🛣 Changes to the California Highways Web Site covering January-May 2021

What a long, strange year it has been. In March 2020, I saw my last live theatre for over a year: Passion at Boston Court. I had just returned from a trip to Madison WI to visit my daughter. We were just starting to worry about the Novel Coronavirus, with no idea of the long haul in front of us. Working from home had just begun. We were at the start of the 2020 election year, long before we had any inkling that the losing candidate would attempt an insurrection to overturn the election result and present Congress from doing their congressional duty. A long, long, strange year.

On the highway page front: I was continuing work on the major site redesign and rework, which was coming up in May. That behind me, updates preceded apace. I think the new site is fast. This year, due to some problems, I got rid of one of the plugins on the WordPress side of the site, and suddenly that became faster and more reliable. I may be getting back into the blogging side of the equation.

As for 2021: Let’s hope for a return to the new normal. We have a vaccine, and hopefully we’ll all be vaccinated by the summer—and so we might start to be able to do events and roadtrips again. We’ll likely still want to wear masks, as there will be those who refuse the vaccines, or for whom the vaccine is not 100% preventative. We have a new President, who is behaving a lot more…presidential. I don’t have major site changes planned. The hope for 2021 is: a new normal, and an uneventful new normal.  כן יהי רצון Ken Yehi Ratzon—Let It Be So.

I do want to share one thing I saw going through the CTC Minutes that didn’t make it into these pages. The following was amended into the SHOPP at the May meeting, and is $730,000 of your tax dollars at work:

May 2021 CTC Agenda Item 2.1a.(1a): 05-Mon-1 PM 10.5. Route 1 Near Gorda, at the Willow Springs Maintenance Station at 72115 Cabrillo Highway (Route 1). Repair failed electrical system. In January 2021, a microwave oven caught fire while not in use at the maintenance station employee housing facility.  A follow-up investigation of this incident, an ongoing low-voltage issue, and a history of damaged electrical appliances has identified numerous safety related issues due to undersized wiring, corrosion of components, long undersized wire runs, and all power runs connected to a ineffective single main breaker. This project will remove existing electrical components, install new pull boxes, conduit, wiring, and service panels.

On to the updates.

Updates were made to the following highways, based on my reading of the papers from January through May 2021 (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 (Ꜳ). This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(ℱ), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail or ꜲRoads) from Ꜳ GaryA(2), Michael Ballard(3)Ꜳ Bing101(4), Shirleigh Brannon(5)Ꜳ DT Composer(6), Tom Fearer(7)Ꜳ HeyNow415(8), Cameron Kaiser(9), Rick Kelly(10)Ꜳ Kniwt(11), Scott Parker(12),  Francesca Smith(13), Chris Sampang(14), and Joel Windmiller(15): Route 1(ℱ,7,12), Route 4(7), I-5(ℱ), I-8(ℱ), Route 9(ℱ), I-10(ℱ), Route 12(ℱ), Route 13(7), I-15(ℱ,7,12), Route 16(7), Route 20(7), Route 24(7,11), Route 25(ℱ), Route 29(ℱ), Route 37(ℱ), I-40(7), US 40(ℱ,8), Route 41(ℱ), Route 42(ℱ),  Route 46(ℱ), Route 47(ℱ), US 48(10), Route 49(ℱ), US 50(ℱ,7,15), Route 55(ℱ), Route 57(ℱ), Route 62(ℱ), Route 67(ℱ),  Route 70(ℱ),  Route 74(ℱ), Route 75(ℱ), Route 78(ℱ), Route 79(ℱ), I-80(ℱ), Route 84(ℱ), Route 86(ℱ), Route 90(ℱ), US 91/ Route 91(ℱ,7,12), Route 92(ℱ), Route 99/US 99(ℱ,3,7,15), US 101(ℱ,2,7,12,6), I-105(ℱ,13), Route 108(ℱ), Route 111(ℱ), Route 118(ℱ), Route 120(ℱ), Route 123(4), LRN 125(7), Route 128(ℱ,7,8), Route 132(ℱ), Route 134(ℱ), Route 135(ℱ), Route 136(9),  Route 138(ℱ), Route 140(ℱ), Route 143(ℱ), Route 148(ℱ), Route 152(7,14), Route 154(ℱ), LRN 174(ℱ), Route 174(ℱ), Route 198(7), Route 204(7), I-210(ℱ), Route 222(ℱ,7), Route 229(7), Route 236(ℱ), Route 241(ℱ), Route 254(ℱ), Route 263(ℱ),  I-280(ℱ), Route 282(ℱ), I-305(ℱ,7), Route 371(ℱ), I-380(ℱ), US 399(7),  I-405(ℱ), US 466(7,12), I-505(ℱ), I-580(ℱ), I-605(ℱ), I-680(ℱ), I-710(ℱ), I-980(ℱ), County Sign Route G8(7) .
(Source: private email, Highway headline posts through May 2021 as indicated, AARoads through 5/28/2021)

