Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'roadgeeking'

Looking everywhere, going nowhere

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Nov 18, 2015 @ 11:56 am PDT

userpic=travelToday’s news chum post continues the trend of using a song lyric in the title. Does anyone recognize the song? If you figure it out (or cheat), I’ll note that even thought the line fits the post, the overall song doesn’t really. In any case, today’s post — focused on going nowhere — is about transportation in the news. Transportation, in fact, that may get us nowhere fast. Here are a few transportation articles I’ve corrected, while I eat my lunch…



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California Highway Headlines for October 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Nov 01, 2015 @ 5:08 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingWhew! That was a busy month. Now that you’re stuffing your faces with candy and getting that extra hour of sleep, how about some highway headlines to wake you up: (more…)


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California Highway Headlines for September 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Oct 02, 2015 @ 7:24 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingWhew. Another busy month has come and gone. This one was extra busy, with vacation, the end of the government fiscal year craziness, and all sorts of stuff going on. Here are the collected headlines:

  • Creating the Santa Monica Freeway. Today, the Santa Monica (I-10) Freeway is an indelible marker across the Los Angeles landscape, a mini-equator that delineates boundaries between cultural and historical hemispheres of the city. Southern Californians depend on the freeway as a vital link between the Westside and downtown Los Angeles and as a transcontinental connection to points east. But in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, the I-10 was part of a massive public works project to bind the nation with concrete superhighways, then perceived as a threat that united local communities and later — according to one admirer — as a work of art.
  • Caltrans proposes wildlife overpass on 101 Freeway . Mountain lions, bobcats and other wildlife would have less chance of becoming roadkill if the state adopts a plan to build a landscaped bridge over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, supporters of the proposal said Wednesday. State agencies, elected officials and wildlife advocates urged the state to provide the much-needed link in an area where rampant development and highways have fragmented once-continuous habitat. The 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long overpass near Liberty Canyon Road would connect the Santa Monica Mountains on the south with the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.
  • New road-repair plan from Gov. Jerry Brown includes higher gas taxes, vehicle fees. Gov. Jerry Brown has ramped up his efforts to reach a deal on funding road repairs, dispatching a top administration official to present a new proposal to Republican leaders on Thursday morning. The proposal would provide $3.6 billion annually for transportation and includes a new $65 fee for vehicle owners, an 11-cent increase in the diesel tax and a 6-cent hike to the gas tax.
  • L.A.-area carpool lanes may be opened to everyone during off-peak hours. The state Senate sent the governor separate bills on Thursday — one that would allow all motorists to use carpool lanes on some Los Angeles County freeways during off-peak hours, and another that would increase penalties for sex offenders who remove court-ordered GPS tracking devices. The carpool lane measure was proposed as a way to reduce the frustrating congestion that plagues L.A. freeways even after the daily commutes.
  • Fixing the Most Dangerous Road in L.A. is Even Tougher Than You Think. It’s practically cliché to complain about traffic in Los Angeles. But one on- and off-ramp in East Los Angeles has become particularly notorious: the Avenue 43 exit on the Arroyo Seco Parkway. The first freeway in America, this thoroughfare was once considered a modern marvel. But more than 70 years later, the road’s sudden, sharp turns directly into speeding cars have led to countless accidents. Nearby residents are anxious for a solution.
  • Ortega Highway Interchange construction ends after two years of traffic-snarling construction. Long-anticipated upgrades to San Juan Capistrano’s Ortega Highway Interchange came to an end last weekend after more than two years of traffic-snarling construction. The California Department of Transportation and the Orange County Transportation Authority began improvements on the intersection of Ortega Highway and I-5 in February 2013 to relieve traffic congestion around San Juan Capistrano’s primary connection to the freeway. The $81 million project was finished Friday with improved traffic flow and freeway access.
  • People living near 60 Freeway in Ontario breathe the worst air in the Southland. With its sprawl of tract homes, apartment complexes, shopping centers and warehouses, Ontario looks like many other communities in the Inland Empire and shares the same environmental woes, including heavy truck traffic and air pollution. But people in one neighborhood near the 60 Freeway have a dubious new distinction: They are breathing the dirtiest air in Southern California, according to new measurements by pollution regulators.
  • Highway 4 widening completion pushed back to summer 2016. Commuters weary of Highway 4’s daily gridlock will have to wait a while longer than expected for the highly anticipated widening project to be completed, and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority says hot and windy weather is to blame. Officials now say that the Highway 4 widening project should be finished by midsummer of 2016, an extension of at least six to eight months beyond the agency’s original estimate that the project would be completed by the end of this year. Construction supervisors say East Contra Costa’s notorious heat, coupled with high winds in the area, have forced workers to postpone concrete pours time and time again, delaying the project.
