$250M project aims to widen The Old Road near Grapevine to alleviate traffic congestion during 5 Freeway closures

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CASTAIC, Calif. (KABC) — A $250 million project to widen The Old Road is set to begin soon. “The Old Road” runs parallel to the 5 Freeway, and is used for emergency freeway detours and local traffic.

Many residents in the Santa Clarita Valley say it’s been a long time coming.

“When there’s a lot of traffic on the freeway, The Old Road gets pretty backed up too,” said resident Jerry Sheggrud, who wants to see the road widened.

“I think it should be widened too because then we have more space for cars to go through when the freeway is closed,” said Jami Sheggrud.

People are diverted to The Old Road whenever the 5 Freeway near the Grapevine is shut down, causing traffic to go up on that road. When that happens, it shuts the entire community down and some residents are sick of it. Widening appears to be the only solution but it will cost millions of dollars.

“Los Angeles County has been gearing up to make big improvements to The Old Road. It’s a major highway and an artery that runs through the Santa Clarita Valley,” said L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Barger says the county is close to securing $250 million to break ground on major improvements to The Old Road including adding more lanes.

“We’ve seen time and time again when there have been accidents on the 5 Freeway, that is really the only way in and out of Castaic coming down to the L.A. area,” Barger said.

The Old Road runs parallel to the very busy 5 Freeway from the bottom of the Grapevine in Castaic through the Newhall Pass.

Supervisor Barger says that given the 5 Freeway is such a major hub, when disaster strikes on the highway The Old Road must be equipped to handle the massive detours needed to keep traffic flowing in the area.

“I’m told that it’s one of the busiest highways in the nation and a critical route for both people and freight, so there’s no question in my mind that this project merits the funding that we’ve gotten and the funding that we’re going to get,” Barger said.

Supervisor Barger says if all goes according to plan, the project could begin by the end of 2024 but there’s one potential hiccup.

“My concern is quite frankly that knowing that the state is projecting a $74 billion dollar deficit, that that project is going to be put on hold,” said Barger.

Barger added that she will be asking the U.S. Department of Transportation for additional funding to hopefully prevent any delays on the project.

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