🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2020

Whew. And those years are a wrap. You’re probably confused, thinking the year doesn’t end for a few months. Not quite. The last two weeks have seen two years come to an end: the Jewish year of 5780, and the government fiscal year of FY19-20.  And this year, I’ll take any year ending I can get, if it brings me closer to 2021, and perhaps getting back to the old new normal, as opposed to the new new normal. In any case, the year ends have been keeping me busy, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my collecting headlines about California Highways. So here, for your edification and enjoyment, are the articles of interest that came across my desk. Note: There seem to be a lot less headlines this month — I’m guessing due to impacts from COVID and slowdowns due to the fires. Oh, and as it is the end of September, I’ve started on the next round of updates to the highway pages (which will cover the August and September headlines, legislative actions (including the end of the session), and CTC actions).

So, 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; 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]

  • Commuters may have to pay to use North Bay highways 101, 37, 12 under Bay Area plan. Toll roads may be more common for San Francisco Bay Area commuters in the coming years — but not at the speed one might think. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission sent a letter to the Bay Area’s county transportation agencies in early August to help with funding on projects that alleviate congestion on the highways. The primary option involves express lanes that require tolls to be paid if motorists are not in a carpool or public transit. In the North Bay, U.S. Highway 101, along with State Routes 12 and 37, were singled out as possible toll targets.
  • 🎥 Virtual Open House for the State Route 99 Lomo Crossing Safety Project (Video). Welcome to our Virtual Open House for the State Route 99 Lomo Crossing Safety Project in Sutter County. Caltrans has produced a short video outlining the preliminary measures the Department is proposing to increase safety at the intersection of SR-99 and Live Oak Boulevard/Encinal Road.
  • BYPASS SAFETY MEASURES ON THE WAY. Your odds of getting in a collision on the 120 Bypass as you near Highway 99 if you are trying to head south toward Ripon and Modesto is six times higher than the statewide average. That tidbit from a Caltrans study helped set in motion the first phase of a $131.5 million project at the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 to improve vehicle movements and capacity. The project, expected to break ground a year from now, won’t be in place until 2023. In the meantime Caltrans is taking steps aimed at reducing the potential for carnage until two lanes are in place for eastbound 120 Bypass heading toward Modesto are in place.
  • Caltrans awards $6 million to construction company to fix highways damaged from CZU Lightning Complex. Caltrans is responding to highway damage in Santa Cruz County following the destructive CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Caltrans is mobilizing several contractors and sub-contractors to help with the repairs including fallen and hazardous trees, burned guardrails, destroyed traffic signs and markers and damaged retaining walls. Caltrans District 5 awarded Granite Construction of Santa Cruz a $6 million emergency contract to clear, repair and restore segments of Highway 1, 9 and 236 in Santa Cruz County.
  • 💰/SONN Commuters may have to pay to use North Bay highways 101, 37, 12 under Bay Area plan. Toll roads may be more common for San Francisco Bay Area commuters in the coming years — but not at the speed one might think. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission sent a letter to the Bay Area’s county transportation agencies in early August to help with funding on projects that alleviate congestion on the highways. The primary option involves express lanes that require tolls to be paid if motorists are not in a carpool or public transit. In the North Bay, U.S. Highway 101, along with State Routes 12 and 37, were singled out as possible toll targets.
  • Geotechnical Studies For Last Chance Grade Project Continue as Caltrans Fixes ‘Ski Jump’. Though environmental studies to find the best possible route around Last Chance Grade continue, Caltrans crews have been busy this summer to ensure U.S. 101 stays open. Caltrans continues to repair storm damage at the slide-prone area roughly 9 miles south of Crescent City, the agency stated in a “Progress Update Summer 2020” mailer sent to Del Norters recently. Crews are also correcting a dip in the highway, which locals have dubbed the ski jump, project manager Jaime Matteoli told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Wednesday.
  • More than $1.6B allocated to for work on state’s transportation system. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated on Aug. 14 more than $1.6 billion for transportation projects throughout the state, including about $1.3 billion for State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) projects, Caltrans’ “fix-it-first” program aimed at preserving the condition of the State Highway System. The projects allocated for funding will create an estimated 21,720 jobs, including direct, indirect and induced economic impacts. [Santa Ynez] Area state highway projects allocated funds include: ..