  • Roadshow: New 101-880 interchange could cost $1 billion. Q I know you have probably answered this at least once a week for the last 30 years, but I missed each one. If I were in charge of Caltrans, upgrading the 880/101 interchange would have been on my to-do list in 1962 and would have been completed by 1964. Any chance of building a flyover in each direction before I die?
  • Highway 37 improvement plan eyed by Marin, other North Bay counties. Marin and other North Bay counties are looking to develop a plan and financing to improve the utilitarian and sometimes aggravating Highway 37 between Novato and Vallejo. Increasing traffic and sea-level rise are among the challenges facing the state highway, which existed in its current footprint since the 1930s.
  • Construction Moves Forward on the Avenido Pico Interchange. Pile driving is scheduled to begin in late October for the new portion of the Avenida Pico bridge on the southbound side of Interstate 5 (I-5) in San Clemente. Reconstruction of the Avenida Pico interchange is part of the $230 million I-5 South County Improvement Project, which also extends the carpool lane from San Juan Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano to Avenida Pico in San Clemente.
  • I-580 toll lanes opening delayed; I-680 projects on the way. With jam-packed freeways an all-too-common roadblock for many drivers in the area, Pleasanton is on track to soon find itself nearly surrounded by one of regional traffic officials’ go-to strategies for congestion relief. Toll express lanes, an alternative to traditional carpool lanes, continue to be built along both directions of Interstate 580 through Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore
  • Toll payers will dig deep: Bay Bridge fix could top $15 million. A long-term fix for the waterlogged steel rods at the base of the new Bay Bridge eastern span’s tower will cost at least $15 million, much of which could come from toll payers, Caltrans officials said Wednesday. The risk of corrosion to the high-strength, 25-foot-long rods has led to months of study and delays in putting the finishing touches on the eastern span, which opened to traffic in September 2013.
  • Ridge Route, pioneering LA-to-Bakersfield highway, hits 100. If the Grapevine is California’s hardworking mother road, the Ridge Route is the state’s demanding, surprising grandmother. And when grandma marks 100 — as the Ridge Route does next Saturday — you bring the party to her. Next Saturday’s centennial celebration will feature an antique car show, lectures and a tour of wind-whipped Dead Man’s Curve — but what supporters really want for the Ridge Route’s birthday is to reopen all of the historic highway.
  • Highway 101 toll lanes possible for Marin. A plan for toll lanes on Highway 101 in Marin to move drivers along faster — for a price — is still a possibility for the county. The toll lane — also known as “express lane” — concept is straightforward: Solo drivers could pay to use carpool lanes. That money could be used to finance local transportation projects.
  • Highway 101 projects get OK: San Mateo County Transportation Authority allocates $108M in local sales tax money . With congestion along Highway 101 tightening alongside the burgeoning Bay Area economy, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority is allocating $108 million in local sales tax dollars toward projects aimed at alleviating commuters’ woes. The authority is responsible for overseeing revenue from Measure A, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax originally passed in 1988 and reaffirmed in 2004; now it has about $125 million to improve conditions near Highway 101. While this recent allocation will not exhaust its entire highway grant fund, the leftover money can be rolled over to future years’ funding cycles and officials with the TA are hopeful the stream of sales tax revenue will support new projects.
  • Gov. Brown vetoes off-hours use of L.A. County carpool lanes. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a measure Monday that would have allowed, during off-peak hours, all motorists to use carpool lanes on the 134 Freeway from North Hollywood to Pasadena, and on the 210 Freeway from Pasadena to Glendora. The measure would also have allowed the state Department of Transportation to study whether similar openings should be used on other freeways in the county.
  • I-80 onramp meters in Solano County to be switched on. The switch will be flipped by the California Department of Transportation on some 32 traffic meters throughout Solano County starting Monday. Vacaville will see 16 meters given the green light. The second stage of ramp meter activation in Solano County includes on-ramp locations on eastbound and westbound Interstate 80 between Redwood Street in Vallejo and Interstate 505 in Vacaville. “Traffic is only going to increase in these areas, so this is an effort to get out in front of it,” said Vince Jacala, Caltrans public information officer for Napa and Solano counties. “This is a tool that helps with the flow of traffic.”
  • Marin IJ Editorial: Highway 101/580 connector needs to be a Marin priority. Local officials have compiled a list of proposed traffic problems, all aimed at helping solve local problems. This countywide grouping, which will eventually have to be culled to $480 million, is laundry list on plans, promises and wishes. The Transportation Authority of Marin should make sure it is topped by a plan to address one of Marin’s worst traffic problems, solving the nightly jam of Highway 101 traffic getting onto Interstate 580.
  • Caltrans gets go-ahead to implode pier on old Bay Bridge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given Caltrans final permission to carry out a $160 million implosion of the largest concrete pier of the old Bay Bridge eastern span next month, the state agency said Thursday. Caltrans said in the spring that it intended to implode the five-story underwater structure to speed demolition of the old bridge. Various agencies raised concerns over the potential harm to an endangered fish, the longfin smelt, a 5-inch-long species whose numbers have plummeted in the drought.

