Observations Along the Road

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

California Highway Headlines for June 2017

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jul 01, 2017 @ 7:09 am PDT

Turn up the heat — summer has begun in Southern California. Brush fires are in full force, smoke is in the air, the freeways are packed, and it’s hot. What better than some highway headlines…

  • Car talk: Caltrans Collects Comments to Improve a High Desert Highway. Highway 395 runs along California’s eastern side—a backbone highway figuratively—and a lonely one, too. Not as lonely as Nevada’s Highway 50—the so-called “Loneliest Road in America,” but Highway 395 travels a route through country that is high desert and scrub, shuttered towns and isolated cattle ranches with those sweeping, circular wheel lines that water the heck out of alfalfa fields.
  • San Francisco-sized population at Tahoe? Bridge could have changed lake forever. Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay is perhaps the most spectacular nook in one of the world’s beautiful alpine basins. But it can be an elusive nook. This winter, avalanches closed the highway above the bay for weeks, severing the loop road around the lake. What if the highway didn’t have to make that tightrope walk across the steep mountainside behind the bay? What if it simply ran straight and low along the lakeshore instead, like it does elsewhere in the basin? Of course, that would mean a bridge across the mouth of Emerald Bay.
  • Is Big Sur’s Highway 1 worth saving?. Ever since a thin ledge of pavement was poured along Big Sur’s cliffs, opening the rugged region to tourism in the 1920s and 1930s, California has fiercely fought to save Highway 1. And Mother Nature just shrugs it off. More than 60 times in its history, the Big Sur route has been buried by landslides. Even before this winter’s storms, about $130 million was budgeted over the next decade for repair, replacement and realignment.

  • New study looks at ways to stop suicides off Coronado bridge. State transportation officials expect to begin work this summer on a study of ways to deter suicides off the Coronado bridge. Long sought by members of the island community, the study will evaluate the feasibility, cost, impacts and risks of fencing or other barriers. Steven Shultz, a Caltrans spokesman, said the study will take about 10 months to complete. Its cost has not yet been determined, pending final decisions on the scope of the work.
  • Major road projects aim to reduce Mission Valley congestion. Two expensive road projects that aim to improve traffic flow in notoriously congested Mission Valley took key steps forward last week. The City Council approved money for long-awaited upgrades to the Friars Road/state Route 163 interchange, and a council committee approved a separate plan to widen westbound Interstate 8 by one lane between Taylor Street and Interstate 5.
  • VTA considers flexible commuter lanes on Highway 87. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Jose city officials recently approved a $225,000 study that will examine the feasibility of creating flex lanes on Highway 87. The study will focus on traffic congestion along the 87 corridor between highways 85 and 101 and explore different ways to alleviate traffic jams.
  • Lack of bidders delays American Canyon road project. For the second time this spring, a construction project in American Canyon has encountered delays or higher costs because contractors were too busy with other work to bid. The snags have demonstrated the local impact of much larger issues in the construction industry. Last week, Public Works Director Jason Holley asked the City Council for permission to reject bids for a project expanding the eastern portion of the Highway 29 and Napa Junction Road intersection.
  • Storms took $30 million to $40 million toll on Napa County roads. Big winter storms that triggered mudslides took an estimated $30 million to $40 million toll on Napa County rural roads damaged at more than 40 locations. Public Works Director Steven Lederer recently released this estimate following one of the wettest winters on record, with the precise number to emerge as each repair project is further defined. Finishing up the bulk of the repair work could take two to three years, he said.
  • Transportation Librarians Map. Shows the location of transportation librarians. Learn about the Transportation Division of the Special Libraries Association at http://transportation.sla.org/.
  • Bill would order Caltrans to stop raising rents on homes along scuttled 710 Freeway extension. Caltrans tenants living in homes owned by Caltrans along the defunct 710 Freeway tunnel route in El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena welcomed a California bill introduced Thursday that would freeze rents charged by the state transportation agency. Senate Bill 400, authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, would stop what has been common practice by Caltrans to raise rents on tenants by 21 percent each year in order to bring rates up to market value, according to Caltrans.