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🛣 Headlines about California Highways for August 2020

Where is the time going, as the days turn into  months, and the months seemingly just go on. It seems like just yesterday it was May and June and I was reworking the site. But through it all I’ve been collecting headlines. So take a read through these, and when you are ready, let’d 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; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News]

  • Late July 2020 Update – Ridge Route Preservation Organization. Not much to report. I recently sent a letter to the Angeles National Forest, which we have confirmation they received, to get more information about ongoing issues. Two of the issues were regarding the gates. Now, as has been stated here many times, we want them open. While we have keys, we don’t really want to “need” them. However, with the gates being left open by others or being damaged, it tends to hurt our cause more than help. If the gates are open when they aren’t planned to be, why help to open them?
  • 💰/SJMN Current rules for I-880 carpool lane, and what will change. Q: What are the rules for the Interstate 880 toll carpool lanes under construction in Fremont? The signs imply that it is OK to use the lanes for no toll due to testing, even during normal carpool hours. If regular carpool rules are still in effect, this can be confusing.
  • Caltrans to Begin Construction on State Route 99 Live Oak Project. Construction crews are scheduled to start work Monday, July 27, on a major pavement and streetscape project on State Route 99 in Live Oak. Roadwork will take place in various stages from south of Pennington Road to north of Ramsdell Drive. Caltrans reminds residents that local businesses will be open during construction.
  • Highway construction project completed in northern SLO County. A highway improvement project in northern San Luis Obispo County is now complete. The project took place along eight miles of Highway 101 in the San Miguel area from north of Monterey Road to south of the East Garrison overcrossing near Camp Roberts in Monterey County.
  • Sonoma County to limit road spending cuts as state, other local funds decline. Sonoma County is preparing to put off or scale back some road maintenance projects while sustaining a core group of other upgrades to its sprawling network of rural roads, moves that officials say are the result of a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall for public works set in motion by the pandemic recession.
  • 🚫/NVR New plan looks to create a better Imola Avenue in Napa. Aproposal to transform car-centric Imola Avenue into a road that also emphasizes walking, cycling and mass transit comes with an estimated $14.3 million price tag. This 3.5-mile-long street is a hodgepodge of eras, looks and neighborhoods. Some parts have sidewalks, others don’t. One section passes homes, another bustling shopping centers, another vineyards, another the oak-covered hills of Skyline Wilderness Park.

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🛣 Changes to the California Highways Website – August (well, late July) 2020

Now that we are past the site rework, we can return to the normal round of updates: going through the headlines, email, and AARoads; what the legislature did; and the CTC minutes. A few final rework notes: I’ve discovered that the site works much better on mobile devices if you use it in LANDSCAPE mode; I haven’t yet found a way to make it scale right automatically in portrait mode. Suggestions are welcome on that. Also, if for some reason you’re still seeing the old site, clear your cache! Lastly, if you referred to hwystart.html, change that reference to ROUTE001.html. The page hwystart.html (which was just a copy of 001-008.html) was a kludge to reflect the fact that I couldn’t predict aforetime what the first highway grouping would be. Now I can.

One additional introductory note: As I was working on this update, a few kerfuffles occurred on the Facebook groups Freeways of Los Angeles and Historic US Highway 99, as a result of people sharing pictures from Michael Ballard’s excellent site without giving credit to Michael’s site (something those of us with long-time sites are sensitive to, as many in the “Internet generation” believe that if something is posted on the net, it is there for the taking)*. Related to this is the disappearance of the FB group California’s Historic Highways** and the self-ghosting of Joel Windmiller. I don’t want to open up the credit debate — credit should always be given, and hopefully I’m getting better on that (and if I err, let me know and I’ll correct); further, with appropriate credit, I believe much of our use is fair use and educational, especially when only a focused portion of an image is used or a segment or summary of text from a site is used with credit and a pointerHere’s the real question in all of this ⇒ Facebook would allow me to create a group to go along with the page I already have for California Highways. Should I? I would ensure there is moderation that insists on credit and no political discussions; I would attempt to recruit some co-administrators that also have pages on the net, are roadgeeks of long-standing, and who understand the issue. However, having experienced attempting to moderate a FB group in another area (I attempted to move my Mail.Liberal-Judaism Mailing List to a FB group), I know their moderation system is not to my liking (for example, you can’t moderate those leaving comments, and you can’t easily send mail back with the message requesting specific changes). Moderation also takes a fair amount of time (which will be an issue when the world returns to normal), and opens one up to liability issues largely due to the cluelessness or carelessness of others. Please let me know your thoughts via email to webmaster@cahighways.org; and as always when you post on FB or elsewhere, credit your sources.
[*: Note that these were not formal copyright complaints, and that no one is looking for payment or planning to involve the legal system. That’s why I didn’t use “free for the taking”, as I’m not looking for payment. This is, in a sense, like the Gnu Copyleft, only the basic term is: give credit to the original source. 
❚ **: Or at least I can’t see it, which means I was kicked out with no message or reason, which is equally problematic]

Related to the above, and seeing that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are in mid-September this year, possibly before the next big round of updates: If I have used material from your website or a post, and have neither credited you at the point of use or recognized your contribution on my sources page, I sincerely apologize and want to make things right. Please let me know the occurrence, and I’ll make sure that credit is given, or remove or rework the offending material. If you have lifted material from my website, don’t worry. I won’t be coming after you. All I ask is that you credit (by name, and by URL link) to the original source so that readers can investigate my site for the most up-to-date information.

