Observations Along the Road

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

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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:
(more…)

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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

None

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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California Highway Headlines for most of May 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon May 25, 2015 @ 4:02 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingI’m finally getting around to working on the highway pages, and that means incorporation of headlines and articles. This post captures those headlines from May that are going in the update; subsequent headlines will be included with the June batch.

  • Cosumnes River Blvd Extension and Interchange at Interstate 5. Project pages for a project that will construct a new interchange at Cosumnes River Boulevard at I-5 located 1 mile south of Meadowview Road and construct a new 4 to 6 lane road extension of Cosumnes River Boulevard from Franklin Boulevard west to Freeport Boulevard.
  • OCTA Takes Lead on I-405 Project. At its meeting on April 27, the OCTA Board of Directors voted to take the lead on the Interstate 405 (I-405) Improvement Project. The $1.7 billion project will improve the San Diego (I-405) Freeway between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles county line, an area traveled by more than 370,000 vehicles a day, making it the busiest stretch of highway in the nation. Set to begin construction in 2018, the project will deliver express lanes between State Route 73 (SR-73) and Interstate 605 (I-605) in addition to one, regular general-purpose lane in each direction from Euclid Street to I-605.
  • Highway 68 plan receives grant from Caltrans. Caltrans has awarded $9.8 million in Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants to support cities, counties, agencies and transit operators including to the Transportation Agency for Monterey County. TAMC received the funds for its State Route 68 Corridor Plan.
  • I-280 near Mission Bay would be razed in Caltrain tunnel plan. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is quietly shopping plans to tear down Interstate 280 at Mission Bay and build an underground rail tunnel through the area — complete with a station between the proposed Warriors arena and AT&T Park. It’s all part of a revised effort to bring Caltrain — and, one day, high-speed rail — into downtown and the new Transbay Terminal while opening up a whole new area of the city for development.
  • MID COUNTY PARKWAY: Lawsuit aims to stop freeway construction. Environmental groups have gone to court to fight a proposed $1.7 billion freeway they say would cut through low-income neighborhoods, threaten wildlife areas and worsen air pollution. A lawsuit filed last week seeks to block construction of the Mid County Parkway, a 16-mile, six-lane freeway from the 215 in Perris east to the 79 in San Jacinto.
  • Doyle Drive to finally reopen, construction closure planned . The saga of Doyle Drive is nearing its end. After a closure scheduled for the end of this month, the rebuilt road will finally reopen safer and greener for motorists. The section of Doyle Drive between the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marina will close to traffic 10 p.m. May 28, as construction crews place finishing touches on the roadway and tunnels. The closure will end 5 a.m. June 1. Following the construction, all of the roadways connecting Park Presidio-19th Avenue to the Marina, and the Marina to the Golden Gate Bridge, will reopen for the first time in years.
  • Lindero overpass complete, open to bikes and cars . With two added traffic lanes, a protected bike and pedestrian path and decorative motifs showcasing the Westlake Village lifestyle, the new Lindero Canyon bridge is a model gateway for Los Angeles County, Mayor Ned Davis said during a ribboncutting ceremony Tuesday. About three dozen city and county transportation officials and other stakeholders gathered on the bridge to mark the end of a reconstruction project that began in October 2013.
  • Roadshow: Why isn’t Los Gatos complaining about Highway 85 widening?. The Highway 85 suit is on the Town Council agenda for Tuesday. Don’t be surprised if Los Gatos joins the fray over widening the freeway from Highway 87 to Interstate 280, using the median for double carpool lanes. The plan is to convert the diamond lane on the entire length of 85 into an express lane that solo drivers can jump into for a toll.
  • Roadshow: Razing of I-280 in San Francisco has drivers concerned. What is San Francisco thinking? The plan to tear down Interstate 280 is plain insanity. Highway 101 already backs up deep, and even on Saturday nights, one can sit in that traffic for nearly a half-hour to get from Cesar Chavez Street to downtown. Take 280 away, and going up to San Francisco for any social nights is pretty much no longer something that I would consider. If San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the rest of San Francisco are not careful, they’ll drive the city right back to the isolated, suburb-abandoned crime alley that plagued downtown throughout the 1980s, making it unwelcoming to the rest of the Bay Area. Then again, maybe this is the best plan possible to help revitalize Oakland.
  • Caltrans replaces deadly I-680 off-ramp in Martinez. An infamous East Bay off-ramp that was the scene of a horrible accident 39 years ago is now gone. Caltrans is replacing the Marina Vista exit on southbound Interstate 680 in Contra Costa County to make it seismically safe. But for those who remember the crash that killed 29 people, one of the worst bus accidents in U.S. history, it has come not a moment too soon.
  • 215 FREEWAY: Two-county carpool lane project to open this week. Caltrans is preparing to open a carpool lane on Interstate 215 between Riverside and San Bernardino that will complete a missing link along a busy commuter route that’s more than 70 miles long. After about three years of construction, motorists soon will have access to a 7.5-mile carpool lane between the 60/91/215 interchange in Riverside and Orange Show Road in San Bernardino.
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California Highway Headlines for April 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri May 01, 2015 @ 6:27 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingHere are the highway headlines for April 2015. Yes, I know I’m behind on updating the California Highways site. Weekends get busy, and the upcoming Hollywood Fringe Festival will not help.

