Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 26th, to officially kick off the Sepulveda Boulevard Improvement Project.

The $11.6-million Sepulveda improvement project, which will include sidewalk work, median installation, sidewalk and median landscaping, installation of right-turn lanes at strategic locations and tree plantings, is expected to relieve traffic congestion and beautify the major corridor, Rosendahl said.

Several city officials, including former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, Los Angeles city engineer Gary Lee Moore and city Department of Transportation general manager Gloria Jeff, are scheduled to attend the groundbreaking, at 9149 S. Sepulveda Blvd., near 92nd Street, in Westchester.

Rosendahl said he worked closely with the city Bureau of Engineering, Bureau of Street Services, Department of Transportation and the community to ensure that the project would provide necessary street improvements while addressing the concerns of the community.

“I am pleased to announce that we are breaking ground on this important project,” Rosendahl said. “This project will not only improve traffic flow and beautify the Sepulveda corridor, but also improve the overall quality of life for residents, business owners and commuters.”

The street improvement project will stretch along Sepulveda Boulevard from the Howard Hughes Parkway on the north to Lincoln Boulevard on the south, Moore said.

“The L.A. Department of Transportation is pleased to be one of the Westchester community’s partners in addressing traffic solutions on Sepulveda Boulevard,” Jeff said. “This project will help to keep moving Los Angeles forward.”

The Department of Transportation presented the original project scope to Westchester residents in 2001 at a town hall meeting.

In response to public opposition at the meeting, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion declaring the council’s opposition to any efforts to widen Sepulveda Boulevard and directed the Department of Transportation to immediately halt its plans to improve Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester.

The department, working with then-Councilwoman Galanter, met weekly with a resident-based Sepulveda Boulevard Task Force to modify the scope of the project. A revised project was presented to the Westchester community in 2002 at a town hall meeting, where the majority of attendees supported the newly re-scoped project.

Sepulveda Boulevard currently has six traffic lanes that are reduced to four in the business district where street parking is avail- able, according to the city Department of Public Works.

The improvement project will result in three full-time traffic lanes in each direction with full-time street parking in the business district, public works officials said. Medians and turn lanes will also be installed at strategic points on the boulevard to enhance pedestrian and motorist safety.

The project begins this month and is expected to continue through the summer of 2009.