EL CENTRO — Caltrans celebrated two major milestones on the Interstate 8 Update Project in Imperial County June 11 with the completion of the first two segments and the beginning of work on the final two segments, according to a press release from the agency.
Once finished, these segments together will replace more than 48 miles of pavement on I-8 from State Route 111 in Imperial County to the Arizona border, extending the service life of the roadway and providing motorists with a smoother ride.
“The rehabilitation of this long stretch of I-8 is a win-win for the area,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty in the press release. “Not only will motorists notice a better ride, but they will have a longer-lasting roadway requiring less time and money to maintain.”
According to the press release, the $417.7 million I-8 update project is a major pavement rehabilitation project that will ultimately construct over 48 miles of pavement in Imperial County.
The old pavement is being replaced with Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement (CRCP), which is reinforced with steel bars placed within the concrete along the entire length of the roadway. The result is a continuous, smooth-riding surface capable of withstanding the heaviest traffic loads and the most adverse environmental conditions. This will extend the life span of the pavement as much as 70 years, far exceeding most road surfaces, the release stated.
Work began recently on the final two segments and is expected to be completed in 2019. Segment 4 is approximately 15 miles and divided into two smaller sections, the first section begins just west of State Route 111 to just west of Anderholt Road, and the second section begins just east of East Highline Canal Bridge to just west of the SR 98/I-8 separation. Segment 5, approximately seven miles, begins west of Ogilby Road to just west of SR-186, explained the release.
The first two completed sections—Segment 1, approximately 9.5 miles beginning west of Anderholt Road to east of the East Highline Canal Bridge, and Segment 2, approximately 9.5 miles from State Route 98/I-8 separation to just east of the All American Canal —began construction in 2016. Construction continues on the 6.8 mile long Segment 3 which is west of State Route 186 to just east of the Fourth Avenue overcrossing. Completion on Segment 3 is anticipated within a year, said the release.
Approximately eight miles of Evan Hewes Highway, a county road, was also repaved and used as a crossover route during construction. The benefit of using Evan Hewes Highway as a crossover enabled two lanes of westbound traffic to be open instead of one, while expediting construction, and providing the county with a newly-paved road.
Funding for the project is provided by the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP).
As construction continues, Caltrans reminded drivers to “Be Work Zone Alert” and to slow when nearing highway work zones.