🛣 Headlines About California Highways for March 2020

Well, March certainly didn’t come in like a lion and leave like a lamb, did it? It came in like a lion, and left like a pride of angry, socially isolating, pissed off lions chafing at captivity.

For me, March started in Madison Wisconsin, and ended with me working from home, hardly out on the roads at all. But I’m luckier than so many others. I wish all who read this continued good health, and may we come through this stronger and with a desire to explore more of the highways of the great state of California. PS: I am working on a highway page update, but it is slow going. It will be done sometime in April.

As for the highway headlines: there are a lot fewer of them this month. Something else has crowded the highway news off the road (and the highway workers as well). But these headlines are (hopefully) a zone free of that contagion.

Here are your headlines about California’s Highways for March. As always, ready, set, discuss.

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register]

  • 💰/LAT Along a scenic highway, a road map of California’s hopes and anxieties. For nearly 300 miles along dramatic curves and desolate straightaways, State Route 33 passes seamlessly through California’s interior, exposing the attitudes and interests that divide it. A drive from the beaches of Ventura to the outskirts of Stockton, from Democratic strongholds into Trump country and back, reveals befuddlement over the state of politics in America. There’s a common desire to come together, but no agreement on how to get there.
  • Critics argue Gov. Newsom is diverting gas tax money to projects voters did not approve of. Gov. Gavin Newsom is coming under fire for an executive order he signed that redirects voter-approved gas taxes initially designed to expand transportation and infrastructure repair projects to “climate change”-related projects not authorized by the voters.  SB1, proposed by Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, was a gas tax repeal initiative, called the “Road Repair and Accountability Act.” Tax revenue from the bill would repair the state’s failing roads, highways and bridges.
  • 🚫/NVRAmerican Canyon’s general plan update will tackle the toughest issues. American Canyon leaders and citizens are imagining what schools, parks, utilities and traffic-slammed Highway 29 might—and should- look like in 2040. They are updating the city general plan, a task scheduled to take until summer 2022. The City Council last December approved hiring consultants Mintier Harnish to help at a cost of $1.5 million.
  • San Mateo County 101 Express Lanes Construction Update. Project construction from Whipple Avenue to I-380 in San Mateo County is underway! Caltrans is constructing express lanes on U.S. 101 from the San Mateo County/Santa Clara County line to I-380 in South San Francisco. Construction is expected to occur between 2019 and 2022.
  • Sound Wall Segments Being Built Along I-805. As part of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Interstate 805 South Corridor Enhancement Projects, SEMA Construction Inc. was tapped to build five separate sound wall segments along I-805 between Naples Street in the city of Chula Vista and state Route 54 (SR 54) in the city of National City.

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🛣 Headlines about California Highways – February 2020

February. A short month, but not so short on the highway headlines. Yes, even when I’m in the land of WisDOT, I’m posting headlines about my oh-so-warm California. Note that a few of these articles have less to do with highways, and more to do with things I need to remember for my website, such as the upcoming changes to Chrome related to images not served with HTTPS:.

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee]

  • Is Highway 154 Really the Blood Alley We All Think It Is?. Late last year, a 51-year-old Santa Barbara man was heading west on Highway 154 near Cachuma Lake. It was 7:15 p.m. on a Friday, and the weather was clear. According to witnesses, the driver was gunning his Lexus and trying to pass other cars along a bend of the two-lane road when he lost control and slammed broadside into an oak tree. He died at the scene. Officials said it was only dumb luck that no one else was hurt.Community reaction matched what’s often expressed after a serious 154 crash — the highway is too dangerous, authorities aren’t protecting the good drivers from the bad ones, and the problem has gotten worse over the years.
  • Public Feedback Sought on State Route 20 Project in Nevada County. Caltrans is hosting an open house in February to seek community comments about a proposed safety improvement project on State Route 20 in Nevada County. The event will be Monday, February 10, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Eric W. Rood Administrative Center, Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, 950 Maidu Avenue in Nevada City. Community members can view project displays and review materials, including environmental documents. Caltrans staff members will be available to answer questions and receive comments from the public.
  • Omega Curves Project on Route 20. (Twitter) Caltrans is seeking public feedback on an upcoming safety improvement project on SR-20 in Nevada County. Learn more about the Omega Curves Project at our upcoming open house Monday, February 10 from 5 – 6:30 pm.
  • Improvements Coming Soon to I-5 in South County. Today, nearly 360,000 motorists travel I-5 daily between SR-73 and El Toro Road. Transportation planners expect traffic volumes to grow 25 percent by 2045. To address this travel demand, OCTA and Caltrans are working together to implement the I-5 Widening project from SR-73 to El Toro Road. Construction will be done in three segments. Crews began work on the first segment from Oso Parkway to Alicia Parkway in 2019.
  • 💰/PE $210 million 10 Freeway fix underway between Beaumont, Palm Springs. Caltrans is launching a major $210 million pavement renovation project on the 10 Freeway, from Beaumont to Palm Springs. The work to repair and replace brittle sections of decades-old concrete is spread 17 miles between the 60 Freeway and Highway 111. Drivers will have to factor the project into desert travel plans through 2022, when work is scheduled to wrap up, officials said Wednesday, Feb. 5.