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Changes to California Highways – May through September

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Sep 13, 2015 @ 10:39 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingSeptember has rolled around. Before we “fall” into Fall, it is time for another round of highway page updates… just in time for the new year!

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum, but as usual it contained no additional information beyond what I gleaned on my own. I’ve given up on misc.transport.road. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(✍), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from Bob Flaminio(1), Lee Ivy(2), Steve Riner (3), Steve Sobol(4), Rochelle Stockman(5), Lewis Yee(6) ]: Route 1(✍), I-5(✍), Pre-1964 Route I-15(4), Route 25(✍), Route 29(✍),, Route 37(✍), Route I-80(✍,5), Route 85(✍), Route 91(✍),, Route 99(✍), US I-405(✍), I-580(✍), I-605(✍), I-680(✍), Route 710(✍).

Reviewed the Pending Legislation page, based on the new California Legislature site. As usual, I recommend to every Californian that they visit the legislative website regularly and see what their legis-critters are doing. Noted the passage of the following bills and resolutions: (more…)


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California Highway Headlines for August 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Sep 01, 2015 @ 9:24 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingAugust. The dog days of summer. A time when you’re either out driving in the heat or hiding from it. I’m on the beach in Hawaii m’self, but I did collect these headlines for you:

  • State Agency Cites Caltrans, Contractors for ‘Serious Violations’ Leading to Willits Bypass Collapse. A state investigation has determined the falsework that collapsed on the Willits bypass on January 22 “was not properly designed, was not erected as per the design plans, was missing components, [and] deficiencies were not identified when inspected and signed off by the project engineer for the company erecting it.”
  • On 91 Freeway, a $2-billion effort to keep up with increasing traffic . The 91 Freeway between Fullerton and Corona is one of the most congested stretches of highway in California — an often frustrating bog of idling engines, squeaking brakes and commuter angst. The rush hour traffic results from an abundance of jobs in Orange County and more affordable housing in the Inland Empire. But for almost a decade, Caltrans and local transportation agencies were prevented from improving the heavily congested portal.
  • I-680 toll express lanes construction set to start. The project to bring toll express lanes to Interstate 680 through the San Ramon Valley is expected to start construction this month, with completion estimated for late next year. “The beginning of work on the 680 express lanes between San Ramon and Walnut Creek is an important milestone,” John Goodwin, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) said Tuesday.
  • 1963 Orange County Freeways Master Plan. It’s just a map, but what a map.
  • Contra Costa driver tolls on the I-680 horizon. Express lanes — toll roads for solo drivers willing to pay for speedier commutes — are about to bring Contra Costa County drivers into the world of high-tech traffic controls. Work was to begin Wednesday night on the first of three express-lane segments that in time will extend from the Benicia Bridge to the county border at Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon. The first segment is on both directions of Interstate-680 from Walnut Creek to San Ramon.
  • San Antonio Road Bridge replacement plan in works. Plans to replace the San Antonio Road Bridge near the Marin-Sonoma border are in the works at the Civic Center. The bridge, built in 1917, will remain standing for pedestrian and bicycle use as a new $5.5 million span is constructed. The project, financed by federal grants, is part of the Marin-Sonoma Narrows freeway widening program. It involves realignment of San Antonio Road between Novato and Petaluma, including the span over San Antonio Creek.
  • Caltrans Talks About Replacing PCH’s Alamitos Bay Bridge. California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is beginning a process to replace or repair the Alamitos Bay Bridge on Pacific Coast Highway. The bridge was built in 1959 over the river channel between Second Street and Loynes Drive. It was widened eight years later, but now has been deemed seismically deficient (in danger of collapse in an earthquake).
  • Caltrans: Grass Valley public meeting on Hwy. 49 widening . To get local feedback on the State Route 49 highway widening project, the California Department of Transportation will host an open house from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday in the Hullender Room at the Grass Valley City Hall. In an attempt to improve traffic operations and safety, the project proposes to widen Highway 49 to a four-lane highway, with 10-foot shoulder upgrades, from Nevada County’s section of the highway from miles 11.1 to mile 13.3.
  • New Life for Old East Span Steel. The Bay Bridge Steel Program, being administered by Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), was created in response to significant public interest from Bay Area artists and creative communities in making steel from the original 1936 East Span of the Bay Bridge available for repurposing and reuse. The steel that will be made available through this program will be drawn from the second phase of bridge demolition that began this summer. Noted photographer Sam Burbank, who also documented the dismantling of the Carquinez Bridge, has graciously provided the amazing photos on this two-page spread to give our readers an idea of the raw materials that will eventually become public art.