  • Ten Lane Widening Planned for Highway 101 in San Mateo County. Still seeking to widen Highway 101 from eight to ten lanes, Caltrans and San Mateo County’s transportation agencies are now halfway through the required environmental review. At a community meeting on Wednesday evening, agency officials gave an update on the project [PDF] to widen the highway by adding express lanes, which allow buses and carpools for free but charge a fee to solo drivers during congested hours.
  • Future Of Famous Mural Alongside 91 Freeway Uncertain As Restoration Activists Face Roadblock. A 41-year-old mural in Corona’s Prado Dam that residents throughout the area want to see preserved but could be dismantled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not qualify as a historic landmark, the Corps announced Tuesday.
  • Widened Highway 76 open from Interstate 5 to Interstate 15. State Route 76 is now two lanes in each direction between Interstate 5 and Interstate 15. A grand opening ceremony to celebrate the completion of the final phase between South Mission Road and I-15 was held May 16 near the intersection of the old alignment, which is now an access road off the freeway, with Sage Road. Because the highway was already open to traffic, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was replaced by the planting of drought-tolerant shrubs which will be used to landscape the area.
  • Enjoy the empty road and reach the Pinnacles in the cowboy country of California Highway 25. San Lucas to Gilroy, Calif., on California Highway 25.
  • US 6 – Santa Clara River Bridge – A Closer Look. US Highway 6, now known as Sierra Highway, crossed the Santa Clara River near Solemint, California. The bridge it originally used, constructed in 1938, is planned to be replaced in the near future. This bridge is one of the oldest remaining in the Santa Clarita area and is the longest span on former US 6 in California. The bridge has remained almost intact from its original construction. The only changes have been minor to the bridge itself. The highway, however, has changed quite a bit. In 1968, Sierra Highway, then State Route 14, was widened to four lanes. A second bridge for northbound traffic was added, with the original bridge being used for southbound traffic.
  • Hidden History: Is this a mile marker in Pasadena? Or a tombstone?. I’m standing near the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Holliston Street in Pasadena, in front of a McDonald’s. In front of me is a 3-foot tall concrete tablet that looks like a tombstone. On the face of the concrete tablet is the number 11 with a circle around it, the numbers 220 and 200, and the letters “F” and “B.” That’s it. What is this thing?
  • Sinkhole Forces Closure Of 14 Miles Of Angeles Crest Highway. A sinkhole was discovered on Angeles Crest Highway (State Route 2) on Thursday, prompting the closure of a 14 mile stretch of the road extending from Blue Ridge Road to Islip Saddle. The sinkhole appeared west of the Grassy Hollow Visitors Center. Highway 2 cuts through the San Gabriel Mountains and is popular with hikers and bikers on their way to trailheads. The section of the road is normally closed during winter months, according to ABC.
  • Getting to know the Crenshaw Cowboy of the Wild (I-10) West. Have you unlocked the potential hiding in your creative mind? Local performer, artist, and curbside prophet Lovell, also known as the “Crenshaw Cowboy,” wants to know!
  • Caltrans to begin property acquisitions along Highway 174. Collisions occur along the two miles of State Route 174 between Maple Way and You Bet Road in Nevada County at a rate that exceeds the average for similar types of highways in California, according to the California Department of Transportation. In order to reduce that rate and create a safer environment, Caltrans plans to complete road improvement projects along that portion of the highway over the next two and a half years.
  • L.A. mayor thinks a monorail over the 405 Freeway could tame traffic gridlock. Politicians have long sought to link the San Fernando Valley and the Westside via a rail line so commuters can avoid the 405 Freeway’s notorious traffic. On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti raised a new idea to relieve the traffic bottleneck.
  • 4,000-ton rock slide across Highway 140 closes entrance to Yosemite National Park. A 4,000-ton rock slide has forced the closure of a main highway leading to Yosemite National Park. Park officials said El Portal Road and the Arch Rock Entrance on Highway 140 will remain closed through the weekend. It is unclear when the road will reopen. The massive rock slide was reported about noon Monday from the “Parkline Slab” cliff, about a mile east of the park’s boundary on Highway 140, according to Yosemite National Park.