For those interested, there is an interview with me in Caltrans News 2021 № 1.

At the request of a long-time friend and contributor to this site(5), captured the “lost” Caltrans series of pages about the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Interstate system that occurred in 2005/2006. These pages were published on the Caltrans site in 2005, and disappeared during a site rework in 2019 (likely because they were felt to be outdated). But for those of us here at California Highways, we love that history—and so we have preserved them. Please contact Caltrans if you want to use the pictures, and say you saw it on the Wayback Machine (wink).

Added some information on the earliest days of this website to the 1996 and before changes page. Ronald J Hall at Caltrans sent me a correction for the statistics page regarding the highest point on Route 270.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – April 2021

Yet another month rolls over, meaning its time for two things: (1) swapping to the other iPod Classic, and (2) a headline post. April was an interesting month. I’ve been slowly working through the headlines (I’m about halfway through March), so maybe I’ll be able to finish the highway page updates before the May headline post. April also saw me completing the Moderna Vaccine regime — and we may very well do a roadtrip today to celebrate and kill off podcasts: Route 118 to Route 23 to Route 126 to Route 150 to Route 33 to Route 166 to Route 99 to I-5 and back to Route 118.

So, first and foremost: <PUBLICSERVICEANNOUNCEMENT>You need a road trip. You can do it safest — for you and for others — if you are vaccinated. GO GET YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE. Anyone over 16 can. It DOES NOT implant a chip. It DOES NOT give you COVID. It’s been in use for four months, on top of all past testing, and is proving extremely safe. But more important: consider the safety vs. the alternative … getting COVID or living in fear of getting COVID. The vaccine will protect you, or at least make any case you contract much less serious. GO GET THE SHOT. </PUBLICSERVICEANNOUNCEMENT>

With that said, here are your headlines for April, together with other things I found of potential interest for the highway pages. Ready, set, discuss, … and get your shot.

Key

[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls and  other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; VN/Valley News; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; DS/Desert Sun; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; MH/Monterey Herald; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; SFG/SF Gate; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; DNT/Del Norte Triplicate; NW/Newsweek; UKT/The Telegraph (UK) ]

