The Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors recently approved a $679.4 million budget for the I-5 North County Enhancement Project in Santa Clarita Valley.

The project will soon move into the construction phase. It is designed to make driving on I-5 safer and make it easier for truck and passenger vehicles to drive between Santa Clarita and Castaic with the addition of one HOV lane in each direction.

Truck lanes will see a two-mile extension, seven bridges will be widened or upgraded, including the replacement of the Weldon Canyon Bridge.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the project is one of the highest priorities for North Los Angeles County.

“I’m happy to see these critical mobility improvements moving forward and I thank our local Santa Clarita Valley stakeholders who have advocated for these enhancements,” said Barger. “The I-5 is the backbone for trade in the western U.S. and our federal and state partners recognize its importance.”

Meanwhile, the LA Metro Board also approved a $170.3 million light rail vehicle overhaul contract with Kinkisharyo for four and half years. Barger said that the contract will ensure more than 100 jobs will remain in the Antelope Valley at Kinkisharyo’s plant in Palmdale.

“With all the challenges workers have endured over the past year, this is great news for the City of Palmdale, the greater Antelope Valley and Los Angeles County,” Barger added.