenue; and reconstruct the Burbank Boulevard overcrossing. Caltrans will also raise the railroad tracks adjacent to Empire Avenue and at Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Boulevard to eliminate train-vehicle collisions and delays.

“The I-5/Empire Project will make significant improvements to freeway access and efficiency,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen. “Motorists will no longer be forced to take a longer route to reach their destination, and the net result will be less congestion on the freeway and local streets.”

“Metro’s partnership with Caltrans continues to provide motorists greater mobility while adding highly skilled construction jobs. This project alone will have thousands of workers constructing new carpool lanes between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, building the new Empire Avenue interchange and rebuilding the Burbank Boulevard interchange to keep vehicles and goods moving through this section of I-5, which is of vital importance to our economy,” said Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Director Ara Najarian.

Metro is providing $264 million in funding for the $355 million project. The remaining funding comes from the state, including $78 million from Proposition 1B, a 2006 voter approved transportation bond. To date, more than $17 billion in Proposition 1B funds have been put to work statewide for transportation purposes.

The I-5 Empire Project is scheduled to be completed in March 2018.