Highway Headlines

  • Metro to present proposal to reduce much of Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock to one car lane each way. The push is on for a bus rapid transit (BRT) route through Eagle Rock that would reduce Colorado Boulevard to one car lane each way between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Linda Rosa Avenue. The car-lane reduction would create room for dedicated bus lanes and enhanced bike lanes, while preserving most on-street parking.
  • Antlers Bridge Replacement on I-5 (Shasta County, California). This $131M bridge was constructed on a new parallel alignment just east of the existing bridge, which spans the Sacramento River arm of Shasta Lake, California’s third largest lake and largest reservoir. The new bridges are twin cast-in-place segmental box girder superstructures consisting of 5 spans, 1,942’ long and 104’ wide connected with diaphragms at the piers as well as a full length closure pour, connecting the wings. The superstructure depth varies from 29’-6” deep to 12’ deep. The structure, designed for a 100-year life, consists of 13 million pounds of steel and more than 36,000 cubic yards of concrete.
  • Have a say in the future of Highway 37. Have thoughts on the future of Highway 37 in Vallejo? Share your views with Caltrans, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and transportation agencies for Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, who are seeking input. All will participate in an upcoming online public Townhall meeting hosted by senators Mike McGuire, D-North Coast and Bill Dodd, D-Solano. Agency officials are expected to discuss three coordinated planning efforts to develop solutions for improving Highway 37.
  • /DS State Route 62 road construction project set to begin next week. The initial stages of a road construction project set for more than 20 miles of Highway 62 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties will begin next week, and Caltrans urged motorists to brace for future delays. The $48 million project will see a new layer of pavement placed on two major segments of Highway 62. The first is from Indian Canyon Drive near Desert Hot Springs to roughly Yucca Mesa Road in Yucca Valley. The work will pick up again in Twentynine Palms, from Bermuda Avenue to near Utah Trail.
  • Caltrans awards millions for local roadway safety projects. Caltrans has awarded over $227 million to fund safety projects designed to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries on city and county roads. Funding is provided through the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program. “Safety is always our number one priority,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “These projects will enhance systemwide safety features, including expanded access to protected walkways and bikeways, and will move us closer to our goal of reducing serious injuries and fatalities on California roadways.” San Benito County is included in the funding: …
  • Measure A paid for $14.6M in North County projects in 2019-20. Almost $14.6 million of Measure A funds were spent on North County transportation projects in the 2019-20 fiscal year, according to the annual report recently released by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. The expenditures bring the total amount of Measure A funds spent in the North County since the transportation sales tax was approved in 2008 to more than $157 million, according to the report.
  • California invests $491 million for transportation improvements. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) in late March allocated $491 million to address transportation needs throughout the state. This investment, which includes $273 million generated from Senate Bill 1 (SB1), known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes. … The following are a few projects aimed at improving or repairing some of the state’s roads and bridges. District 3 — Marysville …

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – March 2021

Hard to believe, perhaps, but one quarter of 2021 is in the books. I had hope to get out a highway page update in March, but it is slower going than I expected. So I get to add one more headline post to the mix, slowing it down even further. On the plus side, the first of the Moderna shots has been achieved, bringing closer the day that I’ll go out for a roadtrip. So here are the headlines and other things of interest that I collected during the month of March. As I always say, “ready, set, discuss”.

[Ħ Historical information | Paywalls and other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; VN/Valley News; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; MH/Monterey Herald; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; SFG/SF Gate; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; DNT/Del Norte Triplicate; NW/Newsweek; UKT/The Telegraph (UK) ]

  • Driving apps divert motorists to dangerous mountain road. The U.S. Forest Service warned people not to trust their driving apps and GPS devices after hearing from motorists the apps were diverting them to Salmon River Road. That happened after people posted on social media they were searching for alternative routes to a stretch of state Route 96 that is partially blocked by a mudslide.
  • /DNT Significant slide activity continues to hamper Last Chance Grade. U.S. Highway 101 was open to one-lane travel Tuesday night after another week of landslide activity blocked the road at Last Chance Grade. Crews have been working on the road since last week, when precipitation caused the hillside above the highway to crumble down, blocking both lanes for extended periods of time. As of Tuesday evening, crews warned motorists of possible 30-minute delays overnight, as well as three-hour delays scheduled between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to allow for removal and prevention work.
  • ‘The Big Sur we all dream about’: Why some residents are delighted that Highway 1 collapsed. In late January, an atmospheric river dumped heavy rains over the Dolan Fire scar, triggering a debris flow in Big Sur that overwhelmed drainage infrastructure and carried a giant chunk of Highway 1 thousands of feet down the cliff and into the sea. The dramatic slide left behind a 150-foot chasm where the road once was at mile marker 30, another beautiful stretch of California land reclaimed by the elements. Friends and family members living on opposite sides of the hole were separated. Residents living to the south were cut off from basic services, schools and jobs in the north. The postmaster had to start going the long way around, as did angry tourists attempting to visit from or return to LA. And yet, for some residents, this “disaster” was exactly what they had been waiting for.
  • State Route 84 Ferry Service Restarts After Temporary Closure. Caltrans has restarted the State Route 84 ferry service after the ferry boat – The Real McCoy II – passed its inspection required by the Coast Guard every five years. The ferry is classified as an extension of State Route 84. It provides service to Ryer Island residents and its visitors by crossing the Cache Slough to Rio Vista.
  • Did You Know That the 101 Freeway Widening Project Has an Aquatic Resource Biologist?. In this, the Journal’s third profile of the people who work behind the scenes in the biggest infrastructure project to hit Montecito in recent memory, we meet Sarah Sandstrom, Caltrans’ aquatic resource manager. According to Tim Gubbins, Caltrans District 5 Director, Sandstrom is a key player in the agency’s effort to protect the environment as it widens the 101 freeway. “Sarah is a highly educated and trained biologist,” Gubbins said. “She is a valued member of our biologist team and focuses her skills on helping our project meet high environmental standards and improve wetland and habitat areas as part of this larger congestion-relief project. Our construction projects benefit the larger community in many ways, and our work on improving wetlands and habitat areas near the freeway is important for all of us.”
  • PCH: Climate change threatens California’s ‘highway at the edge’. Soaring mountains on one side of the road and the Pacific Ocean on the other: It was 1956, and Gary Griggs was experiencing California State Route 1 for the first time. He was a child, but in the following decades he would drive this scenic stretch of road, called the Pacific Coast Highway, dozens of times. He also would learn how fragile it is. In 2017, Griggs consulted on a major repair to the highway as an erosion expert. Now, he says, the iconic road’s days may be numbered – at least in its current form.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – February 2021