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🛣 Headlines about California Highways – January 2020

A new year. New beginnings. Maybe a site rework. Maybe not — I’ve been promising it for a while. But one thing I can promise is to keep collecting those highway headlines and sharing them with you. So as we enter 2020, here are some headlines about California’s numbered highways, together with a few other things of interest for my highway pages. As always, I welcome your discussion of these headlines. May your drives and explorations in 2020 be interesting, fruitful, and safe.

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee]

  • MTC: I-880 Express Lanes Between Milpitas, Oakland To Open In Summer 2020. Express lanes on Interstate Highway 880 between Milpitas and Oakland are scheduled to open late in the summer of 2020, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said. Workers are converting to express lanes the existing Highway 880 HOV lanes that run from Hegenberger Road in Oakland to Dixon Landing Road in Milpitas in the southbound direction and from Dixon Landing Road to Lewelling Boulevard in San Lorenzo in the northbound direction.
  • 💰SJMN Letter: Too few cyclists use the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike lane. Letter: Too few cyclists use the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike lane. Yet the MTC, Caltrans and elected officials spent $20M giving a third of the westbound car lanes to cyclists. Aug. 31, 1956: Gov. Goodwin Knight opens the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge. The July-August 1956 issue of the journal California Highway and Public Works stated “the structure will then provide two 36-foot roadways; three 12-foot lanes of traffic on the upper deck to San Rafael and the same provision on the lower deck to Richmond.” Now, 82,000 cars cross the bridge westbound daily, along with public bus lines and endless streams of trucks. Westbound rush-hour back-ups are a daily nightmare for commuters.
  • Granite Awarded $33 Million Highway Reconstruction Project in Central California. Granite (NYSE: GVA) has been awarded a contract by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for the reconstruction of four miles of State Route 99 (SR 99) near Kingsburg. A primary source of funding for this project is Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 that is expected to invest $54 billion over a ten-year period to improve California’s roads, freeways and bridges. Granite booked the $33 million contract in the fourth quarter of 2019. This four-mile project includes reconstructing two lanes in both directions of SR 99 with continuously reinforced concrete pavement as well as reconstructing ten off- and on-ramps with hot-mix asphalt.
  • More Toll Lanes Coming to California Freeways. “California is expanding toll lanes on freeways like never before, not just to raise revenue for transportation projects but to change behavior as well,” writes Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, a Metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times, in a comprehensive piece that covers Northern and Southern California.
  • California Transportation Plan (CTP) 2050 | Caltrans. The California Transportation Plan (CTP) 2050 is the state’s long-range transportation plan that establishes an aspirational vision that articulates strategic goals, policies, and recommendations to improve multimodal mobility and accessibility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the plan is to present innovative, sustainable, and integrated multimodal mobility solutions. These will help guide the planning and implementation of a low-carbon transportation system that fosters economic vitality, protects the environment and natural resources, and promotes health and well-being equitably for all Californians. The CTP 2050 update will focus on meeting current and emerging trends and challenges affecting transportation, including economic and job growth, air quality and climate impacts, new technologies, freight movement, transportation funding, and public health.
  • Big shakeup coming next week to major streets serving downtown Napa. The freeway entrance into downtown Napa will be shaken up next week with the debut of a second roundabout, then the one-way directions of First and Second streets flipping on Friday between California Boulevard and Jefferson Street.
    These will be the most significant traffic changes in the downtown area since First and Second in the business district became two-way in 2014 after being one-way for over a half century, said Eric Whan, the city’s deputy public works director.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – December 2019

Ah, the end of the teens. The 21st century is moving into the 20s. What a decade it has been.