  • R.I.P. Highways of Colorado website. As of today mesalek.com and all its sites, including Highways of Colorado, have been discontinued. 🙁 It had been two years since I had made any serious effort at updating it, and I cannot justify the cost of hosting it anymore given other commitments in my life. The site had been up in some form since 1997, so it’s been a good run. Thanks for all the visits and information exchanged over the years.
  • Highway 17 delays expected as route to Santa Cruz is repaired. If traveling to Santa Cruz this week, pack some patience. Caltrans will be making emergency pavement repairs Monday through Thursday that will close the southbound slow lane from as early as 7:30 a.m. until around 2 p.m. between Summit Road and Vine Hill Road.
  • Marin poll cites Highway 101 clot as top commuter concern. Cutting traffic on Highway 101 is the top concern among Marin residents, but most county commuters are solo drivers, according to a new poll conducted for the Transportation Authority of Marin. The transportation authority had the poll commissioned to gauge support for potential sales tax measures in November 2018 or November 2020.
  • Marin carpool lane hours still under discussion. A debate on whether to extend carpool lane hours in Marin continues as analysts gather more data before a final decision. In recent weeks government workers have appeared on Marin freeway overpasses in fluorescent vests to count traffic, gathering data to determine if extending carpool hours would help traffic flow more smoothly on Highway 101.
  • Big Sur’s brave new routes cross epic landslide. California’s restless new stretch of beachfront property will soon have a road. To erect motion-sensing radar out on the tip of a 13-acre peninsula created by Big Sur’s dangerous Mud Creek slide, crews are planning a route across the loose debris field created by one of California’s largest coastal landslides in recent history.
  • I-5 lane closures to begin in July as part of freeway rehabilitation project. Lanes of the 5 freeway will be intermittently closed for the next two years due to Caltrans’ I-5 Roadway Rehabilitation Project in North Los Angeles County/Santa Clarita. A total of 15.8 miles of freeway—from 0.5 miles south of the 5 freeway and 14 freeway interchange and 1.7 miles north of the 5 freeway Lake Hughes Road undercrossing—will be updated by the Road Rehabilitation Project.
  • Sorry, Garcetti: Monorail Is a Non-Starter for The 405. The city is making major progress connecting its rail system to places Angelenos want and need to go: the beach, USC, the UCLA area, LAX. The Sepulveda Pass remains the big unanswered question. How will Metro—infused with cash from Measure M—traverse the mountainous area and connect the Valley to Westwood? Mayor Eric Garcetti recently told KNX-AM that a monorail above the 405 could be the solution, since a regular, above-ground light rail or heavy rail train can’t ascend the steep incline of the Pass. Taking a Disney-esque ride to work every day sounds fun, but it is probably as realistic as a catapult station being built near the Geffen Playhouse.
  • Two sides still fighting over 710 Freeway extension turn to attorneys, Legislature to lobby for Caltrans vote. The fight over the completion of the 710 Freeway is not over. Despite a historic vote by LA Metro to reject a car tunnel to close the 4.5-mile gap between El Sereno and Pasadena, recent moves from cities and local legislators indicate the two rival camps are still jockeying to see the project built, or kill it for good.
  • We found the guerrilla artists who snuck a mermaid on the westbound 10 Freeway. The first time I saw her, I wasn’t sure if it was a figment of my imagination: a lone mermaid, casually swimming along a retaining wall on the 10 Freeway. But over the last several months, I have come to expect the sight of her on the Westbound 10 in the vicinity of Cheviot Hills — a surreptitiously installed sculpture of a half-human siren beckoning us out of our cars and into cool water. The mermaid (she has no official title) turns out to be the work of a street art collective known as Bohemia Incorporated. For a couple of years, the group has been illicitly installing three-dimensional sculptures around Los Angeles — in the dead public spaces at freeway intersections and on freeway retaining walls.