  • Fremont: Citizen groups blast Caltrans’ Niles Canyon bridge replacement. The yearslong debate over widening the highway through Niles Canyon has continued, as environmental groups this month blasted Caltrans’ Alameda Creek Bridge project. Caltrans says that replacing the 87-year-old bridge would improve safety for drivers and bicyclists on a half-mile stretch of Niles Canyon Road, a winding highway that connects Fremont to Interstate 680 near Sunol.
  • From Mammoths to Jefferson: How the Los Angeles Street System Ended Up So Weird. In some places, Los Angeles’s street grid is neat and orderly, pointing to the four cardinal directions. In other places, it’s neat and orderly, with a 45 degree tilt. Other places, it’s doing god knows what. In his LAtitudes essay “Gridding the City,” Nathan Masters travels the length of Wilshire Boulevard, from Downtown to Santa Monica, and through the history of Los Angeles’s many layouts. Approaches changed as the city sprawled west from Downtown, giving Wilshire its unpredictable course through the basin, and meanwhile dividing up the wild land and turning it into private property.
  • After long fight, Orange County transportation officials agree to toll lanes on I-405. After fighting toll lanes for years, Orange County transportation officials on Monday said they couldn’t fight the state any longer and gave in, allowing toll lanes as part of a $1.7 billion expansion project of Interstate 405.
  • Planning for San Bernardino County’s future by improving the 10, 15 freeways: L. Dennis Michael. Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Every time we get in our car, we consider how long it will take us to get to our destination. This varies dramatically depending on when and where we are traveling. Traffic, both expected and unexpected, can impact the length and quality of that trip. At San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), the regional transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County made up of elected officials representing each of our 24 cities and the county, it is important we look ahead to plan for how we are going to get around 10, 20, and even 40 years from now. The 10 and 15 are two of the most heavily congested freeways in our county. In thinking about our future, we are currently studying the best ways to handle the growing traffic in these corridors.
  • SR-710 Draft EIR Community Meeting. Caltrans and Metro are under a mandate from two million Los Angeles County voters that passed Measure R in 2008 to study a 100 square mile region affected by congestion and pollution caused by incomplete transportation infrastructure between the end of the I-710 freeway in El Sereno and the I- 210 Freeway in Pasadena.
  • OCTA to take charge of 405 toll-lane project. The Orange County Transportation Authority is taking the reins on a highly debated proposal to put toll lanes on the 405 Freeway through part of the northern county. The OCTA board of directors voted 12 to 4 on Monday to approve terms with the California Department of Transportation, spelling out that OCTA would fund, finance, construct and operate the toll lanes. The agency also would be in charge of widening 14 freeway bridges as well as adding general-purpose lanes along the 14-mile stretch of the 405 between the 605 Freeway in Seal Beach and the 73 Freeway in Costa Mesa.
  • 405 expansion could start in 2018. Motorists can expect years of freeway construction on a busy stretch of the I-405, with the aim of eventually easing gridlock, under a deal with Caltrans approved Monday by the Orange County Transportation Authority board. Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 on a combination HOV-toll lane between the 73 and I-605 and a free lane between Euclid Street to I-605. The new lanes would run in both directions.
  • Will the Fight Over the 710 Gap in L.A. Be a Battle to the Death (of Freeways)?. When residents of South Pasadena, California, hear “mind the gap,” they think of anything but the Jubilee, Hammersmith or Piccadilly. For them, the gap in question refers not to a subway but to a freeway — or lack thereof. The 710 runs 23 miles north-south through the heart of the Los Angeles Basin, roughly paralleling the path of the Los Angeles River, from the port city of Long Beach to the inner suburb of Alhambra. There, the freeway abruptly stops, just past its interchange with the 10 Freeway, as if swallowed by a tar pit. Four-and-a-half miles to the north, the 210 freeway runs perpendicular to the 710’s logical route, and heads eastward to connect Los Angeles County to the Inland Empire.
  • Interchange project marks major milestone. Overhead work recently completed on the Interstate 80/Interstate 680/Highway 12 interchange project marks a major milestone in the first phase of construction, the California Department of Transportation announced this week. Preliminary overhead structures were installed earlier this month for the new Green Valley Road overcrossing over I-80, requiring overnight closures of the freeway.
  • History dotted with proposals for large-scale freeways in Malibu. The official website for the California Incline replacement project invites the public to “Be Excited, Be Prepared,” but for many Malibu commuters the prevalent emotion is trepidation, not excitement. The closure of the 100-year-old landmark, added to the ongoing sewer interceptor replacement project, threatens to further complicate the commute along a stretch of road that sometimes feels more like an obstacle course than a highway. However, local activists fought for more than a decade in the 1960s and ’70s to keep the coastal route from becoming a genuine highway.
  • California Assembly OKs bill to name tunnel north of Golden Gate Bridge after Robin Williams . A bill to name a tunnel connecting the Golden Gate Bridge to the North Bay after the late comedian Robin Williams blasted out of the state Assembly Thursday on a 77-0 vote. The proposed legislation, authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, now heads to the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
  • STA OKs pact for I-80 express lane project. The Solano Transportation Authority on Wednesday approved an agreement for preliminary engineering and final design work on an Interstate 80 express lane project from Red Top Road to Interstate 505. The authority’s board, by a unanimous vote, directed staff to enter into an agreement with AECOM Technical Services Inc. for the services, which are not to exceed $12.5 million.
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California Highway Headlines for March 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Mar 31, 2015 @ 11:13 am PDT