Another month, another bunch of headlines. February was quieter. Here in Southern California, it was mostly dry and quite windy. In Northern and Central California, it was a different story. But beyond that, it was the new new normal. So recovery from COVID-19 as the numbers stabilize and the vaccine rollout continues, and the big news from DC was that there was no real big news. Nice for a change, to have the blustery hot air to be coming from the high desert.

Here are your headlines for February. As always: Ready, set, discuss.

[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls and  other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; MH/Monterey Herald; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; NW/Newsweek; UKT/The Telegraph (UK) ]

  • /LAT 23 miles of Highway 1 near Big Sur close, require repairs. Caltrans officials say landslide repairs will keep Highway 1 south of Big Sur closed for months, rewriting travel plans for anyone who had been hoping to make a coastal road trip from Southern California in early spring. Beyond that, “It is too early to establish a timeline,” Caltrans spokesman Kevin Drabinski said. Though Monterey County officials partially lifted a storm-related evacuation order in the area Monday afternoon, the debris flow in some places “is still active. … And we have rain coming as soon as tonight.”
  • Peninsula Avenue interchange revamp returns. San Mateo city officials presented residents on Wednesday with updated information about its Highway 101/Peninsula Avenue Interchange Project, designed to improve public safety and reduce traffic while removing the Poplar ramps to the south. The project would address long-term safety and traffic operations and reduce travel times within the Peninsula Avenue interchange area for San Mateo and Burlingame residents. It would include improved bicycle and pedestrian travel options on Peninsula Avenue from just west of North Humboldt Street to North Bayshore Boulevard. City officials said the project would improve safety in the area near schools, reduce travel times and accommodate future traffic. San Mateo expects to have a significant traffic congestion reduction in the area during peak hours in the morning and early evening.
  • /PD Work starts on final phase of 20-year $750 million Highway 101 project in Sonoma-Marin counties. Blink and you might miss the recent lane shift on northbound Highway 101, just west of the dog park at Deer Creek Village in north Petaluma. In mid-January, Caltrans redirected northbound traffic onto a pair of lanes in the median, just as the highway begins a gentle incline and crosses over the SMART railroad tracks. Most drivers probably don’t even notice that subtle shift, which allows workers from Ghilotti Construction in Santa Rosa to keep widening that section of freeway from two to three lanes. To those tracking the progress of the Marin-Sonoma Narrows Project, that lane shift was a very big deal. It marked the beginning of a final part of this 20-year undertaking which, at long last, is on the homestretch.
  • /SJMN Storm could complicate Highway 1 slideout recovery. As crews continued working to assess the scope of the Highway 1 slideout south of Big Sur while starting clean-up and repair work, this week’s anticipated storm could make those efforts more difficult. According to Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers, additional rain and runoff in the wake of last week’s atmospheric river storm that drenched the Big Sur coast could delay progress being made on the 150-foot section of washed-out highway at Rat Creek about 30 miles north of the San Luis Obispo County line. “Any additional runoff or rain could create a scenario of more time to clean up, (and) more slide activity,” Shivers said. “Water is pooling in areas above the highway and we need to deal with that. Dryer conditions allow for more steady progress.”
  • Highway 101 at 135 bridge replacement to start Feb. 1. A project to reconstruct the bridges on US Highway 101 at the Interchange with State Route 135 in Los Alamos will begin on Monday, Feb. 1. Motorists will encounter one-way reversing traffic control on State Route 135 between Main Street and San Antonio Boulevard Monday through Friday from 8 am until 4 pm and during the overnight hours from 8 pm until 6 am.
  • /SDUT Caltrans seeks public input on widening state Route 67. Caltrans is seeking public comments to bolster its environmental studies that will be used to determine the practicality of widening state Route 67, including portions connected to Poway Road. Also under consideration for project inclusion are bike lanes plus human and animal crossings.
  • North Coast Corridor Program: Reflection and anticipation for 40-year vision. The North Coast Corridor (NCC) program jointly operated by SANDAG and Caltrans is a balanced set of transportation, environmental, and coastal access projects to improve the quality of life for residents, create a stronger local and regional economy for the future, and enhance the north San Diego County coastal environment. The $6 billion, 40-year vision is an implementation blueprint for developing and building projects as part of a holistic and connected system of mobility facilities. These efforts align with SANDAG’s vision for the 2021 Regional Plan, which reimagines how people and goods could move throughout the region in the 21st century, fundamentally shaped by five key strategies for mobility, collectively known as the 5 Big Moves—Complete Corridors, Transit Leap, Mobility Hubs, Flexible Fleets, and the Next OS.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – January 2021