As befits the winter months, things have been a bit quieter. But still there are headlines. I’ve also been working on the highway pages (although not all uploaded yet) to add pictures to all the naming resolutions, with the goal of putting faces with the names. If we’re going to go to the trouble of naming a highway after someone, we should know who that person is or was, and be able to look at their face and seem them as more than just a name we pass by at 60mph. These were people that contributed to society and were important to their family. Remembering is important.

In any case, here are the headlines about California Highways for December. Ready, set, discuss.

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: $LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune]

  • 💰 LAT / Toll lanes in the Sepulveda Pass? The 405 Freeway is moving in that direction. Los Angeles County spent 4½ years and more than $1.6 billion to widen the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. Now, the carpool lane born from that mega-project is facing a major change of its own: tolls. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in the early stages of planning to allow solo drivers in the 405’s carpool lanes, for a price. Similar programs on portions of the 110 and 10 freeways charge drivers a per-mile toll that changes based on traffic conditions.
  • A Line, making transit a habit, 405 ExpressLanes: Metro News Now, Dec. 2. I’m sure some of you reading this enjoyed some quality time sitting parked on the 405 freeway at some point in the last week. Thus you may be interested to know that the Metro Board on Thursday will consider a $27.5-million contract with WP USA to do the environmental document and other studies for the Sepulveda Pass ExpressLanes project, reports the LAT.
  • Metro eyes toll road on 105 in Downey. One of the best things about living in Downey is our freeway proximity. And that includes hopping on the 105 Freeway and a straight shot to LAX. That drive could get more complicated, however. The LA Times published a story today about Metro’s plans to add a toll lane to the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. At the end of the article is this revelation …
  • Metro Driving Toward Sepulveda Pass Toll Lanes On 405 Freeway. Toll lanes are being explored for one of the busiest freeways in the nation – the 405 Freeway in West Los Angeles. Metro is in the early stages of a plan to create 405 Freeway “fast lanes” that would give drivers willing to pay up a lane of their own.
  • Upgrade in Eureka. Times they are a-changin’! We’re aiming for another helpful upgrade in Eureka by the end of the year. Those that regularly use the Henderson Street intersection along U.S. Highway 101 know that traffic can back up there. …
  • Caltrans: Part of Henderson Street in Eureka to be made a one-way to reduce congestion. By the end of 2019, the California Dept. of Transportation plans to turn part of Henderson Street into a one-way route to alleviate traffic delays in the area. Caltrans said the area of Henderson Street between Highway 101 and Fairfield will be turned into three lanes, all going toward the highway.

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🛣 Updates to the California Highways Web Pages | August – November 2019

As promised, the posting of the November headlines was the lead in to the bigger post: the semi-periodic update to the California Highways web pages.  This took a month to work in: reviewing four months of headlines, loads of posts on AAroads, all the stuff the legislature has done, and the CTC minutes for August, October, and December. I’ve also started adding pictures, where I can, where there are naming resolutions — to put a face with the name. Here’s the summary of the changes. Lots of interesting stuff, if you read through.

It’s been a few months. That means it’s time for another update. But first, some site redesign news … which is still no news. I have written a Javascript routine to handle the redirects once I move the individual route pages to one per page, so that old links don’t break. But other aspects are still pending my learning more about responsive design, and figure out how I want to improve indexing of the original route pages (I want to make it so you can jump directly to a section or subsection). I also still need to figure out exactly how I want the site to look. On the editor front: I’m still using Amaya as the main editor even thought it is no longer updated. I’ve been experimenting with both BlueGriffon and Pinegrow to see which generates the cleanest code and is easiest to use. But each has their quirks in the code that they generate.

I’ve also been hesitant in this update because of the Caltrans rework I mentioned in the last update. Many typical resources and pages are not available and are still pending remediation. My offer still stands to Caltrans: I will be glad to host any unremediated information — or will find someone to do so if the information doesn’t fit in this site — pending remediation and rehosting on the Caltrans website. I am already hosting the Bridge Logs on my my Caltrans Resources page.