With that said, now on to the updates:

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways in July 2020

July saw a settlement into a new normal: wearing masks, working from home, scanning headlines, and so forth. There was still news about the highways, but it seemed to be lighter and more in the maintenance area. Of course, the biggest news came in the middle of the month, when I announced that the site redesign was completed for my website, California Highways.  Some of the highlights of this redesign includes:

  • A new non-icon navigation bar on each page, with improved section and internal page navigation.
  • A floating menu available wherever you are on a page.
  • Restructuring of the individual highway pages to be one highway per webpage. Old links still work.
  • Reworking of the individual highway pages to provide internal page navigation to specific sections or sub-sections.
  • Reworking of the naming index to go directly to the definition of the name.
  • Reworking of image callouts so that they should resize on smaller windows
  • Review of every page on the site.

For mobile devices, the site still looks better in landscape mode. I still need to figure out how to make portrait mode work better.

But, besides that, what other headlines were there in July? Funny you should ask:

[💰 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, DR/Solano Daily Republic; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; BJ/Bizjournals]

  • SoCal to Las Vegas train project gets approval to build along 15 Freeway. A plan to build a high-speed train between Southern California and Las Vegas got a boost Tuesday after the rail company in charge of the project received permission to build along Interstate 15. XpressWest entered into a lease agreement with the California Department of Transportation to construct the rail line on I-15’s median, Caltrans announced in a news release. Approximately 135 miles of the 170-mile rail system will be in California. The project will be privately financed and will cost about $7 billion, according to 2018 estimates.
  • 💰/SJMN Golden Gate Bridge officials probe ‘singing’ noise on span. The Golden Gate Bridge district began plans this week to study a new noise emanating from the bridge that can be heard for miles on gusty days. The sound is the result of fast northwesterly winds passing through new railings and wind fairings on the western side between the two towers as part of on ongoing wind retrofit project. It has been described by the district as “singing,” but some local residents during Friday’s bridge board meeting had other choice words, calling it screeching that sounded like torture and saying it caused such physiological distress that it was impossible to ignore.
  • Legal ruling could unleash delayed funding for Bay Area transit, road projects. A state appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling allowing a 2018 voter-approved toll hike on state-owned bridges in the Bay Area to stand, a move that could finally unleash up to $4.5 billion to pay for regional road and transit upgrades, including projects tied to Highway 101, SMART and Highway 37 in the North Bay. A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco issued its decision on Monday, siding with the Bay Area Toll Authority following oral arguments in late May. A planned appeal to the state Supreme Court, however, could further stall the funding and delay dozens of projects that depend on it.
  • 💰/SFC Golden Gate Bridge’s new hum louder than expected; officials explore options to fix handrails. Golden Gate Bridge engineers knew the span might sing once its new handrails were installed, but they never expected the bridge to wail as loudly and off-key as it does on profoundly windy days. With the graceful bridge becoming known for its discordant tune, as well as its famously good looks, bridge officials told the district’s Board of Directors last week that they’re trying to tone down the noise a bit.
  • Marin transit agencies in line for $77M more in aid. Marin County transit providers are being recommended for nearly $77 million in additional federal relief funds, but officials say this will only forestall service cuts unless more aid becomes available. A panel created by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission made a recommendation this week on how to disburse the remaining $508 million in relief funding among 27 Bay Area transit agencies. The money is coming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
  • Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration – Route 20. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to improve a curve, replace guardrail, and widen shoulders on State Route 20 at post miles 19.1 through 19.6 between Fort Bragg and Willits in Mendocino County. The replaced guardrail and curve realignment would bring this section of highway up to current standards and the shoulders will be widened to create bicycle lanes. The Initial Study is available electronically by visiting the Caltrans website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-3/d3-programs/d3-environmental/d3-environmental-docs/d3-mendocino-county.

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🛣 Updates to California Highways – July 2020 – The Site Design Reveal

It’s finally here. The site rework. As you can see if you visit www.cahighways.org, the major changes are the introduction of new menu navigation and the elimination of the use of the tables for headers and footers, which should improve the look of the site on mobile devices. There is a new overall site navigation bar; there is also a floating menu on each page that provides the same access. The floating menu is handy because it remains visible even if you have scrolled down deep into a page. I have also done some preliminary work to make images autosize on smaller screens, although some menus will still require some horizonal scrolling. I’m still working on that.

The big change is that the site has been moved to have one route per page, with improved navigation within the page for each route (i.e., there is an internal page navigation menu). This should really make a big difference on the large route pages such as Route 1, US 101, and such. It will also make a difference for those unlucky group pages that had multiple large files, such as the groups that had Route 1 and I-5, or Route 99 and US 101. They all now have their individual pages. For those of you who linked into the route pages, don’t fret. The old files are still there so your links will work, but have been changed to use Javascript that automatically redirects to the right page. You shouldn’t need to change anything. If you refer to something out of the range of the file, you should end up on Route 404. Please let me know of any problems.

