March has continued the rains of February, eliminating our drought and adding to the snowpack. It has also been creating havok on the roadways. But all news is not bad — I’ve been getting closer to finishing the first round of highway updates for the year. Here’s the last batch of headlines, articles, and posts that will make it into that update. As always: ready, set, discuss.
- Caltrans District 4 – MacArthur Maze Vertical Clearance Project. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is holding two encore open houses for the
Macarthur Maze (Maze) Vertical Clearance project. Caltrans is proposing to partially lower, raise, replace, or reconstruct connectors in the Maze. These four alternatives are being proposed to increase the vertical clearances at three locations in the Maze to meet the current Caltrans standard of 16 feet 6 inches to allow for more efficient travel of freight and oversized vehicles.
- Caltrans Marks Completion of State Route 99 Realignment in Fresno. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 15 to mark the completion of work on the “State Route 99 Realignment for High-Speed Rail” project in the City of Fresno.
- Westbound Highway 37 in Novato stays closed for now. State transportation workers are using motorized pumps to flush out the floodwater that has forced closure of westbound Highway 37, but it’s unclear when the traffic nightmare will end. Caltrans officials Thursday hoped to install up to six pumps along the highway that was closed in both directions Wednesday after a torrential downpour caused the swelling Novato Creek to overflow its banks.
- Highway 154 now open after month-long closure. Highway 154 reopened Friday morning after a month-long closure, according to Caltrans. The highway that connects Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez Valley has been closed since February 2 after heavy rain storms. A culvert near Cachuma Lake was clogged with debris, mud and burnt trees from the Whittier fire following those storms. That caused flooding and damaged the roadway.
- CHP reopens access to Idyllwild, San Jacinto Mountains, but warns the route will take longer. Tourists can head back into San Jacinto Mountain communities after two weeks of restrictions caused by winter rainstorms that washed out sections of the two highways leading into the area, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday. It’s welcome news for mountain businesses. “We were almost an island,” said Frank Ferro, owner of Ferro Restaurant and Idyllwild Brewpub. “The entire community is very excited that the road is going to be open. It’s definitely been a hardship on the business community.”