  • Why the time is right to re-examine the L.A. freeway. In 1981, a young writer named David Brodsly described the Los Angeles freeway as one of the city’s indispensible metaphors, “one of the few parts capable of standing for the whole.” He argued that the freeway had expanded “the realm of the accessible” for drivers in Southern California — that it was a powerfully democratic force, in essence — and lent “a new clarity” to a vast metropolitan region that newcomers had long found illegible and tough to grasp.
  • ‘The prettiest park in Los Angeles’ and why a freeway runs through it. Freeways are brutal structures. And they have been dropped into many communities — especially poor ones — in often indiscriminate ways. Exits from the 101 spill out onto quiet residential streets in Silver Lake. The monumental stacks of the 105 and the 110 lord over single-family homes in South L.A. And all over town you find homes and businesses tucked into the noisy, inhospitable curves of a freeway access ramp. There is Offramp Gallery, a contemporary art space in Pasadena, which lies within the roar of the 210, and the Psychic Center of Los Angeles, sandwiched between a towering freeway wall and an onramp on the southbound 5. (Freeway noise aside, they do excellent readings.)
  • AQMD: 710 Freeway tunnel would raise cancer risk to unacceptable levels. In a detailed critique, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said the draft environmental impact report for the proposed 710 Freeway extension failed to estimate emissions of carbon monoxide and airborne particulates and that the tunnel project would raise the cancer risk to unacceptable levels. The eight-page letter from Ian MacMillan, the anti-smog district’s planning and rules manager, says the lack of basic air quality analysis renders the draft EIR useless to the agency or those deciding on a tunnel or other transit options.
  • Work continues on freeway interchange project. Work on the Interstate 80/Interstate 680/Highway 12 interchange project is continuing with bridge deck installation work related to the new Green Valley Road overcrossing. Crews installed five giant girders at the interchange earlier this week, the California Department of Transportation confirmed in a press release Thursday.
  • Caltrans, San Diego reviewing improvements to congested SR-56 in Carmel Valley. The city of San Diego and Caltrans are working together to find solutions for commuters who struggle daily with the heavily congested SR-56. At peak hours, the 56 can resemble a parking lot, with cars at a standstill. And with all the development occurring along the corridor, traffic is only expected to increase.
  • Caltrans seeking permit to bring down Bay Bridge support pier with explosives. Caltrans is seeking permits to demolish the largest pier of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge with explosives, a procedure that could be dangerous to native marine mammals, but Caltrans officials say it would have the least impact on bay wildlife. Federal agencies are still taking public comment on the planned implosion, which if approved would take place in November.
  • Levine wants third lane open on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge by September. A third eastbound lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge should be opened by the end of next month at the latest, not in 2017 as Caltrans has proposed, says Assemblyman Marc Levine. On Tuesday he introduced a bill — Assembly Bill 9 — in an attempt to push the agency into action, a move Levine, D-San Rafael, believes will help relieve the afternoon commute, which has created bumper-to-bumper traffic in Marin as drivers jockey to get onto the span. Some of that backup has spilled onto northbound and southbound Highway 101.
  • I-80 traffic control system in new test phase. The congestion improvement project meant to help drivers safely negotiate commute tie-ups on Interstate 80 moved into a new phase of testing this week. Overhead signs for the I-80 SMART Corridor between the Carquinez and Bay bridges are being tested during the daytime as engineers integrate the interconnected parts and their controls.
  • 1953 – Newly opened Sepulveda Blvd passing beneath LAX runway.. (photo and comments)
  • Mr. Roadshow: Route 85 Access Points in Saratoga. Q: Where will the access points to the planned Highway 85 express lanes be located? Will there be any in Saratoga?
  • Nobody Walks in LA. Kickstarter for a coffee-table art book of empty freeways in Los Angeles
  • 710 Tunnel: San Gabriel Valley cities take it off wish list for sales-tax funded projects. A group representing San Gabriel Valley cities has removed a controversial freeway tunnel proposal from its wish list of projects that might be funded by a new transportation sales tax. The decades-old idea of extending the 710 Freeway north from its Alhambra terminus near Cal State Los Angeles to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena via an underground tunnel has been divisive. Alhambra wants a tunnel, Pasadena doesn’t. Other cities have taken sides.
  • Tenants worry as Caltrans prepares to sell homes along 710 Freeway corridor. The modest cottages and majestic Craftsman homes that line a swath of quiet streets stretching though Pasadena, South Pasadena and El Sereno are part of the long, tortured legacy of a freeway that was never built. In the 1950s and ’60s, Caltrans began buying up houses and plots of land for what was expected to be the path of the 710 Freeway extension. But in the decades that followed, the 6.2-mile project was stalled by lobbying, lawsuits and legislation. …
  • Rising seas, traffic threaten Highway 37. Highway 37 may mostly sit in Solano and Sonoma counties, but it has the potential to cause major traffic headaches for Napa County. Race days at Sonoma Raceway – such as this weekend—jam Highway 37 with traffic and prompt motorists to use south Napa County highways, jamming those roads too. During heavy winter storms, Highway 37, which sits on a low berm over marshland, can flood, diverting traffic to other routes, including Highway 12/121 in Napa County. With sea levels expected to rise, 37 faces an even more watery future.