userpic=roadgeekingIt’s March. March was a month where we skip the pointless introductions, because it can’t decide if it is officially spring or summer. Here are the headlines:

  • How Montague Expressway got its name. Dan-the-County-Roads-Man does and says “thanks for the history question! I love those.” Expressways were most often named for the older roads they were built over…
  • Caltrans and San Mateo address dangerous merge: State Route 92 and El Camino Real interchange project moves ahead . Plans to alleviate the dangers of one of the Bay Area’s most hazardous highway intersections are well underway as the city of San Mateo and Caltrans work to remodel the State Route 92 and El Camino Real interchange. The current full cloverleaf layout was designed more than 50 years ago and provides short weaving distances where drivers must compete to exit and enter the freeway. The configuration also forces drivers to merge onto El Camino Real with wait times frequently causing cars to back up the length of the ramp and spill over onto State Route 92.
  • 118, Somis Road construction gets start date . For those who commute along a dangerous and outdated portion of Highway 118 that cuts through Somis, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Although the drive will get worse before it gets better, the intersection of the 118 and Somis Road is scheduled for an overhaul in May to improve the traffic flow and create a fourway stop. Construction at the intersection is expected to take eight months, at a cost of about $2.5 million.
  • $1.1 Billion and Five Years Later, the 405 Congestion Relief Project Is a Fail. This past May the project known as the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project came to official completion, with resulting new on-ramps and off-ramps, bridges and a northbound 405 carpool lane stretching 10 miles between the 10 and 101 Freeways. The four-turned–five-year, $1.1 billion project became a long-running nightmare of sudden ramp closures, poorly advertised by Metro and made all the worse by baffling detours that led drivers into the unfamiliar Bel Air Hills and Sherman Oaks hills, dead ends and unlit canyons.
  • Report: Closing the 710 Freeway gap would take years and cost billions. Any major modifications to the unfinished 710 Freeway, one of Los Angeles County’s most persistent transportation controversies, would cost billions of dollars and take years to complete, according to environmental documents released Friday. In a 2,260-page draft environmental report, the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority examined four construction options they say could address the congestion and health issues that stem from the 710’s abrupt ending on a surface street in Alhambra. The freeway is a favored route for truckers shuttling between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and distribution centers in central Los Angeles County.
  • $200-million Orange County tollway project stalls . A $200-million tollway project in Orange County suffered another defeat this week as water quality regulators refused to issue a waste discharge permit that was needed before construction can begin on the controversial project. In a unanimous vote, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board on Monday declined to issue the permit to the Transportation Corridor Agencies, the operator of 51 miles of toll roads in Orange County.
  • VTA: Plans in works to extend express lanes on 237. The Valley Transportation Authority is finalizing its plan to add express lanes on State Route 237 from North First Street in San Jose to Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale. VTA held a public meeting March 3 to inform residents about phase 2 of the plan, which is set to be completed in late 2016.
  • State Route 282 Relinquishment Under Consideration by Caltrans. TAF was informed on March 19, 2015, that “Caltrans is preparing a feasibility report to assess the potential to relinquish State Route 282 (SR-282) to the city of Coronado.” SR-282 is the portion of Third and Fourth Streets that runs from Orange Avenue to Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI). This includes the portion of Alameda Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets. This is the Avenue of Heroes neighborhood loop. The process of “relinquishment is the removal of a State highway, either in whole or in part from the State Highway System (SHS),” and a contractual turning it over to another jurisdiction. In the case of SR-282 this would be the city of Coronado. (1)