And with the flip of a calendar page, the first month of 2021 is in the books. This year was supposed to be better—and in some ways it is. We have competent leadership again, with scientists and smart people using facts to make decision. But the COVID related impacts continue, and the vaccine rollout is slow. Roadtrips will likely still be day trips, if they happen at all, and they won’t be until the summer at best. Theatre? Although I’ve got a few shows ticketed, I expect them to cancel and reschedule until June or later. The COVID waiting pattern continues…

But our highway workers are essential workers (and thank you to them). Our highway planners can work remotely. As such, the headlines continue unabated. Here are your headlines of various articles and other things posted related to California Highways during January 2021.

[Ħ Historical information | Paywalls and other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; NW/Newsweek ]

Highway Headlines

  • Historic Patton Depot demolished. The Santa Fe Kite Route Patton Depot on Highland Avenue, just west of Patton State Hospital was recently emolished for safety reasons after it was found to be structurally unsound. According to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which owns the building and property, demolition of the building began on Monday, Dec. 14, after the city of San Bernardino issued a demolition permit. Demolition work is expected to continue through the middle of January. The Moorish brick train station, opened by Santa Fe Railroad in 1898 as part of the historic Kite Route, connected several San Bernardino Valley towns and Los Angeles area cities with passenger and freight service.
  • SANDAG to Enforce SR-125 Toll Violations for First Time Since Last April. State Route 125 toll violations will begin to be enforced Tuesday for the first time since the San Diego Association of Governments officially waived them last April in light of economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SANDAG Board of Directors voted late last month to approve the reinstatement of toll violations for the South Bay Expressway. Those tolls, along with the practice of placing vehicle registration holds for nonpayment of violations, had been suspended for the remainder of 2021. FasTrak monthly maintenance fees were also suspended.
  • Downey Freeway Fighters Hang NO MORE LANES Banner over 5 Freeway. This morning, freeway fighters hung “NO MORE LANES” banners on a pedestrian overcrossing over the 5 Freeway in the city of Downey. “No more lanes” is a slogan used by the Happy City Coalition, a group that recently formed to oppose Metro and Caltrans’ plan to demolish hundreds of homes to widen the 605 and 5 Freeways. Last summer, Metro project staff announced the demolitions. In October, in response to community concerns, the Metro board directed Metro staff to study less destructive alternatives.
  • /OCR Busy year ahead in Orange County transportation construction. People staying home during the coronavirus pandemic led to emptier streets and freeways and sped-up roadwork schedules in 2020, and that progress will continue in 2021, transportation officials said. The year will start off with completion of a key project for south county drivers: the new Oso Parkway bridge is expected to open this month, said Samuel Johnson, CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which operate the toll road system including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 routes.
  • /FB Highway 41 deaths lead to construction, closure near Fresno. Changes are coming next week to a stretch of Highway 41 south of Fresno, what officials vow will lead to other improvements along a six-mile stretch of two-lane highway that’s been the site of numerous accidents – many fatal. State Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes held a news conference in November with family members of those killed along the highway and members of Facebook group Widen Highway 41 to push for changes. The politicians held another Wednesday with transportation leaders to announce Highway 41 between Excelsior Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue will be permanently designated a no-passing zone.
  • San Diego leaders open portion of new West Mission Bay Drive bridge. Crews started work on the new West Mission Bay Bridge in the summer of 2018. And now nearly three years later, the project is halfway finished. With the cutting of ribbon, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Jennifer Campbell unveiled what the new West Mission Bay Bridge looks like. Though the project isn’t completed, motorists will be allowed to drive on the finished portion starting Tuesday evening.

