Observations Along the Road

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

California Highway Headlines for December 2016

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Dec 28, 2016 @ 5:15 pm PDT

Another year has come to an end. 2016 has been a tumultuous year, with seemingly a larger share of significant deaths (although perhaps it wasn’t 2016’s fault), a transformative election (from California’s point of view, not transformative in a good way), and significantly decreased funding for highway repairs and improvement (although there were some bright notes at the end of the year). Here are the headlines from the last month of the year:

  • New freeway connectors help reduce border congestion. Construction crews just wrapped up a year-long project that will help reduce congestion at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Three freeway connectors that link SR 905 and SR 11 to the northbound South Bay Expressway opened to traffic today.
  • Richmond-San Rafael bridge corridor work to be topic of open houses. A pair of open houses on access improvement work planned for the portion of Interstate 580 along the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge corridor will be held next week in Richmond and San Rafael. The Richmond open house is 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 in the council chamber at City Hall, 450 Civic Center Plaza. The San Rafael meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fifth Ave.
  • Caltrans outlines Riverside, San Bernardino District 8 freeway projects in next 5 years. A list and a map showing 20 Southwest Riverside County Caltrans District 8 freeway projects either underway or planned for the next five years now available from the district offices in San Bernardino were handed out at a Riverside County District 3 Municipal Advisory Council meeting in Anza Nov. 9. The information is available on request from residents in Riverside and San Bernardino County. Caltrans District 8 is a part of the state transportation agency’s efforts to be more transparent with their projects. The district offices are located at 464 W. 4th Street in San Bernardino or and can be reached by calling (909) 383-4646.