I hopefully fixed any problems that occurred when “Route” (or other equivalents such as US, BR, CR, etc.) was part of an ALT or TITLE attribute of an IMG, or when it was in an A tag (i.e., I prevented the normal mechanism that converts such references from working). I also (hopefully) prevented translation when US- or I- appears in the HREF or SRC attribute. Hopefully, this didn’t break anything, but if you find problems, let me know.

While I was at it, I finally fixed the variant spelling of “milage” to “mileage”. I insisted “milage” was correct all the way back in April 1998, but I decided to bow to convention.

While doing the update pass, I named the segments in all the routes, and did a bit of link updating. I still need to go through all the regional resource link pages and confirm that links are still good. If you maintain a regional highway hobbyist (i.e., state, province, or country) page, please make sure I have the link. I’ve also updated the statistics pages — most notably including some 2018 traffic count information.

Major changes were made in how the list of named highways was generated. Previously, I had to hand maintain that table. The table is now generated from information in the individual highway pages. As a side effect of this, unique named anchors are generated for each name, and the link to the route in the name table goes directly to the name (something I’ve wanted to do for years). The only drawbacks of this is that (a) sometimes a route gets listed twice, because the same name appears in multiple segments; (b) I can no longer include business routes in the names list, so Business Route 80 is listed as Route 51 (sorry, Cap City Freeway); and (c) some variants of names might get collapsed. As before, let me know of any problems that I might not have caught.

As always, a big ✘ to Caltrans and their accessibility rework, which broke almost every link I had into their site. I was able to rediscover and relink most of the resources. If you identify other Caltrans links that require correction, let me know. As always, I’ll be glad to host un-remediated Caltrans resources to make things available pending remediation.

As I note in the sources, special credit goes to Steve Sobol, who helped me figure out the CSS tricks that are at the heart of the 2020 reworking of the site. Steve is a road scholar of long standing, but more than that, a generally good person who has been there to help me with numerous computer issues. If you need computer help, or a web site, or other consulting, I highly recommend him.

Actually highway content changes are light, and primarily in response to email. As a reminder, I’m looking for photographs of highway or structure naming signs that are not currently present in the route pages; if you find one, please send it to webmaster@cahighways.org. In this go around, I added information and made updates based my research(1) and information from Frank Aros(2), Karen Davis(3), Tom Fearer(4), Occidental Tourist on AARoads(5) to the following routes: Route 13(2), Route 17(2), US 80(3), Route 91(2), US 99(3), Route 145(4), Route 149(4), Route 245(4), Route 269(4), I-605(5). I also added some information related to trail names and the “Southern Cause”, based on information provided by Jill Livingston and the LA Times article regarding a Jefferson Davis Highway historical monument.


🛣 Headlines About California Highways in June 2020

Highway headlines in the time of COVID-19 continues, with seemingly fewer news items. How much of that is due to COVID, and how much just due to changes in the natures of highway funding and what makes news is anyone’s guess. But before we jump into the headlines, a little bit of other California Highways news. The site refresh is proceeding apace, now that I’ve figured out how I want the menus to look. I hope to have it up sometime in July, but here are some of the highlights of what you’ll be seeing:

  • Reduced use of tables for formatting and page layout, meaning things should flow better for mobile devices. I haven’t gone to a full responsive design framework … yet.
  • Individual files for each state and county route.
  • Automatic redirects, so if you refer to the old 8-routes-per-file notation, you still get to the right place (in other words: you don’t need to change your code)
  • Menus that will make it easier to jump within a given highway page to a segment, section or structuring section / subsection

Now, back to the headlines. Here are your headlines about California Highways in June, and 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; DB/Daily Breeze]