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California Highway Headlines for July 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Aug 01, 2015 @ 7:07 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingJuly was another busy busy month for highway headlines. Here’s what I collected:

  • $1.14 billion later, expanded 405 Freeway is a hodgepodge of design. Imagine if the ancient Romans, late in their empire-building days, had suddenly forgotten how to design aqueducts. Or if Chicago started filling the Loop with a collection of ungainly skyscrapers, each more of an eyesore than the last. Something similar — a sad reversal of infrastructural fortune — is happening in Southern California. A region once synonymous with freeways no longer builds them with much confidence or skill. How else to judge the new-look 405 Freeway, which has been widened, at a cost of $1.14 billion, to make room for a single carpool lane on its northbound side between West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley?
  • Bay Area tunnel to be renamed after late actor Robin Williams . A Bay Area tunnel, known for the brightly colored rainbow painted over its arched entrance, will now be called the Robin Williams Tunnel. Commonly known as the Waldo Tunnel or the Rainbow Tunnel, the passageway led travelers from Marin County to the Golden Gate Bridge. The late actor, who lived in Tiburon, Calif., likely traveled through the tunnel when he visited San Francisco.
  • Caltrans project set to start on 101 Fwy from Calabasas to Studio City. Caltrans is gearing up for a 24-mile asphalt repaving project on the 101 Freeway, stretching from Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas to the 170/134 interchange in Studio City. New guardrails will also be installed. “The crews are going to go through, grind away the old pavement and place new pavement right behind that,” Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler said.
  • Legislators clear plan to rename Marin tunnel for Robin Williams. The rainbow-adorned portal into and out of Marin will soon bear a new name: the Robin Williams Tunnel. The state Senate on Thursday approved the resolution introduced by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, to change the name of the Waldo Tunnel. The state Assembly took the same action in April. Because it is a resolution, the change doesn’t need a signature from Gov. Jerry Brown.
  • With accidents aplenty on PCH, Malibu greenlights safety improvements . One of the world’s most scenic and celebrated ribbons of asphalt, Pacific Coast Highway has served as mood-setting backdrop to films and TV shows and inspired lyrics by artists of such diverse sensibilities as the Beach Boys, Jaden Smith and Hole. For 21 miles northwest of L.A., the fragmented, 650-mile road becomes the city of Malibu’s main thoroughfare. And almost daily the squawk of gulls and thump of waves are drowned out on this stretch by shrieking brakes, crumpling metal and sirens’ wail as accidents send people to hospitals and bring traffic to hours-long standstills.
  • Doyle Drive closure opens golden era of Presidio Parkway. Early Monday, after a three-day traffic nightmare, drivers heading to and from the Golden Gate Bridge will be greeted by the brand-new Presidio Parkway, a sleeker, safer, better-looking version of Doyle Drive. “It’s going to be a brand-new feeling and a brand-new driving experience — for everyone,” project spokeswoman Molly Graham said Tuesday as she showed off the new roadway. “We’re asking people to be patient on Monday and we do expect delays for the first couple of weeks.”
  • $1.8 million road project underway in Tam Valley. A $1.8 million road improvement program is underway in Tamalpais Valley this summer as Ghilotti Construction works on a resurfacing, curb, ramp, guardrail and drainage project.
    Areas for improvements coordinated by the county Public Works Department include Homestead Valley and Almonte behind Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. Officials said the work involves Circle Way from Homestead Boulevard to the end; Homestead Boulevard from Stadium to Loring, and Morning Sun from Dolan to Homestead.
  • Maintenance Contract Approved For Permanent Return Of Bay Lights. A maintenance contract approved Wednesday should keep the popular Bay Lights art installation on the western span of the Bay Bridge twinkling well into the next decade. The Bay Area Toll Authority approved a 10-year, $2.1 million contract for Philips Lighting North America Corporation to maintain the Bay Lights installation once it returns as a permanent fixture next year.
  • $1.1 million approved for plan to keep Bay Bridge bolts safe. The committee wrangling with the Bay Bridge construction problems voted Thursday to spend an additional $1.1 million to come up with a plan to prevent further damage to bolts anchoring the eastern span’s signature tower to its foundation. The decision, approved on a 2-1 vote, came despite a statement from a seismic review panel that the bridge doesn’t need any of the 424 anchor rods to survive a major earthquake.
  • New contract approved for Bay Bridge lights. Fans of the lights installation that has adorned the San Francisco end of the Bay Bridge can expect to see the span illuminated well into the next decade, under a new maintenance contract approved Wednesday. The Bay Area Toll Authority approved a 10-year, $2.1 million contract for Philips Lighting North America Corporation to maintain the Bay Lights installation once it returns as a permanent fixture set for next year.
  • Experts to make recommendations to test, repair anchor rods in Bay Bridge tower. A panel of experts convened to determine the extent of water damage to anchor rods in the base of the Bay Bridge’s new eastern tower will make their first recommendations for testing and repairs today, according to Caltrans officials. Among the recommendations chief bridge engineer Brian Maroney will ask the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee to approve is a dehumidification system to dry the rods, according to Caltrans.
  • Long Beach sues Caltrans, OCTA over 405 Freeway widening project. Long Beach is suing Caltrans and the Orange County Transportation Authority over the $1.7 billion project to expand the 405 Freeway. The City Council authorized the city attorney in closed session Tuesday to file the lawsuit challenging the environmental documents filed with the plan, which widens the 405 by four lanes through Orange County to just past the Long Beach border.
  • The new Jameson Canyon: Wider and faster. Jameson Canyon Road, a stretch of Highway 12 between Highway 29 and Interstate 80 once known as “Blood Alley,” is safer today than it was a year ago, thanks to a barrier in the median and an expansion from two lanes to four. But the once infamous stretch of roadway still has problems. With congestion now reduced, motorists are more likely to speed, said California Highway Patrol Officer Roger Kellogg, who patrols it regularly.
  • Work continues on I-680 project. Repaving work on Interstate 680 between Fairfield and Benicia is continuing this week. Intermittent lane closures and alternating ramp closures should be anticipated nightly through Friday as crews work on the 13-mile stretch of I-680, according to the California Department of Transportation.
  • State Agency Cites Caltrans, Contractors for ‘Serious Violations’ Leading to Willits Bypass Collapse. A state investigation has determined the falsework that collapsed on the Willits bypass on January 22 “was not properly designed, was not erected as per the design plans, was missing components, [and] deficiencies were not identified when inspected and signed off by the project engineer for the company erecting it.” The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited all three employers at the worksite – Caltrans, Flatiron West, Inc., and “DeSilva Gates-Flatiron West: A Joint Venture” – for four “serious” violations. Those July 16, 2015, citations were for: failure to properly inspect the falsework; failure to make a thorough survey of the conditions of the site to determine “predictable hazards” to employees; failure to ensure vertical supports were erected on a “properly compacted and reasonably level” base; and failure to ensure the falsework was designed and erected to “assure its ability to withstand all intended loads.”
  • Caltrans Completes Highway 99 Widening Project Through Manteca. Traffic flowed smoothly during the morning commute Wednesday. It wasn’t bumper to bumper or even congested thanks to a newly completed Caltrans road widening project two years in the making. “Each individual should recognize about a 16 minute savings in time. That is a big difference for those who want to get through this area especially through peak hours,” Dennis Agar, Caltrans director for District 10, said.
  • Bridge collapse shuts down major California freeway after record-breaking July rain. Historic rain in Southern California—the most we’ve had in July since 1886!—caused a bridge collapse near the town of Desert Center, California over the weekend. The bridge collapse shut down all traffic for hours on the highly-traveled Interstate 10 freeway between Los Angeles and Phoenix. One unfortunate driver plowed his pickup truck into the collapsed structure, and hundreds of other cars were stranded. Alternate routes will require cars and trucks to travel hundreds of additional miles.
  • Caltrans considering Ceres’ diverging diamond idea. Although the design is being used successfully in a number of states, Caltrans is acting slowly to approve the “diverging diamond” design for the future Mitchell/Service/99 interchange. Caltrans officials from District 10, which covers Ceres, like the design but it is being viewed cautiously at state headquarters.