  • Historic Point Reyes bridge to be replaced, Caltrans says. The 86-year-old bridge that leading to Point Reyes Station will be demolished and replaced in what will be at least a seven-year process involving public input, lengthy environmental review and years of construction that will necessitate a temporary one-lane bridge across Lagunitas Creek. Public scoping for a replacement kicked off last Thursday at a poster-filled open house, hosted by the local district of the California Department of Transportation at West Marin School. Comments will be accepted through April 20.
  • 2 options considered for reconstructing part of congested 710 Freeway. During most workdays, trucks hauling cargo containers dominate the two right lanes in each direction of the 710 Freeway, a vital trade corridor for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest combined harbor in the United States. The worst congestion occurs at rush hour when big rigs line up nose to tail, forming a wall of vehicles that extends for miles in each direction. Traffic in all lanes slows to a crawl, and motorists back up at the short offramps built in the 1950s.
  • The torture that is the I-680 evening commute. I’ve noticed that small wooden stakes with spray-paint markings have been pounded into the dirt on the right shoulder of northbound Interstate 680 in the Fremont area. Could that have anything to do with widening 680 and adding more lanes? It would be an answer to my prayers! The afternoon commute out of Silicon Valley is horrible, which is why I have such a vested interest in seeing those little stakes in the ground.
  • Major I-215/Newport Road project about to begin. Menifee residents are approaching the impending construction of the I-215/Newport Road intersection with equal measures of anticipation and dread. Anticipation for a remedy to the gridlock and frustration drivers experience getting on and off the freeway there. Dread because it will require more gridlock and frustration over the next 18 to 24 months.
  • New Lost Hills bridge a ‘safe’ alternative. When it’s completed in about two years, the new Lost Hills bridge will have five traffic lanes, two bike paths and a sidewalk, making the passage across the 101 Freeway safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The Lost Hills interchange is a main access point for drivers traveling to western Calabasas and Malibu. The bridge carries almost 30,000 vehicles each day and is considered too small for the high demand.
  • Freeway ramp facelift delayed . Beautification plans for the First Street interchange have been pushed back at the request of the Simi Valley City Council. The proposed $822,500 interchange facelift includes planting low-maintenance, drought tolerant plants and trees on the site, said Ron Fuchiwaki, Simi Valley’s director of public works. The proposal also includes an additional $252,000 worth of maintenance and upkeep for the next seven years.
  • Somis Road intersection to be redesigned. Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Department of Transportation will move forward as early as May to construct a realignment of the Donlon Road and Highway 118 intersection to line up with Somis Road (Highway 34). The purpose of the project is to improve safety at the intersection by eliminating the offset between Donlon and Somis roads. Construction will take about eight months. Shoulder widening along Highway 118 will occur at night to minimize disruption to traffic.
  • The Panhandle Freeway and the Revolt That Saved the Park. Early this year, fresh talk of building a second BART tube to connect northwest San Francisco with the rest of the system garnered attention. But you can find other grand transit visions going back a century or more, many of which could have drastically changed the landscape of the city. From the 1910s through the 1960s, the thinking mostly involved building highways and freeways for cars, such as the “Divisional Highway” plan of the 1920s that would have gone through the Castro and up Divisadero to the Golden Gate.
  • MTA’s toll-lane project may be a victim of its own success. The conversion of the 110 Freeway’s carpool lanes into toll lanes was not without bumps: Some Angelenos feared that adding tolls to the Los Angeles County freeway network would further divide rich and poor commuters. Others groused that freeways should be free. But two years later, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority project is on the cusp of becoming a victim of its own success: So many drivers now steer into the Harbor Freeway’s northbound toll lanes to escape morning traffic jams that the paid route is slowing down too. Over the course of a year, even as the per-mile toll crept toward the maximum, traffic in the paid lanes increased by almost 20% and speeds began to slow, officials say.