Moving on to the updates, starting with headlines, emailed items, and AAroads forum updates: 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. This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail) from Brian Scott Anderson(2), Mike Ballard(3), Concrete Bob on AARoads(4), Mike Boultinghouse(5), DT Composer on AARoads(6), Sahand Cyrusian(7), Tom Fearer(8), Mark Fuqueron(9), Jeffe at AARoads(10), Nick Karels(11), Cameron Kaiser on AARoads(12), Plutonic Panda on AARoads(13), Scott Parker on AARoads(14), Chris Sampang on AARoads(15): Route 1(1,8), Route 2(1), I-5(1,14), US 6(3), Route 7(1), I-10(1), LRN 10(8), Route 11(1), Route 12(1,11), Pre-1963 Route 14(1,14), I-15(12), Route 16(1), Route 18(1,8,14), Route 20(1), Route 21(8), Route 23(1), Route 24(8), Route 25(1), Route 29(1), Route 34(1,8), Route 35(1), Route 37(1), Route 39(1), US 40(8,14), Route 44(1), Route 46(1), US 40(8), US 50(1,8), Route 53(1), Route 58(1,8), Route 60(1), US 60(8), Route 61(1), Route 63(1,8), Route 65(8,4), US 66(5), Route 68(1), Route 70(1), US 70(8), Route 71(1,14), Route 74(1,8), Route 75(1), Route 78(1), Route 79(1,8,14), I-80(1), Route 82(1), Route 83(1,8,14), Route 84(1), Route 88(1), Route 89(1), Route 91(1,8,13), US 91(1,14), Route 92(1), Route 99(1), US 99(2,3,8), US 101(1,8,10), Route 102(8), Route 104(1), Route 107(14), Route 110(1), Route 111(1,8), Route 113(1), Route 118(1,8), Route 119(1), Route 120(8), Route 132(1,8), Route 138 (High Desert Corridor)(1), Route 140(8), Route 141(11), Route 143(8,4), Route 144(8), Route 145(1), LRN 146(1), Route 148(8), Route 150(8), Route 154(8,6), Route 156(8), Route 160(1,8,14,15), Route 162(1,8), Route 163(1), Route 165(1,8), Route 168(8), LRN 175(1), Route 177(1,8), Route 178(8), LRN 178(1), LRN 181(1), Route 183(8), Route 189(8), Route 192(1,8), Route 193(8,14), Route 195(1,8), Route 198(8), I-210(1), Route 214(1), Route 217(8), Route 220(1), Route 221(1,8,14), Route 224(8), Route 225(8), Route 227(1), Route 231(8), Route 232(8), Route 237(1), Route 239(8), Route 241(1,9,13), Route 243(1,8), Route 244(8,4), Route 246(8), Route 257(14), Route 282(1), Route 371(1,8,14), I-380(1), US 395(1), I-405(1), I-580(1,8), I-605(1), I-680(1,8), I-710(1), Route 740(8), County Sign Route B1(1,8), County Sign Route G4(1), County Sign Route J4(8), County Sign Route J14(1,8), County Sign Route J19(1,8,14), County Sign Route J132(8), County Sign Route R1(8), County Sign Route R3(1,8), County Sign Route S32(1), CR 66(7).

Added some more information to the El Camino Real page. Updated information on the numbering of Forest Routes.

Noted the following Caltrans pages are still broken: All the links to the highway exit numbering PDFs from Cal-Nexus.

I have made the decision that, for the naming resolutions, I’ve decided to start putting pictures of the honoree or dedication if I can find them. Our remembrances need to be more than a meaningless name on a highway. Although I believe there are better ways to remember someone than naming a stretch of road after them, if the family is going to go to that effort, I should make the effort to make the backstory on the person available, and to put a face with the name. This will be done piecemeal as I work on pages, but as of the time I have uploaded this, I have completed Route 1 through Route 5.

