🛣 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.

Read More …


🛣 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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