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California Highway Headlines for June 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jun 30, 2015 @ 5:58 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingIn contrast to previous months, June has been a busy busy month for articles. Here are the ones that I caught related to California Highways:


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January – May Changes to California Highways

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed May 27, 2015 @ 8:09 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingRemind me not to let 5 months go by between changes.  Let’s take a deep breath, and dive in…

This has been a busy busy year, with most weekends taken up by theatre and theatre reviews (if you didn’t know, I see lots of theatre and review every show I see; you can find all the reviews in the “reviews” category on my blog). But Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to catch up on things. So put something on to slow-cook on the barbeque, and let’s dig in:

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers (which are posted to the roadgeeking category at the “Observations Along The Road” and to the California Highways Facebook group) as well as any backed up email changes. I also reviewed the the AAroads forum, but as usual it contained no additional information beyond what I gleaned on my own. I’ve given up on misc.transport.road. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(⋇), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from Ronald Hall(2), Ray Mullins(1), and Joel Windmiller(3)]: Route 1(⋇), Route 12(⋇), Route 16(2), Route 33(1), Route I-80(⋇), Route 84(⋇), Route 85(⋇), Route 92(⋇), US I-280(⋇), Route 282(⋇), I-405(⋇), I-680(⋇), I-710(⋇), Santa Clara County Route G2(⋇), Santa Clara County Route G4(⋇).