  • Rte 163/11 Separation. Intersection of the 110 and W Ave 26.
  • Caltrans Resurfacing Portions of State Rte. 166. A resurfacing of State Route 166 from Obispo Street in Guadalupe to Blosser Road in Santa Maria will begin on Monday, June 8.
  • Clay Street still eyed for widening, moving bridge. It’s been 18 months or so since the Clay Street Bridge in Placerville has been in the news, but those months have not been without movement toward a city project that aims to widen the roadway and possibly move what some say is an historical asset. It is precisely because the city wants to be certain all historical and cultural matters are explored and sensitively dealt with during the Clay Street Realignment and Replacement Project that the delay occurred. That, and of course, COVID-19, the City Council was told Tuesday by City Engineer Rebecca Neves.
  • Scott Road Interchange Open. Courtesy Post: The Scott Road Interchange is fully open this week for the first time as the project enters the completion stage.
  • ‘A giant wheezing kazoo’: Golden Gate Bridge starts to ‘sing’ after design fix. San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge has started “singing” following recent changes to bicycle-path railings that appear to make music as the wind blows through them, residents have reported. The eerie sound has prompted perplexed, cheeky, and even desperate reactions from locals.
  • Granite wins $16m Cosumnes Bridge project. Granite has been awarded the Child Project 4 (CP4) portion of the Cosumnes Bridge Replacement Project by the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) in Sacramento County. The contact is part of a phased delivery of the overall $158 million project. The $16 million project contract is included in Granite’s second quarter 2020 backlog, the company says.
  • 🚫/NVR American Canyon starts condemnation proceedings for big road project. American Canyon is flexing its eminent domain muscles as it seeks to acquire several slivers of private property it deems necessary for the Green Island Road project in the industrial area. The City Council on Tuesday voted to initiate eminent domain proceedings against four property owners. That means if the parties can’t negotiate deals, the city can take the land and the courts will decide the sale prices.
  • E. I-880 Express Lanes. The I-880 Express Lanes are nearing completion. Your drive on I-880 will change as new striping of the far-left lanes begins the week of June 8th.

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🛣 Updates to California Highways — May 2020 Parts II and III

May 2020 Part III:

Added historical information and naming pictures to the following routes, my research(1) and information from Corco(2), Denis Wolcott/Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project(1): I-710(1), I-880(2).

Joel Windmiller has been posting historical information about route adoptions to the California’s Historic Highways group on Facebook. With his permission, I’ve started grabbing that information and incorporating on the corresponding pages for the current highways. This resulted in changes to the following routes:  I-5, US 40, US 50, Route 65, Route 70, Route 89, Route 99, Route 113, Route 244, I-680, I-780.

Worked my way through the 2020 SHOPP adopted at the May 2020 CTC Meeting. The State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) is the State Highway System’s “fix-it-first” program that funds the repair and preservation, emergency repairs, safety improvements, and some highway operational improvements on the State Highway System (SHS). By continuously repairing and rehabilitating the SHS, the SHOPP protects the enormous investment that has been made over many decades to create and manage the approximately 50,000 lane-mile SHS. Much of what is in the SHOPP is significant work, but not at the level of interest that impacts these pages. For example, SHOPP funding that simply rehabilitates existing roadways, improves drainage, fixes landscaping, repairs storm damage, adds ADA cutouts, and such does not make a long-term historical impact on a route, or make changes that sometime in future years might be curious about. Some other SHOPP changes, however, are of interest: new roundabouts, potentially rumble strips, realigning a roadway for safety, replacing a bridge — all can impact the pages. All projects  funded by the SHOPP are limited to capital improvements that do not add  capacity (no new highway lanes) to the SHS, though some new auxiliary lanes are  eligible for SHOPP funding. The SHOPP portfolio of projects is updated every two years, carrying forward  projects programmed in the last two years of the preceding SHOPP and making those last two years of projects the first two years of projects in the new SHOPP. There are also “long lead” SHOPP projects, which require more than four years to develop due to complex environmental and preliminary engineering work. The 2020 SHOPP contains 40 Long Lead projects, valued at $2.93 billion. These projects are authorized to start work on the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED) phase. Separate authorization addresses the construction phase. Projects are generally divided into nine broad categories: Major Damage Restoration, Collision Reduction, Mandates (such as reserves for relinquishment), Bridge Preservation, Roadway Preservation, Mobility, Roadside Preservation, Facilities, and Multiple Objective.

Contrast the SHOPP with the STIP, which was incorporated in the main May updates. The STIP is a multi-year capital improvement program of transportation projects on and off the State Highway System, funded with revenues from the Transportation Investment Fund and other funding sources. STIP programming generally occurs every two years. With respect to highways, the STIP has two types of projects. Capacity Increasing Highway Operational Improvements, which are improvements that expand the design capacity of the system, and thus are not eligible for SHOPP funding. If regional, they are nominated by the regional agency; if statewide, Caltrans nominates them.  Examples of such projects would be HOV lanes and interchanges, interchange design modifications and upgrades to accommodate traffic volumes that are significantly larger than the original design capability of the existing facility, or truck or slow vehicle lanes on freeways with six or more lanes. There are also non-capacity improvements that could be funded through the SHOPP, but which can be implemented faster through the STIP.

My review of the adopted SHOPP resulted in updates to the following routes: Route 1, Route 3, Route 4, I-5, Route 9, I-10, Route 12, Route 13, I-15, Route 17, Route 20, Route 22, Route 25, Route 26, Route 29, Route 33, Route 35, Route 36, Route 37, Route 39, I-40, Route 41, Route 43, Route 49, US 50, Route 51, Route 52, Route 59, Route 68, Route 70, Route 74, Route 79, I-80, Route 82, Route 84, Route 88, Route 96, Route 99, US 101, I-105, Route 110, Route 120, Route 121, Route 128, Route 133, Route 138, Route 140, Route 145, Route 154, Route 162, Route 165, Route 175, Route 180, Route 184, Route 190, I-215, Route 217, Route 223, Route 237, Route 245, Route 299, US 395, I-405, I-580, I-710. The Route 39 item is particularly amazing: a Long-Lead item “Near Falling Springs, from 1.8 miles north of Crystal Lake Road to Route 2. Rehabilitate and reopen a 4.4 mile segment of Route 39.” Who woulda thunk, right? Even more amazing is the schedule: it is programmed in FY26-27, with construction scheduled to start May 2027.