  • City of Rosemead Won’t Abandon its Pro 710-Tunnel Position, Even After Metro Defunds It. The City of Rosemead has decided to hire a law firm to analyze legal issues related to the State Route 710 Project, an indication that the city still wants to pursue the tunnel alternative to the freeway extension, much of which will have to be constructed in Pasadena’s and South Pasadena’s jurisdiction if it does proceed.
  • Highway 101 Along Gaviota Coast Gets New Scenic Designation. From sun-soaked beaches to the visual geology of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the route wandering through some of Santa Barbara County’s most stunning landscape has become California’s newest official scenic highway. The 21-mile stretch of Highway 101 meanders west from the city of Goleta to the interchange with State Route 1 north of the Gaviota Tunnel.
  • Learn about the I-605/Katella Avenue Interchange Project. OCTA, in partnership with Caltrans, has initiated an Improvement Project to enhance safety, smooth traffic flow, and improve pedestrian and bicycle pathways through the I-605/Katella Avenue interchange in the City of Los Alamitos. The project is in the preliminary engineering and environmental review stage to identify potential significant environmental effects and ways to avoid or significantly reduce those effects.
  • Discuss Proposed Improvements to SR-57 on June 22. Please join us on Thursday, June 22, to learn about proposed improvements to the Orange Freeway (SR-57) between the exits of Orangewood and Katella avenues. OCTA, in partnership with Caltrans, is in the initial phase of evaluating the potential benefits and effects of extending the fifth general-purpose lane of northbound SR-57 from Orangewood to Katella Avenue.
  • What’s With That Mermaid On The 10 Freeway?. You may have caught sight of it while driving on the 10 Freeway: a mermaid swimming against the current of traffic, affixed to the side of a retaining wall. This anomaly can be found by the westbound lanes on the 10 in the Cheviot Hills area, after the National Boulevard exit.
  • Plan to cap the 101 freeway in Downtown LA with a park moves forward. The plan to build a park over a section of the 101 freeway through Downtown may sound far-fetched, but it’s making progress. “We are in a strong outreach phase to bring awareness now that we have completed all three phases of the parks analysis, feasibility and viability,” Elizabeth Peterson-Gower, president of Friends of Park 101, tells Curbed.
  • Tiburon Boulevard traffic plan taking shape. County officials are preparing a multi-jurisdictional agreement to study a project designed to unclog a key artery from Tiburon that leads onto Highway 101. Belvedere, Tiburon and Mill Valley will soon be considering whether to adopt a memorandum of understanding that would lock in the agreement to study a project to widen a portion of Tiburon Boulevard.
  • Topanga route named state Scenic Highway. Topanga residents are an eclectic, private group who like to take the road less traveled, but lately they’re happy to go with the flow and join the others who are heaping praise on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, the main thoroughfare that runs through their community. State Route 27 is a popular, scenic byway that connects the Valley to the sea, and on June 16, business and government leaders gathered to dedicate a portion of the road as an official California Scenic Highway.
  • Bay Bridge Steel Soon to Return to the Public — As Art. The old East span of the Bay Bridge may now live only in memory — but some 450 tons of its steel beams will carry on — as public art. Over the last week, artists representing 14 art projects turned out at a Caltrans yard in Oakland — which sits in view of where the old span was replaced by a sleek new one — to claim their allotment of the bridge’s salvaged steel.
  • Roadshow: I-680 express lanes may open in September. Q: When is Caltrans going to activate the express lanes on Interstate 680 between Walnut Creek and Pleasanton?
  • 91 Freeway toll lanes getting another rate increase in July. Get ready for toll lane rates on the 91 freeway to go up again. Since opening in March, the new 91 Freeway toll lanes have already seen more than one rate increase (and some decreases). Now, come July 1, the price is going up again.
  • CALTRANS’ ROAD PROJECTS IN TUOLUMNE COUNTY. Caltrans has a number of significant highway projects that are under way or heading to construction in Tuolumne County. Currently, Caltrans is rehabilitating the State Route 120/James E. Roberts Bridge on State Route 120 (SR-120), while installing guardrails and making safety improvements on SR-108.
