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Traffic relief ahead

January 19, 2002

Laura Sturza

MEDIA DISTRICT NORTH -- After 10 years of discussion between the city

and Caltrans, Burbank drivers are closer to getting a major reprieve in

congestion from Empire Avenue to other parts of the city.

It started with a simple idea.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could join San Fernando Boulevard with

Empire Avenue?," said Greg Herrmann, the city's assistant community

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development director for transportation.

The plan has three parts, which will be discussed at a public meeting

next week. The proposed changes will not involve residential relocations,

Caltrans officials said.

One part of the project is to extend Empire Avenue beneath the

railroad tracks to connect with San Fernando Boulevard. The second is to

relocate the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway onramp to Empire Avenue.

The ramp is a quarter-mile north and cannot be accessed from Empire

Avenue.

Additionally, Caltrans will add a carpool lane in each direction of

the Golden State Freeway between the Ventura (134) and the Ronald Reagan

(118) freeways.

"It's an improvement that we've been working on with Caltrans for

about 10 years and we're getting very close," Herrmann said. "There's a

lot of engineering and design work that needs to be done."

Construction is expected to start at the end of 2004 and completed by

the end of 2006.

The projected cost is about $270 million, though Herrmann said the

exact figures and allocation of funding sources are still being

negotiated. Money will come from federal, state and city sources.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Public meeting to discuss city/Caltrans project for area around

Empire Avenue and the Golden State (5) Freeway.

WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

WHERE: George Washington Elementary School at 2322 N. Lincoln St.

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