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🛣 Changes to the California Highways Web Site covering October-December 2020

And with that, 2020 comes to a close. What a year it has been. We started out thinking this was going to be a somewhat normal election year. What we ended up with was a dumpster fire: a year consumed by a pandemic, with far too many deaths, far too many trips curtailed, and an election that seems to never want to end. There are some things you don’t want to see in your rear view mirror, such as a CHP cruiser with red lights flashing. But there are somethings that are best in the rear view, receding away. 2020 is in that latter group.

But as we enter 2021, we can take some comfort in that we’ve been rebuilding the roadbed, and that rebuilt foundation should be strong. We need to watch out for the fringes of the road. If they continue to deteriorate, they can weaken the stability of the entire road. But if we take care to not let the fringes (on either side) overwhelm us, and if we follow both the written and unwritten rules of the road, we should be able to travel safe. May 2021 see us all arrive at our destinations safely, and see us back on the roads and byways of this great land.

On to the 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 (Ꜳ). This resulted in changes on the following routes, with credit as indicated [my research(1), contributions of information or leads (via direct mail or ꜲRoads) from Michael Ballard(2), Nathaniel B(3), Mark Dierking/Metro.Net(4), Tom Fearer(5), Andy Field(6), Kurumi(7), John Lumea(8), Scott Parker(9), Joe Rouse(10), Chris Sampang(11), Joel Windmiller(12): Route 1(1), Route 3(5,9), Route 4(1), I-5(1,5,2), Route 11(1), Route 12(1), Route 20(1), Route 25(1), Route 29(1), Route 33(11,9), Route 36(5), Route 38(1), I-40(1), US 48(5), Route 49(1,5), US 50(1), Route 51(12), Route 52(1), Route 55(1), Route 57(1), Route 58(1), Route 60(1), Route 71(1), Route 74(1), Route 76(1), Route 78(1), I-80(1,3,8), Route 91(1,5), Route 92(1), Route 96(1), US 97(5), US 99(2,5,12), US 101(1), I-105(1), Route 108(1,5), Route 120(1,5), Route 125(1), Route 140(1), Route 156(1), Route 172(5), Route 180(5), Route 219(5), Route 221(1), Route 254(5),  Route 262(11), Route 263(5), Route 265(5), Route 271(5), I-280(7,9), US 395(1), I-405(1), I-580(1), I-605(1), I-680(1), I-710(1,4), Route 740(1), I-880(1), Route 905(1), County Sign Route A12(5), County Sign Route A28(5), County Sign Route G15(5), County Sign Route S21(1).

Added a link for the newly created Historic Highway 99 Association of California to all the appropriate places. Added a page on the US Bicycle Route System, as County Sign Route S21 was about to be designated as part of USBRS Route 95. Added a link to the 1935 State Highway Map(5). Update the page on exit numbering(6,10).

