The Old Road is designated in the Los Angeles County Preliminary Draft Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan as a 6-lane major highway. However, the section in question is only improved to 4-lanes. The Old Road is fully improved to 6-lanes from Stevenson Ranch Parkway, approximately 2 miles south of the project, to the southern terminus of the project. The proposed project would add 2 more miles of widening and improvements along The Old Road and would complete the most heavily travelled remaining section of The Old Road.
The proposed project is located on The Old Road from approximately 700 feet north of Magic Mountain Parkway to Turnberry Lane, Henry Mayo Drive from The Old Road to the State Route 126 hook ramps, and Rye Canyon Road between The Old Road and Avenue Stanford, near the unincorporated Castaic Junction area of the County of Los Angeles, west of the City of Santa Clarita.
EnvISIon Quality of Life
The proposed project scored the most points (60 out of a possible 181) in the Quality of Life category. The widening of the road from 4 lanes to 6 lanes greatly increases vehicular mobility in the area and decreases traffic congestion. The proposed bicycle lanes on both the northbound and southbound sides of The Old Road also encourage alternative modes of transportation and eases traffic congestion. The installation of a multi-purpose trail to connect The Old Road to the existing City of Santa Clarita trail (that currently ends below the Interstate 5 freeway) also contributes to an improved quality of life. Additionally, key stakeholders, affected agencies, and the community have either been or will be engaged to solicit input on the project design.
The project scored 34 out of a possible 121 points in the Leadership category. At an organizational level, sustainability is one of the Values in the Department's strategic plan. At a project team level, the team is committed to evaluating sustainability through the Envision rating system; however there is no clear direction or indication yet on whether funding managers are willing to fund project enhancements to achieve increased sustainability. There is also plenty of opportunity for stakeholder feedback and involvement. Coordination meetings with affected private and public agencies, such as the City of Santa Clarita, Caltrans, the County Sanitation District, and Newhall Land, are taking place. Additionally an environmental document will be prepared for public review and community meetings will be held.
EnvISIon Resources Allocation
The project scored 20 out of a possible 151 points in the Resource Allocation category. A life cycle energy assessment will not be conducted as part of the project design, so we were unable to obtain points associated with reducing the net embodied energy of the project. Also, our project specifications typically do not include a requirement for obtaining materials and equipment from suppliers who implement sustainable practices. The use of recycled or regional materials to minimize transportation costs and impacts will also not be strict requirement in the project specifications. Also, we were unable to obtain points for commissioning an energy system because there is no energy systems associated with the project. We were able to obtain points for protecting fresh water availability because the project requires minimal usage of freshwater and bio-swales will be constructed where appropriate to capture runoff and recharge the local groundwater.
EnvISIon Natural World
The project scored 34 out of a possible 177 points in the Natural World category. Three items were excluded in our rating because they did not apply to the project. These were the items associated with farmland, adverse geology, and development on steep slopes. Because the project involves the demolition and construction of new bridge piers in the Santa Clara River the project does not qualify for any points associated with protecting prime habitat or protecting wetlands. Additionally, a portion of the road widening is located within a designated floodplain and will reduce infiltration. The project did score some points associated with preserving greenfields because 75 percent of the project is located within the road right-of-way, which is designated for roadway purposes.
EnvISIon Climate and Risk
The project scored the least points (16 out of a possible 122) in the Climate and Risk category. This is mainly due to the fact that the rating system requires certain studies to qualify for the points. These studies include a carbon life cycle analysis to estimate greenhouse gas emissions and a climate impact assessment to assess climate threat. These studies are typically not conducted for a road widening or bridge replacement project such as this one. Climate change, such as a change in intensity of a 50-year storm, was also not considered in our design, so the project did not receive points associated with preparing for long term adaptability. Additionally, the widening of The Old Road also increases the area of pavement and the associated heat island effect.
EnvISIon Overall Rating