Yup, I haven’t written on my blog for most of April. April has been a strange month, to say the least. You would think being “safer at home” — and having no theatre to go to — would give me more time, but I’ve been really busy. I’ve been working from home full time, and also working on a big update to the highway pages covering December through April, including reviewing all the headlines, going through the legislative stuff, going through the CTC stuff (including the 2020 STIP), and adding more memorial information. You can look for it to drop in a week or two, after I go through these headlines.
As I’ve been collecting them, my impression has been that there has been less news and more quiet work. Most of the articles I’ve been seeing have been on the impact of COVID-19 on transit systems, and how it has lightened traffic (which are not collectable headlines for this list). Certainly, CTC and transit organization meetings have gone virtual, and the legislature has been on medical recess. But there has still been news, and folks like Tom have been keeping busy. Which, of course, means I’m keeping busy as well, going through them.
One last note: You saw my mention about the memorial information. I’m looking in particular for pictures of highway name signs (i.e., if a highway is named something, a picture showing that particular name on a sign — not just as a destination city), and in some cases, pictures of the people named. When I do upload the updates, look at the updated pages to see if you might have any photos to go with my missing information.
Now, 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]
- Sterling Awarded $20.3 Million Project by CalTrans. Sterling Construction Company, Inc. (NasdaqGS: STRL) (“Sterling” or “the Company”) today announced that its subsidiary, Myers & Sons Construction, LLC (“Myers”) was selected by the California Department of Transportation (“CalTrans”) for a bridge project in San Francisco. The $20.3 million project entails replacing bridge decks, concrete barriers, and railings, along with installation of carbon fiber wrap around the existing bridge columns at the Alemany Circle Undercrossing. The job is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
- OLANCHA-CARTAGO 4-LANE PROJECT UPDATE. Caltrans is in the final stages of design and right-of-way acquisition for the Olancha-Cartago 4-Lane project. The project will upgrade 12.6 miles of the current two-lane highway to a four-lane access-controlled expressway. The new alignment will begin four miles south of Olancha to four miles north of Cartago and will close the gap between the existing four-lane sections to the north and the south.
- COVID-19 Lessons for Congestion Pricing – The Eno Center for Transportation. Travel within major U.S. metropolitan areas has all but stopped with at least 20 percent of the population under virtual lockdown. Various anecdotes and new analyses show that with so little movement, once-ubiquitous traffic congestion is all but eliminated. It may thus seem like the wrong time for cities and regions to continue to pursue congestion pricing strategies. Prior to the current public health crisis, serious proposals and studies were underway in places like San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. New York is set to roll out the first congestion pricing program in the U.S. next year. Decongesting Manhattan is the primary goal with the revenue being allocated toward the beleaguered Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the anticipation that better service will attract more riders. We know traffic will come back to New York post-coronavirus, especially if commuters adopt new fears of shared transportation modes. Possible shifts toward driving would only compound the beating transit agencies are taking during the shutdown due to lost revenues.
- 💰/SJMN Crews pick up the pace on Bay Area express lane projects. Q: Interstate 880 through Hayward. Potholes galore and bumps. Why can’t they repave the freeway while there are very few cars on the road? … Also, Highway 101 has a lot of potholes. … Is Caltrans speeding up any construction now that they could close down a lane or two with little effect all day, compared to a previously normal time? … Are there projects that could be accelerated to take advantage of the light traffic during the COVID-19 shutdown, like Highway 101 at Alemany Circle?
- Cranes Key to Giving Ventura Freeway Its New Look. The California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) $55 million Interstate 5 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lane project between State Route 134 (the Ventura Freeway) and Magnolia Boulevard is expected to be substantially completed this Spring. “This is one of several projects that make up Caltrans’ ongoing $1.3 billion I-5 North improvements on I-5 (the Golden State Freeway) between SR-134 and State Route 118,” said Michael Comeaux, public information officer, Caltrans — District 7. “This project is widening I-5 to add 2.7 miles of HOV lanes in each direction in Glendale and Burbank, where I-5 had four lanes in each direction at the outset of the project. Upon completion, I-5 will have one HOV lane plus four regular freeway lanes in each direction.”
- Northbound 101 near Orcutt project to begin Monday. The northbound US Highway 101 on and off ramps will undergo roadwork to accommodate a new signalized intersection at Clark Avenue near Orcutt beginning Monday, April 6.
- 💰/NVR Napa creates $500 million long-range transportation list. A 30-year, more than $500 million Napa County transportation list with 77 projects is a road map to the area’s roads of the future, as well as its bike paths and transit service. The Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) has honed a list detailing how to spend anticipated federal, state, regional and local transportation revenues through 2050. Projects range from major Highway 29 improvements to an Oxbow Preserve pedestrian bridge in the city of Napa.