I Support 99 Seat Theatre in Los AngelesTheatre and highways: a lovely pair. From the Road Theatre Company in North Hollywood to the Route 66 Theatre in Chicago; from classic stories about the road such as “The Grapes of Wrath” (which takes place along Route 66 and off Route 99) to more modern parodies such as “CHiP: The Musical” (which played the Falcon — itself near Route 134 — a few years ago). Here in Los Angeles there are loads of small theatres directly on or near streets that used to be state highways: From REP East, on former Route 126; the large cluster of theatres along Lankersheim Blvd (the former state route that became Route 170); the Odyssey Theatre complex along former Route 7 (what become I-405) in West LA; to the theatre district along Santa Monica Blvd (former Route 2 and US 66) in Hollywood. These are all 99 seat and under theatres, and they are theatres whose existence is threatened by a proposal from AEA. This proposal would require these theatres to pay their actors minimum wage for rehearsals and performances, raising their costs overnight at least 10 fold — or more, depending on the number of AEA actors. On the surface, the union is doing this to protect “the dignity of actors” (even though the actors in Los Angeles do not want it, and being paid minimum wage when other venues pay much more is an odd definition of “dignity”); underneath, the real reason may be buried in the small print: if the theatre treats the actor as employee and there is an AEA contract, the AEA gets paid its fees first (whereas it gets little now). The larger community — from actors to producers to stage managers to creatives to audiences are saying, collectively, “Change is needed, but not this change.” We want to rework how intimate theatre is done, but not with this heavy handed solution forced from non-Californians. Learn more about the controversy at the I Love 99 website, and follow their Facebook group and Twitter feed.  If you are an AEA member, vote “No” (and tell your friends). If you are not, spread the word.

