Headlines About California Highways from October 2017

We survived October, some better than others. We’ve seen significant damage to our roadways and communities from fires. We’ve seen roads closed during the spring storms start to reopen. We’ve already seen roads being closed due to snow. And winter is coming folks: bringing more storms and wet weather. On the funding front, we’re starting to see the allocations show up from SB1, the increase in the gas tax to cover transportation and transportation infrastructure maintenance. We’re also seeing folks gearing up to fight the gas tax, without a proposal for how our roads will be funded. Interesting times indeed, and it doesn’t even explore how the Federal tax proposals will impact highway funding.

And you thought Halloween was scary.

But… let’s ignore it… and look at the headlines… and for those of you reading this on my blog, I got out the tools and spiffed up the place a little. I’d love to hear what you think of the remodel.

  • I-680 express lanes opening Monday. After over two years of construction, the opening date for San Ramon Valley’s Interstate 680 express lanes are officially scheduled to open this Monday (Oct. 9). The $56 million project has involved converting the single high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction into a toll express lane as a tool to help reduce congestion. It includes one northbound express lane from Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon to Livorna Road in Alamo, and one southbound express lane from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard.
  • What can be done to ease southwest Riverside County traffic on the 15 Freeway?. There was a time when traffic flowed freely on the 15 Freeway. There also was a time when we used the Pony Express to send long-distance messages. And while it wasn’t 160 years ago that the 15 Freeway was without congestion, it may seem so when you’re crawling along slower than a tired pony. Temecula Councilman Mike Naggar is leading a rescue posse to do something before the traffic gets worse.
  • Marin carpool lane expansion project still stalled out. Plans to expand carpool lane hours in Marin are still stuck in neutral. Last week local politicians, transportation officials and Caltrans representatives met to talk about a Metropolitan Transportation Commission plan to expand the hours from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 to 9 a.m. southbound on Highway 101 as a three-month pilot. But there remains opposition from most Marin officials, who fear the move would make traffic worse on the freeway. Caltrans — the agency with the final say — has remained non-committal. The initial MTC plan had the pilot going from October to December, but that has failed to materialize.
  • Marin has four highway hot spots on traffic nightmare list. If the Novato-to-San Rafael morning commute feels like it has grown worse in recent years, it’s because it has, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Commission report. The agency released a list of the 50 most-congested corridors in the region and four locales are in Marin. The latest findings — based on 2016 traffic counts — show the morning southbound Highway 101 commute from Rowland Boulevard in Novato to North San Pedro Road in San Rafael is 15th worst in the Bay Area. The ranking was based on traffic measured from 6:40 to 10:05 a.m. Last year it was 14th. While the segment dropped in rank, the traffic got worse.

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