CalTrans is stabilizing the hillside and redoing the off-ramp. The project is called a “soldier pile wall,” which consists of steal I-beams driven into the ground for soil retention.
CalTrans will be driving 58 pilings 18-feet into the earth to create the wall, according to spokeswoman Roquel Johnson.
“It’s basically holding up the hillside,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the project didn’t happen because the area is unsafe, it’s just that funding – $1.7 million – was made available and CalTrans could improve the road and create the retaining wall.
Anyone who took the Benedict Drive exit could see that there was significant ground shifting and large cracks appeared in the roadway.
A few years ago, they paved over the cracks but the roadway broke up again, and the road slanted downhill in the left lane of the 2-lane off ramp.
Now, the exit will have just one lane, as some of the hillside is taken away and shored up. Construction runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and is expected to last six months and Johnson said they don’t expect to close the exit to traffic at any point.
A similar soldier pile wall at the 150th Avenue exit on I-580 was completed over the summer.