Reviewed the Pending Legislation page, based on the new California Legislature site. As usual, I recommend to every Californian that they visit the legislative website regularly and see what their legis-critters are doing. No items had passed yet.

I checked the CTC Liaison page for the results of the CTC meetings from January through May 26, 2015. I lucked out — the May meeting was May 28, so I only had January and March to deal with. The following items were of interest (note: ° indicates items that were below the level of detail for updating the specific route pages) :

2.1b. STIP Program/Project Amendments/Approvals for Notice

*** (Mar) (1) The Department proposes to amend the 2014 STIP to revise the project funding plans for two projects on the Route 138 Corridor in Los Angeles County: Route 138 Widening, Segment 6 (PPNO 4356); and Route 138 Widening, Segment 13 (PPNO 4357). [Information only.]

*** (Mar) (2) The Contra Costa Transportation Authority proposes to amend the 2014 STIP to delay $36,610,000 in RIP construction funds from FY 2015-16 to FY 2016-17 for the I-680/Route 4 Interchange Phase 3 project (PPNO 0298E) in Contra Costa County. [Information only.]

2.2a. Submittal of Notice of Preparation for Comments

*** (Jan) Submittal of Notice of Preparation for Comments: 04-Son-1, PM 15.1/15.8, Gleason Beach Route 1 Realignment Project. Construct roadway improvements including realigning a portion of Route 1 in Sonoma County [Approved.]

*** (Mar) (1) Submittal of Notice of Preparation for Comments: 03-ED-50, PM 67.3. Echo Summit Bridge Project: Rehabilitate or replace the Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct on US 50 in El Dorado County (NOP) [Approved.]

*** (Mar) (2) Submittal of Notice of Preparation for Comments: 07-LA-710, PM Various. Route 710 Surplus Property Sales. Sale of surplus property along Route 710 in Los Angeles County (all north of I-10) (NOP) [Approved.]

2.2b. Submittal of Notice of Documents Available for Comment (DEIRs)

*** (Jan) Submittal of Notice for One Document Available for Comments: (DEIR): 04-SCl-680, PM 6.5/9.9, 04-ALA-680, 0.0/12.4. I-680 Northbound HOV/Express Lane Project: Construct a HOV/Express Lane on a portion of I-680 in Santa Clara and Alameda Counties. (DEIR) [Approved.]

2.2c. Approval of Projects for New Public Road Connection / Future Consideration of Funding

*** (Jan) (1) Approval of Projects for Future Consideration of Funding: [Approved.]

  1. 01-Hum-101, PM 111.4/111.6: Big Lagoon Slipout Repair Project. Construct roadway improvements on a portion of US 101 in Humboldt County. (MND)
  2. 06-Fre-41, PM 33.3/33.4, 06-MAD-41, PM 0.0/0.2. San Joaquin River Bridge Scour and Seismic Retrofit Project. Construct seismic retrofitting to an existing bridge on Route 41 in Fresno and Madera Counties. (MND)

*** (1) (Mar) Approval of Projects for Future Consideration of Funding: [Approved.]

  1. 02-Plu-70, PM 14.9. Yellow Creek Bridge Replacement Project. Replace existing bridge on Route 70 in Plumas County. (ND)
  2. 04-Ala-13, PM 4.8/5.0. Route 13 Storm Damage Restoration Project. Construct a 14-foot high, 186-foot long retaining wall and repair storm damage on Route 13 in Alameda County. (MND)
  3. 04-SM-280, PM 9.4. I-280 Repair Pipe System and Backfill Sinkhole Project. Construct replace failed corrugated metal pipe with reinforced concrete pipe on a portion of I-280 in San Mateo County. (ND)
  4. 06-Fre-168, PM T29.0/T29.4. Prather Curve Correction Project. Construct roadway improvements including realigning a portion of Route 168 in Fresno County. (MND)
  5. 08-SBd-395, PM 4.2/19.3. Widening of Existing US 395 Project. Construct roadway improvements including widening a portion of US 395 in San Bernardino County. (MND) .

2.3a. Route Adoptions

*** (Mar) One Route Adoption: A Route Adoption as a freeway at 04-SF-80-PM 4.7/8.9, 04-Ala-80-PM 0.0/0.1: On Route 80 from 0.1 mile east of 5th Street to the Alameda County line, in the city and county of San Francisco and from the Alameda County line to 1.7 miles west of W. Grand Avenue in Alameda County. [This is interesting — it appears Caltrans discovered they had never formally adopted the routing for Route 80 in San Francisco.] [Approved.]