  • Roadshow: Calaveras Boulevard remains the forgotten freeway. Hey, Gary, I will skip the sarcasm in this letter. I have to deal with Highway 237, also known as Calaveras Boulevard.
  • Major 91 Express Lanes Paving Completed in Record Time. For the first time in its 21-year history, the entire 91 Express Lanes has been repaved. Working together, agencies, project management partners and the construction contractor finished major repaving in only 8 weekends rather than the 10 weekends originally scheduled. The project paved 20 miles, restriped 110 miles, used 113,000 tons of asphalt and ground and replaced 375,000 square yards of pavement.
  • Moving Forward with Construction on I-5. An extended closure and pile driving are the latest steps toward the completion of a $230 million, 5.7-mile project to extend the I-5 carpool lanes from San Juan Capistrano to San Clemente. Currently closed, the Camino de Estrella loop on-ramp to northbound I-5 is scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Crews are reconstructing the portion of the ramp where it meets the freeway. Motorists are being detoured to southbound I-5 and Avenida Vista Hermosa to access northbound I-5.
  • State Transportation Commission Funds $236 Million to Fix Traffic, Repair Roads. Continuing the push to rebuild and maintain California’s infrastructure, the California Transportation Commission has today allocated $236 million to 40 transportation projects that will alleviate traffic delays, repair aging roads and bridges and encourage bicycling and walking.
  • Highway 4 extension to open soon. Representatives from San Joaquin County and Caltrans expect a freeway ramp extension to the Port of Stockton will be open to motorists by the end of the year. Caltrans and the San Joaquin Council of Governments on Friday held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the Highway 4 Ramp Extension on the yet-to-be open roadway that extends the Crosstown Freeway west from Fresno Avenue to Navy Drive.
  • 1938 Chevron map of Fresno California. 1938 Chevron map of Fresno California by HM Gousha’ featuring US 99 alignment North to South Railroad Ave, Belmont Traffic circle, North H Street, Divisadero Street, Broadway, Cherry Ave, Hazel & Church Ave, Railroad Ave.
  • Troubling sign for Mill Valley: Caltrans’ exit to nowhere. A “Mill Valley Road” sign erected in recent days along northbound Highway 101 has drivers scratching their heads. There is no such road in Marin. Caltrans spokesman Steve Williams acknowledged the goof, but he was not sure how it occurred. The agency promises a fix in the coming days. Caltrans is in the process of changing out signs throughout the county to ones made with a better reflector material.
  • Caltrans Introduces SR-67 ‘Channelizer’ Project. Caltrans held an open house at Olive Peirce Middle School Dec. 7 to introduce a State Route 67 Centerline Project that proposes to install “channelizers” between Willow Road in Lakeside and Shady Oaks Drive in Ramona. The project is also set to install outside shoulder rumble strips and fixed changeable message signs with closed-circuit cameras that will monitor the highway.
  • Marin drivers could see toll increase to fund Novato Narrows and other projects. Voters in Marin and other Bay Area counties might be asked to add up to $3 to bridge tolls to fund a host of transportation projects in the region, including completion of the Novato Narrows freeway widening project. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday began discussing plans to seek state legislation to allow it to ask voters for a toll increase in 2018. Those talks could start as soon as next month. The ballot measure would be tallied regionally among all nine Bay Area counties and would need a simple majority to pass.
  • Bid protest could delay Golden Gate Bridge suicide net. The long-planned suicide net for the Golden Gate Bridge could face more delays after a protest filed by one of the two project bidders may result in both bids being tossed out. If the protest is found to have merit, “the suicide deterrent would then be delayed a year or more, as we’d need to go through a new bid process,” said Priya Clemens, spokesperson for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
  • The end of Gribblenation. Gribblenation is being phased out. Gribblenation.com is going offline now and Gribblenation.net will be around until January 2017.
  • Caltrans Begins Selling Off Homes Along Proposed 710 Freeway Extension. Caltrans has started to sell off 42 homes it bought decades ago in anticipation of the planned State Route 710 extension through Pasadena, South Pasadena and Alhambra. “The selling of these properties — that have been owned by the state for six decades — is about keeping our promise to the community to help it create a neighborhood they can be proud of,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly.
  • Bay Area drivers could see $3 bridge toll increase. Voters in Bay Area counties might be asked to add up to $3 to bridge tolls to fund a host of transportation projects in the region, including completion of the Novato Narrows freeway widening project. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday began discussing plans to seek state legislation to allow it to ask voters for a toll increase in 2018. Those talks could start as soon as next month. The ballot measure would be tallied regionally among all nine Bay Area counties and would need a simple majority to pass.
  • Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier construction to start in 2017. A contractor for the Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier project is expected to be named Friday, with construction to begin in 2017 after decades of emotional debate. The bridge board’s Building and Operating Committee voted to recommend the work go to Oakland-based Shimmick/Danny’s Joint Venture, which bid $142 million for the barrier work in July. It was the lower of two bids. The original budget for the work was $84 million, which included contingency work.