May 2020 Part II:

Completed the update for format and memorial names. Next up: The SHOPP that was approved at the May 2020 CTC Meeting.


🛣 Headlines about California Highways for May 2020

Yet another month has passed. Yet another month of working from home. I never would have thought that I would miss commuting on the 405, but I do. I’m still doing what I was doing when this mess started: recording more of my Uncle’s Blues and Folk LPs to MP3 for my iPod, and working on the highway pages (although this time, it is going through the May 2020 SHOPP, not a full update).

As for the headlines, I’m still collecting them, although there seem to be fewer of them. Here’s what I’ve gathered for May, but before I say “ready, set, …”, one last thing. Look at my highway pages. I’m still missing pictures of name signs, and of the people that were named. If you can help supply either of those, please send them along.

And now… 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]

  • SR 210 Lane Addition and Base Line Interchange Construction Alert – Week of May 4. Crews are taking advantage of reduced traffic volumes and maximizing project efficiency by beginning some closures earlier in the evening and reopening later in the morning.  Please note that during bridge demolition, city streets may be closed to traffic overnight, underneath SR 210. Detour signs will be posted in advance to direct motorists around the work areas.  Please be advised, this work may be loud and disruptive due to concrete demolition activity, lighting within the work area, flashing lights on equipment, back-up alarms, and related equipment noise.
  • 💰/SJMN S.F.: Hwy. 101 lanes open after Alemany deck replacement finishes. Caltrans crews taking advantage of light traffic during COVID-19 shelter orders have completed work earlier than scheduled on the U.S. Highway 101 Alemany Deck replacement project. All lanes on the freeway opened at 4:20 a.m. Saturday, and both directions on Alemany Boulevard eastbound reopened at midnight, according to Caltrans.
  • California coronavirus stay-home order cuts traffic, gas tax. California’s stay-at-home order could mean a loss of $370 million in funds that help pay for highway construction and maintenance as well as aid for transit, a new study from UC Davis’ Road Ecology Center reported Friday. Researchers found that vehicle miles driven have plunged more than 75 percent in the state since the coronavirus outbreak shut down much of California in mid-March.
  • ‘Pavement Preservation Project’ on State Route 3 in Trinity County Starts Tomorrow. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans District 2), in conjunction with Tullis Inc., is getting ready to begin the Rush Creek and Trinity Center Overlay Project on State Route 3 in Trinity County. The $3.2 million pavement preservation project will provide a hot mix asphalt overlay and replacement of asphalt concrete surfacing at two locations:
  • Covid-19 Spurs a Road Repair Boom—and Threatens a Bust. Until a few weeks ago, the California Department of Transportation was girding itself for a summer disaster. Come July, it was planning to shut down a congested stretch of Highway 101 between San Francisco and Silicon Valley for nearly three weeks to tear out and rebuild an aging, cracking bridge deck that carries the freeway over San Francisco’s Alemany Circle. It anticipated 6-mile-long backups and hour-long delays—and that’s if it could persuade one-third of drivers to skip the trip or at least avoid rush hour. Then, in early March, Covid-19 hit the United States. California issued a shelter-in-place order. And while most residents stayed home, the state’s Department of Transportation went to work.
  • SR 60 Swarm Pavement Rehabilitation Project Continues. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues work on the Pavement Rehabilitation Project on State Route 60 (SR-60), part of the 60 Swarm, to repair deteriorated pavement slabs.  The two right lanes on eastbound SR-60 from Archibald Avenue to Interstate 15 (I-15) will remain closed until the end of June to allow for accelerated pavement work. The closure will be monitored for traffic impacts and based on traffic volumes.
  • CTC: Active Transportation Program Application Deadlines Delayed, More Actions. At yesterday’s California Transportation Commission meeting, most of the agenda items focused on COVID-19 impacts on transportation, transportation funding, and responses from state agencies. Staff recommended delaying deadlines for several S.B. 1 programs to give cities time more time to apply for grants.
  • Supervisors to Consider Eminent Domain Action in Midtown Connector Project. The Madera County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing this week to consider an eminent domain action against an Oakhurst business owner in order to keep moving forward with the Oakhurst Midtown Connector project, which will create a new road linking the area near Yosemite High directly to Highway 41.
  • Five 101 Closures at Last Chance Grade Coming in May. Caltrans will be fully shutting down U.S. Highway 101 at Last Chance Grade overnight five times in May to conduct roadwork needed to stabilize the notorious stretch of road in Del Norte County. According to a Facebook post, the closures on May 11, 12 and 13 will take place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. On May 14 and May 15, the shutdowns are planned for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and from 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • 💰/SFC Report: State could lose $1.3 billion in gas tax revenue during coronavirus shutdown. California may lose $1.3 billion in gas tax revenue during the coronavirus shelter-in-place period, a side effect of the decline in driving, according to a scientist at UC Davis. The numbers appear in a new report from the university’s Road Ecology Center, which shows that drivers consumed 85.8 million gallons of gas during the second week of April, a steep drop from the 349 million gallons pumped in the first week of March.