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California Highway Headlines for February 2015

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Mar 03, 2015 @ 5:48 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingIf you’re reading this post, one of two thoughts are going through your mind. You might be thinking, “Wait a minute‽ I thought this was a blog about theatre.” If that’s you, calm down. I talk about many things in the blog — not just theatre — but I’m going add something just for you at the end. Alternatively, you might be thinking “About damn time. This is a site about highways, and we’ve had precious little highway stuff.” To you, I would agree. A lot of that is due to the changing budgets — we’re seeing less funds for roads, and the nature of work funded today tends not to be the work that reaches the threshhold for the highway pages. February has been a quiet month. So let’s go through what few headlines I have, and then I want to alert you to an issue of interest to everyone — and I’ll connect both highways and theatres! I promise!

  • Caltrans Making Case To Implode Part Of Old Bay Bridge. Part of the old Bay Bridge may be brought down with explosives. Caltrans says the explosives would be used to remove a large concrete pillar from the old eastern span.
  • Richmond-San Rafael Bridge closer to getting new lane, bike path. An extra lane of traffic and a new bike path are a vote, and about three years, away from coming to an increasingly congested bay crossing — the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. A committee of the Bay Area Toll Authority approved $4.65 million in funding Wednesday to complete the design of a new eastbound lane and a bike and pedestrian lane in both directions. The full board is expected to approve the plan when it meets Feb. 25.
  • Say Goodbye to Those Pretty Lights on the Bay Bridge . If you notice a pall cast over San Francisco next month, it’s because it will be literally darker here after the famous Bay Lights are turned off — for now. Known for its luminosity and picture-perfect profile, the brilliant display, which consists of 25,000 LED white lights running 1.8 miles across the western span of the Bay Bridge, was installed in 2013, making it the world’s largest LED light sculpture.
  • The Story of the Cahuenga Pass. The story of Cahuenga Pass is featured on the cover of this 1949 issue of California Highways.

I Support 99 Seat Theatre in Los AngelesTheatre and highways: a lovely pair. From the Road Theatre Company in North Hollywood to the Route 66 Theatre in Chicago; from classic stories about the road such as “The Grapes of Wrath” (which takes place along Route 66 and off Route 99) to more modern parodies such as “CHiP: The Musical” (which played the Falcon — itself near Route 134 — a few years ago). Here in Los Angeles there are loads of small theatres directly on or near streets that used to be state highways: From REP East, on former Route 126; the large cluster of theatres along Lankersheim Blvd (the former state route that became Route 170); the Odyssey Theatre complex along former Route 7 (what become I-405) in West LA; to the theatre district along Santa Monica Blvd (former Route 2 and US 66) in Hollywood. These are all 99 seat and under theatres, and they are theatres whose existence is threatened by a proposal from AEA. This proposal would require these theatres to pay their actors minimum wage for rehearsals and performances, raising their costs overnight at least 10 fold — or more, depending on the number of AEA actors. On the surface, the union is doing this to protect “the dignity of actors” (even though the actors in Los Angeles do not want it); underneath, the real reason may be buried in the small print: if the theatre treats the actor as employee and there is an AEA contract, the AEA gets paid its fees first (whereas it gets little now). The larger community — from actors to producers to stage managers to creatives to audiences are saying, collectively, “Change is needed, but not this change.” We want to rework how intimate theatre is done, but not with this heavy handed solution forced from non-Californians. Learn more about the controversy at the I Love 99 website, and follow their Facebook group and Twitter feed.  If you are an AEA member, vote “No” (and tell your friends). If you are not, spread the word.

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