2.3c. Relinquishments

*** (Jan) One Relinquishment Resolution: 04-Sol-80-PM 20.9: Right of way along Route 80 on Manuel Campos Parkway, in the city of Fairfield. [Approved.]

*** (Mar) Four Relinquishment Resolutions: [Approved.]

  1. 04-Mrn-101-PM 10.3/10.7, Right of way along Route 101 on Francisco Boulevard East, Francisco Boulevard West, Grand Avenue and Rice Drive, in the city of San Rafael.
  2. 04-Mrn-101-PM 10.0/10.6, Right of way along Route 101 on Francisco Boulevard West, in the city of San Rafael.
  3. 08-Riv-10-PM 43.0, Right of way along Route 10 on Bob Hope Drive, in the county of Riverside.
  4. 08-Riv-10-PM 43.0, Right of way along Route 10 on Bob Hope Drive, Varner Road, and Rio del Sol Road, in the city of Rancho Mirage.

2.3d. Vacation Resolutions


2.5b. Financial Allocations for SHOPP Projects / Federal Discretionary Grant Funds

*** (Jan) (1) Financial Allocation: $112,561,000 for 17 SHOPP projects, as follows: (a) $67,859,000 for 12 SHOPP projects; (b) $44,702,000 for five projects amended into the SHOPP by Departmental action. Most of the projects were of the minor variety — landscape, pavement rehabilitation, slope rehabilitation, and other forms of maintenance that do not affect routing. Specific projects/allocations of interest are noted below: [Approved, as modified.]

  • $20,755,000: San Luis Obispo. 05-SLO-1 PM 64.0/R66.9. Near San Simeon, from north of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Road to Arroyo De La Cruz Bridge. Outcome/Output: Realign approximately 2.8 highway miles of Route 1 to a new location 475 feet inland away from eroding shore line and construct three bridges to maintain roadway structural integrity and improve highway safety and operation at this location.

*** (Mar) (1) Financial Allocation: $128,229,000 for 50 SHOPP projects, as follows: (a) $77,757,000 for 23 SHOPP projects; (b) $50,472,000 for 27 projects amended into the SHOPP by Departmental action. Most of the projects were of the minor variety — landscape, pavement rehabilitation, slope rehabilitation, guard rail installation, painting, sealing decks, upgrading irrigation, replacing signs and lighting, and other forms of maintenance that do not affect routing. Specific projects/allocations of interest are noted below: [Approved.]

  • $2,394,000: Kern County near Tehachapi (06-Ker-58, R99.2/R99.8), at the Sand Canyon Road Undercrossing (Bridge No. 50-0345R): Replace eastbound bridge and resurface ramps to restore bridge load capacity.

2.5c Financial Allocations for STIP Projects

*** (Mar) (1) Financial Allocation: $59,569,000 for four State administered STIP projects, on the State Highway System. Contributions from other sources: $11,181,000. Projects not mentioned related to landscaping. Specific projects/allocations of interest are noted below: [Approved.]

  • Route 84 Expressway Widening – Segment 2: In the City of Livermore on Route 84. Widen from 2 lanes to 4 lanes from Ruby Hill Drive to north of Concannon Boulevard. The specific changes in funding were: $4,900,000 $7,550,000 for CON ENGR, $42,130,000 $39,480,000 for CONST. (Contributions from other sources: $8,975,000: Support [$3,105,000 $455,000] and Capital [$5,870,000 $8,520,000]).
  • Madera 41 Passing Lane. Near Coarsegold, from 0.3 mile north of Road 208 to 2.2 miles north of Road 208. Construct passing lane. CON ENG: $0 $2,577,000 CONST $11,047,000 $8,470,000.

*** (Mar) (2) Financial Allocation: $5,500,000 for the locally administered US 395 Widening (PPNO 0260J) STIP project, in San Bernardino County, on the State Highway System. Contributions from other sources: $5,019,000. [Approved.]

2.5e. Financial Allocations for Supplemental Funds

*** (Jan) (1) Financial Allocation: $5,526,000 in supplemental STIP funds for construction engineering for the Route 101 Marin Sonoma Narrows – Petaluma Boulevard South Interchange and Petaluma River Bridge project (PPNO 0360H), in Sonoma County. The current construction engineering budget is $12,190,000. This request for $5,526,000 results in an increase of 45.3 percent over the current budget for construction engineering. [Approved, as distributed in the Yellow Meeting Handout at the meeting.]

2.5g. Financial Allocation for Multi-Funded Proposition 1B TCIF/Border Infrastructure Program (BIP) Projects

*** (Jan) (5b) Financial Allocation: $22,657,000 for State administered multi-funded Proposition 1B TCIF/BIP Project 104 (Route 905/Route 125 Northbound Connectors [PPNO 1101]), in San Diego County. [Approved.]


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