  • Here’s how you might see California road signs in a whole new way. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that 91 percent of summer trips will be via car and 250 to 499 miles each way. We offer a few things to contemplate while you are on the road.
  • EPIC files lawsuit against CalTrans road adjustment. An ongoing legal battle between the California Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Information Center has delayed adjustments to the stretch of Highway 101 that goes through Richardson Grove State Park. The most recent lawsuit was filled in the Humboldt County Superior Court on June 23. CalTrans representative Eli Rohl said that the discussion has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade.
  • Final price of Willits bypass $159 million higher than reported. The controversial 6-mile Highway 101 bypass around Willits cost 50 percent more than what was reported by Caltrans when it opened the freeway last year, raising its total price tag to $459 million and fueling pointed criticism of the state agency. Caltrans officials say the $159 million discrepancy stems from unintentionally failing to include the department’s own staff time in publicly released financial reports. Reporting staff time on that particular project wasn’t required by law, but it was internal Caltrans policy, officials said.
  • Bakersfield freeway building: What’s done, what’s to come. How far has $630 million in Thomas Roads Improvement Program money gone upgrading Bakersfield’s major transportation corridors? A long, long way, if you step back and look at the TRIP projects the city has finished and has in the works, which we like to do every couple years.
  • Oops: New California highway signs misspelled on Central Coast. A misspelling in two new highway signs could cost Californians on the Central Coast thousands of dollars, Caltrans said. A new sign along Highway 1 in Monterey County, near Sand City, tells drivers that the exit for Seaside and Del “Ray” Oaks is coming up in 1 1/4 miles.
  • How to get to cut-off Big Sur: Trail opens to public on July 1. For the first time since fierce winter storms destroyed a bridge, southern Big Sur is again opening to the public. On Saturday, a steep half-mile trail across Pfeiffer Canyon — connecting the two segments of Big Sur severed by the downed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge — will open to everyone. For months, access to the trail has been restricted to local residents and workers.
  • Golden Gate tolls rise to bridge gap in budget. The toll is going up by at least 25 cents on the Golden Gate Bridge, the latest step in a series of increases designed to meet a long-running budget shortfall by the overseer of the iconic span. Starting Monday, the majority of bridge traffic — two-axle cars — will be charged the increased rate to cross one of the world’s most famous bridges, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
  • Headed South? Get Ready For 405 Toll Lanes. The drive from Orange County to Long Beach can be a bear. Get ready, Orange County, as relief is on the way thanks to Measure M. The half-cent transportation sales tax will assist in financing the project, along with combination of local, state and federal funds the OCTA said on their website.
  • Big Sur’s ‘Arleen’s Slide’ honors woman who protects drivers from falling rock. It was a just a hairline crack in the asphalt, but it caught flagger Arleen Guzzie’s notice as she parked her white Chevy truck this spring to control busy Highway 1 traffic along her beloved Big Sur coast. Each day, the crack widened. And grew longer. She watched as a pretty orange nasturtium flower slowly crept, oddly, down the ridge. Guzzie told her supervisors: The land is sinking.
  • How Sepulveda Canyon Became the 405. Today a river of concrete passes through Sepulveda Canyon, one of the three main portals between the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin. But as recently as 1934 that mighty river – the 405 freeway – was only a modest stream, a winding, unpaved road that snaked through the Santa Monica Mountains.
  • CHP Cracking Down On Growing Number Of Carpool-Lane Cheaters. The California Highway Patrol has launched a new effort to nab carpool cheaters amid a rise in tickets issued for HOV lane violations. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission says that carpool cheating is so prevalent, the agency went to lawmakers to ask for a crackdown.
  • Crews continue to dig out Highway 1 after massive landslide. California Department of Transportation crews are continuing their efforts to restore sections of California State Route 1 after last month’s major mudslide. The May 20 landslide dramatically reshaped the California coastline. lide material stretched out over 600 feet out into the ocean creating 15 acres of new land. A quarter-mile section of Highway 1 remains under rock and dirt 1,700 feet wide.

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