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. As many people are unfamilair with how the legislature operates (and why there are so many “non-substantive changes” and “gut and amend” bills), I’ve added the legislative calendar to the end of the Pending Legislation page. I’ll slowly be going back and adding pictures as I have the time. I noted the passage or veto of the following bills and resolutions:

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – November 2019

It’s that time of the month again: time for sharing the collection of headlines about California highways from November. It’s been an interesting and busy month, especially as I’ve been working on that highway pages. That’s what the little ✔ means — because all month I’ve been going through these headlines for the pages, and the next post on the blog should be the page updates. This, of course, means I’m still working on the updates, so let’s get the headlines out of the way so I can get back to work.

But first: It is Thanksgiving time, and I’d like to express my thanks for those who read and enjoy these posts, who comment on them, and who share information with me for my pages. This is truly a community effort — I’m not doing this to make money. You help make this a resource for the community.

  • ✔ CA-99 Widening Defunded – Where is the Money Going?. Two weeks ago, CBS47 lobbed the following headline: Gov. Newsom redirects gas tax money to fund railway systems, not highways. Unfortunately, the reporting was pretty light on details. Where is the money going? Where did the money even come from? CBS got the following statement from Caltrans: …
  • ✔ Route to Idyllwild Reopens After 8-Month Closure Due to Storm Damage. When heavy rainfall pounded the San Jacinto Mountains back in February, water and debris flooded the scenic mountain highway that leads to Idyllwild. A section of a mountain slope buckled near Lake Fulmor during the storm, leaving behind a gaping hole in the roadway that serves as the main route in and out of the Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove mountain communities.
  • ✔ Route 243 Opens. State Route 243 Opening today at 6 p.m. #Caltrans8
  • ✔ Second segment of Los Patrones Parkway opens in Rancho Mission Viejo. The southern segment of Los Patrones Parkway opened to traffic in Rancho Mission Viejo on Thursday, Oct. 17. The completed project extended the parkway about a mile and a half from Chiquita Canyon Drive to Cow Camp Road. “It really begins to open up our community to the broader south county region in terms of access and mobility, so we are really excited about it,” said Mike Balsamo, senior vice president of governmental relations for Rancho Mission Viejo.
  • ✔ 60 Truck Lanes Newsletter (October 2019). Progress! Our crews are continuing to make headway with construction of the State Route 60 Truck Lanes Project, with a focus in  September on excavation, drainage, wildlife crossings, and dust control. On the north side of Route 60, crews are building large slopes to excavate and deposit excess dirt from the hillsides. Our team is moving an average of 15,000 cubic yards of dirt per day to adjacent fill locations. This will prevent dirt from needing to be hauled off-site, saving 14,000 truck trips to and from the project area.

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🛣 October 2019 Headlines about California Highways

No, you shouldn’t be spooked by this . But it has been fire season, and there have been brush fires all over the state, impacting the highways and roads. I ran into this last Monday, as I drove past the Getty fire. But it has affected numerous routes, from the 128 and 101 up North, to the 118, 23, 60, and 57 here in the south. So stay safe if you’re on the roads. Here are your headlines from October. Ready, set, discuss.

P.S.: I have started work on the highway page updates. I’m going through the August headlines now, so it will be a bit.