  • Full Closure of US Route 395 at State Route 58 (Kramer Junction) for 5 days.  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, will be closing US Route 395 (US-395) at Kramer Junction for five days to allow BNSF workers to replace concrete panels, rails and re-ballast the tracks crossing US-395 immediately north of the intersection of State Route 58 (SR-58). The railroad work is a portion of the completion work for the Kramer Junction project which began in late 2017 to realign Old State Route 58 to the new expressway east and west of “Four Corners” in San Bernardino County.
  • Caltrans Highway 74 Raised Median Safety Project continues between Valle Vista and the I-215. Caltrans subcontractors are continuing their work on the state Route 74 Raised Median Safety Project constructing medians from Ramona Expressway in Valle Vista to Interstate 215 in Menifee. The two projects, totaling $33 million, began 2019 with contractors Autobahn Construction from the city of Orange and Granite Construction Company. Autobahn’s work on the $13.1 million safety in Hemet and Valle Vista continues on the raised curb median with access just west of Acacia Avenue to Ramona Expressway.
  • Detour Ahead: Imperial Ave. Interchange Work Starting. Road construction has already begun on the Interstate 8/Imperial Avenue interchange in El Centro and the effects of that work were already being felt by motorists, explained an official with Imperial County Transportation Commission. “The construction started on May 5 but Caltrans already installed barriers on the north side of I-8 alongside the road,” said Mark Baza, executive director of ICTC. “The California Highway Patrol will be out there monitoring the situation and speeds will be reduced to 60 miles per hour in the vicinity of the area.”
  • 💰/SFC Speedy contractor finishes SF freeway project early, pockets $8 million. Renowned contractor C.C. Myers, of MacArthur Maze repair fame, has done it again — this time making millions for delivering the Alemany overpass rebuild ahead of schedule.  Myers, now doing business as Myers & Sons, was the prime contractor on the just-completed $37 million rebuild of the Alemany Boulevard overpass on Highway 101 in San Francisco.
  • Petaluma infrastructure work fasttracked in shutdown. Several big public works projects have progressed in the Petaluma area despite the coronavirus shutdown. In some cases, work has even sped up as crews take advantage of fewer cars on the roads during the shelter in place order. Most public works functions, including road work, keeping water and sewer pipes flowing and operating transit systems, were deemed essential in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order and allowed to continue with workers taking extra safety precautions.
  • CTC Approves SHOPP, Including Funding Specifically for Complete Streets. The California Transportation Commission today adopted the 2020 State Highway Operations and Protection Program. The $20 billion program will include a $100 million set-aside for Complete Streets elements on existing SHOPP projects. This is a major change in how SHOPP projects are usually funded. In addition to the unusual “reservation” for complete streets, this is the first SHOPP that is “entirely driven by performance measures,” according to Caltrans staff. The projects in it must be consistent with state plans that outline priorities for funding, including the Asset Management Plan, the Highway System Management Plan, district performance plans, and annual performance benchmarks for meeting state goals on a variety of measures.
  • Worker Safety Project to Begin on State Routes 3 and 299 in Trinity County on June 1st. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans District 2), in conjunction with Tullis Inc., is preparing to start work on the Trinity Worker Safety Project on State Routes 3 and 299 in Trinity County. The $2.3 million project is making worker safety improvements at 12 locations along these two routes. Work planned for the project includes:
  • Interchange planning still ongoing. The last time the Ceres City Council took action on advancing the Mitchell/Service Highway 99 interchange was one year ago. Where is the project today? In a nutshell, still in the planning stages. But news of the state’s prediction of a $54 billion budget shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year has officials worrying about the prospects for funding.
  • (UPDATED) The Planning Commission Approved a $1.5M Trail Through Manila, But Critics Say They May Appeal. The tiny community of Manila, which lies scattered across the Samoa Peninsula between coastal sand dunes and the shores of Humboldt Bay, gets sliced right down the middle by State Route 255. There’s a 55-miles-per-hour speed limit on this straightaway, which is also known as New Navy Base Road, but speeding is so common that locals often post handmade signs urging people to slow down.
  • Caltrans, SANDAG enter next stage of I-5 construction. Caltrans and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Build North Coast Corridor (NCC) crews have entered the next stage of Interstate 5 (I-5) construction. Last week, crews began shifting construction operations from the I-5 median to the outside shoulders in both north and southbound directions between Birmingham Drive in the City of Encinitas and Palomar Airport Road in the City of Carlsbad.