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 unfamiliar 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. A new legislative session started after the November elections; all of the 2019-2020 bills are dead. For the 2021-2022 legislative session, this is extremely early in the session and there were very few bills to review, and even fewer related to transportation.

I checked California Transportation Commission page for the results of the California Transportation Commission meetings from October through December 2020. As always, note that I tend not to track items that do not impact these pages — i.e., pavement rehabilitation or replacement, landscaping, drainage, culverts, roadside facilities, charging stations, or other things that do not impact the routing or history, unless they are really significant. As such, the following items were of interest:

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – December 2020

Ah, 2020. So nice to finally have you in the rearview mirror of history. You’ve left mayhem and destruction in your wake, and you’ve even sent debris ahead of you. We’ve had to send out significant crews to clean up the mess that you have left. Precious little good has come out of the 2020—a new president, some new vaccines, and the site redesign of California Highways. But the year has seen sickness and intense work to “flatten the curve”. This, in turn, curtailed vacations and roadtrips. We couldn’t get out there and visit the roads, and explore the history. But the workers on our highway—they are essential workers working on the road so we can get where we need to go. It is their hard work that makes these headlines possible.

To everyone reading this, may you have a happy and healthy new year. The periodic update for the California Highways is in the works as I post this. As they say, “watch this space”. So let’s look back at the headlines and post of interest for December 2020 … and toast to a much better 2021.

[Ħ Historical information | $ Paywalls and  ∅ other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; ]

Highway Headlines

  • Granite Awarded $39 Million Highway Widening Project in Southern California. Granite (NYSE:GVA) announced it has been awarded the State Route 74 Ortega Highway Widening Project by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in Lake Elsinore, California. The $39 million contract is anticipated to be included in Granite’s fourth quarter 2020 backlog.
  • /PE 60 Freeway median work near Fontana, Jurupa Valley to be wrapped in 2021. Q: Gabro Gonzales recently noticed construction work being done in the median on the 60 Freeway around Fontana/Jurupa Valley near the Country Village exit. He said lights had been installed in the same area and he questioned why workers were now removing the concrete median and lights in the same area.
  • I-8/Imperial Closure Starts Dec. 3; to Last 6-8 Months. Construction crews will close the westbound Interstate 8/Imperial Avenue ramps on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 9 p.m., which will leave the eastbound and westbound I-8 ramps at Imperial closed for six to eight months for Stage 2 work on the I-8/Imperial interchange project, according to a press release from the state Department of Transportation.
  • The International Road Federation Announces Global Road Achievement Award. The International Road Federation (IRF) has announced that the “Pacific Coast Highway – South Los Angeles” Project performed for Caltrans by VSS International, Inc. of West Sacramento, CA, has won the 2020 Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA) in the category of “Asset Preservation & Maintenance Management.”  The award was presented to VSS International, Inc. on November 13th at the 2020 IRF Global R2T Conference. This award-winning section of the Pacific Coast Highway stretched 22 miles from Seal Beach north to Artesia Boulevard in Los Angeles County consisting of over 130 lane miles.
  • Ninth Circuit Clears Path for Contested Highway Project in Ancient Redwood Grove. The Ninth Circuit gave California a green light Wednesday to move forward with a contested highway project through a majestic grove of ancient redwood trees, reversing a lower court ruling that halted construction pending further environmental review. The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, has been trying for more than a decade to alter a 1.1-mile strip of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County, about a 3 ½-hour drive north from San Francisco. Established in 1922, the park is home to redwood trees as old as 3,000 years old and soaring up to 300 feet and with diameters as wide as 18 feet.
  • /MIJ State allots key funds for Marin-Sonoma Narrows project. A years long project aiming to address one of the North Bay’s worst traffic bottlenecks is closer to completion after receiving $40 million from the state. The funds approved by the California Transportation Commission in a unanimous vote on Wednesday will go toward finishing the Marin-Sonoma “narrows” project on Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma where traffic clogs as the highway narrows from three to two lanes. The project will add a carpool lane in each direction along the 17-mile stretch of highway. An estimated 146,000 cars and 6,900 trucks used the section of highway daily prior to the pandemic.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – November 2020

Boy, it’s been quiet on this blog.