  • Andew Maloney Memorial Highway. Caltrans District 10 Director Dan McElhinney, Assemblymember Adam Gray, and CalFire 71 join the Maloney family during a special ceremony and unveiling of new signs for the SR-165 Andrew Maloney Memorial Highway in Los Banos.
  • Transportation chiefs brief Marin group on Highway 37 plans. Bay Area transportation officials gathered in Marin this week to update efforts to ensure that Highway 37 doesn’t flood again this winter — and in the future. “I think we all feel the fire under our feet,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, who organized the Thursday town hall meeting in Novato. “Tonight, we actually have some good news to deliver.”
  • Mother Lodes for the Roads: $137 Metro Millions for Pasadena. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) board approved Sept. 26, funding for $136,850,000-worth of traffic improvements in Pasadena. The appropriation was part of an overall $297 million appropriated for San Gabriel Valley-area transportation initiatives. The funds were tied up in the 710 freeway extension project. Its demise resulted in their reallocation to mobility improvement projects aimed at resolving the same traffic problems the original project was proposed to fix. The process of finding new uses for what were Measure R funds started back in May 2017 with a Metro Board motion. Planning, study and environmental review were all part of the road to paving for the roads.
  • Caltrans Contemplates Overhaul of Pasadena’s Freeway, the SR-110 Arroyo Seco Parkway. Caltrans will lay out changes it is considering to make to the SR-110 Arroyo Seco Parkway at a scoping meeting today. “We’re inviting the public to come in and listen to the various alternatives that we have, proposed to increase motorist safety along the Arroyo Seco Parkway,” said Eric Menjivar, public information officer, Caltrans District 7. The meeting will explore five alternatives, one of which is to do nothing. The second alternative would make lane 3 a permanent shoulder, “to be used as part-time travel during peak periods when volumes are high,” said Caltrans. “Dynamic message signs” (DMS) would convey the lane/shoulder’s changed status.
  • 5 Freeway’s Empire Avenue Interchange Opens In Burbank. The Monday morning commute on the 5 Freeway through Burbank took one step forward and three steps back. The newly-constructed Empire Avenue interchange opened early Monday morning, which is good news for commuters who have been suffering through years of road work on the 5 Freeway.
  • SANDAG Shifts Funds To Fast Track Transit, Highway Projects. Board members of the San Diego Association of Governments on Friday approved funding to kick start two freeway widenings that agency leaders warn could violate state climate laws. Staffers at the San Diego Association of Governments had proposed fast-tracking the planning, design and environmental clearance of more than two dozen projects, including a number of “complete corridor” studies on how to improve road, transit and bike mobility along a given highway corridor. The goal is to get more projects closer to being ready for construction so they can compete for state and federal grant dollars.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2019

And September comes to an end. For those of us who are Jewish, it is the start of a new year, 5780, and L’Shanah Tovah to all of you.  It is the end of the government fiscal year, meaning that the silly season of trying to close out your FY19 budgets as close to your targets — not over budget or under budget — has ended. We are moving into the fall, with crisper weather. As I write this, we already have our first snowfalls of the season in Lake Tahoe, well before the normal date that highway construction ends. But before we transition, let’s look back a little. September has been a busy month on the highways of our state. Here’s what happened.

[Note: 💲 indicates links that are paywalled (except for the LA Times, 🌴, to which I subscribe). ❌ indicates items overtaken by subsequent events]

  • California’s most scenic routes and highways. Under most circumstances, highway driving for more than an hour is a tedious task. But in California not all drives are a drag, especially when cruising down one of its many scenic routes. Throughout the state, you’ll find a number of highways and roads with picturesque views of beaches, hills and nature. We’ve rounded up some of the most beautiful routes and highways throughout the state and included notable sights you can expect on each one.
  • Public meetings scheduled on Highway 50 closure at Echo Summit. Caltrans is hosting two public meetings to discuss details of a potential full closure of Highway 50 over Echo Summit to accommodate bridge construction. The $14.1 million Highway 50 Echo Summit sidehill viaduct project is replacing the existing bridge, which was built in 1939, with a structure that meets current seismic and safety standards. Construction started in May and will be completed either this fall or next spring.
  • 7 Bay Area bridges to go cashless, eliminating toll takers’ jobs. Big changes are coming to the Bay Area’s toll bridges. A vote Wednesday signaled the end of cash lanes and toll takers will be replaced by the electronic FasTrak system. The Golden Gate Bridge made the switch six years ago. Now the other Bay Area toll bridges are preparing to eliminate cash payments.
  • No more digging for change: Plan to make Bay Area bridge tolls all-electronic approved. The Bay Area Toll Authority just kicked off its plan to convert seven Bay Area bridges to all-electronic tolls. That process includes efforts by Caltrans to find new careers for its roughly 200 toll-takers, who will one day soon be phased out for cameras that snap photos of license plates to forward a bill, and a greater reliance on FasTrak. This plan doesn’t include the Golden Gate Bridge, which is run by an independent district and has already converted to all-electronic tolling. But it does apply to the San Francisco Bay Bridge and its 66 toll-takers, among others.
  • MTC Approves $4M Contract To Transition Bay Area Toward Cashless Tolls. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission unanimously approved a $4 million contract Wednesday for consultation services to help switch the Bay Area to an all electronic toll future. With the move, toll takers and toll plazas will soon be a thing of the past with the vision of “open road toll taking.”

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