  • Funds approved to fix state route 116/121 intersection in Sonoma. The California Transportation Commission met on May 13, 2020, and approved the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) for 2020. This is the first-ever SHOPP that is entirely based on performance and focused outcomes. Included in the 2020 program is funding in the amount of $19M to complete improvements at theintersection of Highways 116 and 121 southwest of the City of Sonoma. The money will become available in 2022. Measure M, the ¼-cent sales tax for transportation, was used to leverage the state dollars in order to fully fund the improvements. Measure M is contributing $5M.
  • Solutions Developed to Improve Beach Boulevard Travel. Following the completion of a study by OCTA and Caltrans, cities along Beach Boulevard between La Habra and Huntington Beach will have fresh ideas to guide local planning initiatives regarding improvements to transit service, sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals.
  • Hwy 50 Y to Trout Creek. Striping and some punch-list items are all that remain on the Highway 50 Y to Trout Creek Project in the @City of South Lake Tahoe. This important water-quality improvement project also replaced sidewalks, increased the width of the highway for bike lanes and repaved the roadway. Work will be finished this summer! Learn more: http://tahoeroads.com/
  • 💰/SJMN Toll takers will temporarily return on Bay Area bridges. Q: The no-cash toll collection on Bay Area bridges seems to be working well.  Why don’t they make that permanent? They were planning on doing that some time, anyway.
  • New lane striping ahead for I-880 express lanes, fall opening draws closer. Work crews as early as next week will begin striping new lane configurations on Interstate 880 in Alameda County as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Caltrans gear up for the fall 2020 opening of new Express Lanes between Oakland and the Santa Clara County line. The five-week project will result in significant changes for drivers in the I-880 corridor. These will include the addition of double white lines (which cannot be lawfully crossed) in several segments, dashed lines in others, and the creation of new merge lanes in select locations.
  • $19M for Schellville roundabout. A long-awaited solution to traffic snarls in the Sonoma Valley is slowly coming closer to repair in the form of a roundabout where Arnold Drive and Highway 121 meet in Schellville. A $19 million grant to help see the project through was announced this week by state transportation officials.
  • SR-55 Improvements Will Relieve Congestion in Irvine, Santa Ana & Tustin. Expected to break ground in 2021, the SR-55 Improvement Project will reduce travel times between I-405 and I-5 through one of the most highly congested stretches of freeway in the county. Funded by OC Go (also known as Measure M), the $411 million project is expected to be completed in 2024 and will add one regular lane and one carpool lane in each direction of SR-55 through the cities of Irvine, Santa Ana and Tustin, along with auxiliary lanes between interchanges.
  • Granite Selected for Construction Manager/General Contractor Cosumnes Bridge Child Project 4 Project in California. Granite (NYSE:GVA) announced today that it has been awarded the Child Project 4 (CP4) portion of the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) contract of the Cosumnes Bridge Replacement Project by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in Sacramento County, California. This CM/GC contract is part of a phased delivery of the overall $158 million project. The $16 million project contract is included in Granite’s second quarter 2020 backlog.
  • Caltrans starts drainage system restoration project on State Route 36W. Caltrans District 2, in conjunction with Wylatti Resource Management Inc., has begun work on the Red Bluff Drainage Project on State Route 36W in western Tehama County. The $2 million project, which is funded in part by Senate Bill 1, is making drainage system improvements at 26 locations on SR 36W from about 1.5 miles east of the Shasta and Tehama counties line to about 3 miles west of Baker Road, according to a release issued by Caltrans.
  • Metro releases Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental assessment for I-105 ExpressLanes project. The Draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA), Project Report, Concept of Operations, and Traffic and Revenue Study for the I-105 ExpressLanes Project will be available for public review and comment on the project website beginning Friday, May 22, 2020, through Monday, July 6, 2020. The supporting Draft EIR/EA and Project Report technical studies as well as printed copies of the aforementioned reports are available upon request.
  • 🚫/TDT Caltrans completes work on US 50 in South Lake Tahoe. Traffic-interfering work is complete on a water quality and roadway improvement project on U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe, Caltrans announced Thursday. This $52.9 million project from the “Y” intersection at State Route 89 to the Trout Creek Bridge constructed new drainage systems to treat stormwater runoff before it enters Lake Tahoe and adjacent water bodies that discharge into the lake. The project also rebuilt the curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of this 2-mile section of Highway 50 (Lake Tahoe Boulevard) and increased the road width to provide for Class II bike lanes.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)