  • Construction company for Golden Gate Bridge suicide net to be chosen today. After years of delay, a contractor has been tentatively selected to build a suicide deterrent net for the Golden Gate Bridge. That company is likely to be Oakland-based Shimmick Construction Company, Inc./Danny’s Construction Company LLC, a Joint Venture, which pledged to build the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project for $142 million.
  • Hwy 101 in Gaviota is State Scenic Highway. The Director of the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has informed the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors (Board) that Highway 101 along the Gaviota Coast is California’s newest officially designated State Scenic Highway. The designated segment travels through one of the longest remaining rural coastlines in Southern California along 21 miles of Highway 101 from the City of Goleta’s western boundary to Route 1 at Las Cruces. This landmark designation was made possible by a partnership between the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development Department, Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr and Caltrans Landscape Architecture Division.
  • Truckers, motorists deal with Highway 299 closure. A Trinity County sheriff’s deputy was one of the dozens of motorists who got stuck on the wrong side of a Highway 299 rock slide Monday. The deputy was headed east toward Weaverville when one of two slides sent rocks, dirt and debris tumbling down the hill onto the roadway below, said Lynn Ward, a spokeswoman for the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Reversible lanes on Dumbarton? There’s a chance. With unprecedented traffic jams clogging California highways, transportation planners have new marching orders: Consider reversible lanes on any major upcoming project, and up next is the Dumbarton Bridge. A bill signed into law this year by Gov. Jerry Brown has set into motion a study by SamTrans in San Mateo County to convert the six-lane span from Fremont to the Peninsula to four westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes in the morning, then flip-flopping that configuration in the afternoon. A movable median barrier like that on the Golden Gate Bridge would be used.
  • Interstate 9 Proposal. The most recent proposal for a new interstate in California is a proposal to upgrade CA 99 between I-5 and Stockton. CA 99 was once US 99, a US highway that was decommissioned due to its close proximity to I-5 except for this stretch. This year the final crossroad was removed from CA 99 which completed the freeway upgrade for the route. Cal trans would like the route to be signed as I-9 but it may be I-7 instead. We have more info on the proposal on our site below.
  • Los Angeles Drivers on the 405 Ask: Was $1.6 Billion Worth It?. It is the very symbol of traffic and congestion. Interstate 405, or the 405, as it is known by the 300,000 drivers who endure it morning and night, is the busiest highway in the nation, a 72-mile swerving stretch of pavement that crosses the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles.
  • Aboriginal Pathways and Trading Routes Were California’s First Highways. On July 16, 1769, the Spanish Franciscan friar Junipero Serra planted a cross and founded the Mission San Diego near the Kumeyaay village of Nipawai. Over the next 54 years, friars would establish 20 more missions and military forts and call the road connecting them El Camino Real (the King’s Highway). But for thousands of years before the Spanish conquest, California had been crisscrossed in every direction by hundreds of Native pathways and trading routes, many of which would reach far beyond the state’s present borders.
  • Permanent Fresno Avenue Off- and On- Ramp Closures. The current off- and On- ramps from SR 4 to Fresno Ave will be permanently closed on December 22.
  • New Sixth Street bridge will be delayed until late 2020. The Sixth Street Viaduct replacement project is removing a historic but decaying bridge over the Los Angeles River and putting a striking, swoopy new viaduct in its place. Angelenos will have to wait a little longer than expected to drive, walk, and bike across that new bridge. The Downtown News reports that the project is now expected to cost an additional $36 million—and take eight months longer to complete.
  • New push to rename L.A. freeway after Barack Obama. There are Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards in Los Angeles, Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive in Manhattan and Gerald Ford Drive in Rancho Mirage. Now, state Sen. Anthony Portantino has introduced a resolution to name a portion of the 134 Freeway that runs from Glendale and into Eagle Rock the President Barack H. Obama Freeway.
  • State Senator Wants To Rename Part Of The 134 Freeway For Obama. If one California state senator has his way, a portion of the 134 freeway could soon be renamed for President Barack Obama. State Senator Anthony Portantino introduced a resolution this week that would rename the stretch of the 134 between Interstate 210 in Pasadena and State Route 2 in Glendale for Obama, according to CBS 2. That part of the 134 freeway goes through Eagle Rock, where the president attended Occidental College from 1979 to 1981 (he transferred to Columbia in 1981).
  • Caltrans Allocates $236M for 40 Projects. Continuing the push to rebuild and maintain California’s infrastructure, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has allocated $236 million to 40 transportation projects that will alleviate traffic delays, repair aging roads and bridges and encourage bicycling and walking.
  • BOX CULVERTS TO BE INSTALLED ON INTERSTATE 15 IN FONTANA . The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will install two box culverts under Interstate 15 (I-15) as part of the Duncan Canyon Road Interchange Project. The master planned storm drain facility was combined with the Duncan Canyon Road Interchange Project to minimize impacts to motorists on the freeway mainline.

Note: Seeing this posted before the end of December does mean that I’m in the process of working on the highway pages. All of the headlines above have been incorporated, as appropriate. I have ignored a number of articles about temporary closures due to weather. Additional headlines will be saved for the January 2017 post.

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