There are a lot of reasons. Theatre has been on hiatus since COVID hit, meaning my weekly (or more) theatre, and thus theatre reviews, have been on hiatus. I’ve been writing about politics, but that’s been ephemerally over on Facebook… and it has been politics or COVID dominating the news. Further, for some reason, Westhost was very slow when I would try to update the blog (the server wasn’t provisioned right), so I hesitated to do updates here. Now, combine that with the blur that has been 2020: this is been both the seemingly fastest year in memory as all the markers between work and home life are blurred when your “office” is a 90° turn of your office chair and there are no vacations; it is also the seemingly slowest year in memory as it has been an endless political season, with endless Coronavirus news, and seemingly no end until we start to return to normal. But take heart: with this batch of headlines, we’re crossing into December. We’re rapidly approaching 2021, with a new incoming administration, and vaccines on the horizon. Perhaps normal will return in 2021.

But there is one thing that does go on: headlines and news about California’s highways. Here is my monthly collection of articles I’ve found through various sources, posted here both for your enjoyment, and so I can find the information when I do my next batch of updates to the California Highway pages. As always…. ready, set, discuss.

[📃 Historical information | 💰 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; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; SONN/Sonoma News; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; PD/Press Democrat; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal]

  • South Pasadena gets funds for new ramps at the 110 and Fair Oaks, an interchange untouched for nearly 90 years. Fair Oaks Avenue runs like an arrow through the heart of the quaint city of South Pasadena, home of shops, restaurants and the historic Rialto Theatre. But during commuting hours, it resembles a parking lot, jammed with bumper-to-bumper congestion to the point where many commuters using the Waze app take Fremont Avenue and side streets, causing a second set of traffic problems for the residential city.
  • I-15/SR 78 Managed Lanes Direct Connectors Project I-15/Rte 78. Continued residential and economic growth along the east-west State Route 78 (SR 78) corridor in the cities of Escondido and San Marcos has placed strain on its connection to and from Interstate 15 (I-15), a major north-south managed Express Lanes system in San Diego County. New direct connectors between the existing I-15 Express Lanes and three miles of new Managed Lanes on SR 78 are intended to improve connectivity and traffic flow on and between the two corridors, increase access to homes and jobs, and improve overall quality of life in north inland San Diego County. Managed Lanes are a tool that help to increase freeway capacity and manage congestion by prioritizing carpool, vanpool and transit, and may allow solo drivers to travel if they are wiling to pay a fare, an alternative to traveling in the regular lanes. The I-15 Express Lanes system is a Managed Lanes system. The interchange improvements are being coordinated alongside the development of a Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (CMCP) which will look holistically at integrating and improving all modes of transportation in the north inland region, and aid in meeting specific greenhouse gas reduction goals, reducing vehicle trips, and minimizing the overall time people spend in the car.
  • After years of delays, Caltrans set to expand Highway 156. The daily commute on Highway 156 can be a drag, especially during the busier peak hour traffic times. But Caltrans announced last week that a new road expansion project is coming soon in hopes of reducing some of traffic congestion and saving millions in vehicle operating and accident costs. The San Benito Route 156 Improvement Project will be a five-mile, 4-lane expressway between The Alameda in San Juan Bautista to the Business Route on Highway 156 near Hollister.
  • What’s best for Gleason Beach? The iconic Gleason Beach / Scotty Creek watershed presents a prime example of a place where early pioneering settlers, digging out a dirt road by hand and horse-drawn equipment, followed the shortest distance between two points. Before contemporary land use planning was even a thing here, a precarious subdivision was sold off and houses built on an already-crumbling cliffside that has, quite predictably, continued to crumble.
  • Addressing Highway 92 traffic could carry toll. Every once in a while, a Coastsider will propose adding a toll to Highway 92 to keep visitor traffic at bay. Transportation experts say it’s not a bad idea, as “congestion pricing” is an increasingly popular way to deter solo drivers from busy areas during peak times. It’s not likely, either. While tolls aren’t new to the Bay Area, they’ve never been tested on the Coastside, and no local agencies are moving to charge drivers as they come over the hill.

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