🛣 Headlines About California Highways – December 2020

Ah, 2020. So nice to finally have you in the rearview mirror of history. You’ve left mayhem and destruction in your wake, and you’ve even sent debris ahead of you. We’ve had to send out significant crews to clean up the mess that you have left. Precious little good has come out of the 2020—a new president, some new vaccines, and the site redesign of California Highways. But the year has seen sickness and intense work to “flatten the curve”. This, in turn, curtailed vacations and roadtrips. We couldn’t get out there and visit the roads, and explore the history. But the workers on our highway—they are essential workers working on the road so we can get where we need to go. It is their hard work that makes these headlines possible.

To everyone reading this, may you have a happy and healthy new year. The periodic update for the California Highways is in the works as I post this. As they say, “watch this space”. So let’s look back at the headlines and post of interest for December 2020 … and toast to a much better 2021.

[Ħ Historical information | $ Paywalls and  ∅ other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; ]

Highway Headlines

  • Granite Awarded $39 Million Highway Widening Project in Southern California. Granite (NYSE:GVA) announced it has been awarded the State Route 74 Ortega Highway Widening Project by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in Lake Elsinore, California. The $39 million contract is anticipated to be included in Granite’s fourth quarter 2020 backlog.
  • /PE 60 Freeway median work near Fontana, Jurupa Valley to be wrapped in 2021. Q: Gabro Gonzales recently noticed construction work being done in the median on the 60 Freeway around Fontana/Jurupa Valley near the Country Village exit. He said lights had been installed in the same area and he questioned why workers were now removing the concrete median and lights in the same area.
  • I-8/Imperial Closure Starts Dec. 3; to Last 6-8 Months. Construction crews will close the westbound Interstate 8/Imperial Avenue ramps on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 9 p.m., which will leave the eastbound and westbound I-8 ramps at Imperial closed for six to eight months for Stage 2 work on the I-8/Imperial interchange project, according to a press release from the state Department of Transportation.
  • The International Road Federation Announces Global Road Achievement Award. The International Road Federation (IRF) has announced that the “Pacific Coast Highway – South Los Angeles” Project performed for Caltrans by VSS International, Inc. of West Sacramento, CA, has won the 2020 Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA) in the category of “Asset Preservation & Maintenance Management.”  The award was presented to VSS International, Inc. on November 13th at the 2020 IRF Global R2T Conference. This award-winning section of the Pacific Coast Highway stretched 22 miles from Seal Beach north to Artesia Boulevard in Los Angeles County consisting of over 130 lane miles.
  • Ninth Circuit Clears Path for Contested Highway Project in Ancient Redwood Grove. The Ninth Circuit gave California a green light Wednesday to move forward with a contested highway project through a majestic grove of ancient redwood trees, reversing a lower court ruling that halted construction pending further environmental review. The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, has been trying for more than a decade to alter a 1.1-mile strip of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County, about a 3 ½-hour drive north from San Francisco. Established in 1922, the park is home to redwood trees as old as 3,000 years old and soaring up to 300 feet and with diameters as wide as 18 feet.
  • /MIJ State allots key funds for Marin-Sonoma Narrows project. A years long project aiming to address one of the North Bay’s worst traffic bottlenecks is closer to completion after receiving $40 million from the state. The funds approved by the California Transportation Commission in a unanimous vote on Wednesday will go toward finishing the Marin-Sonoma “narrows” project on Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma where traffic clogs as the highway narrows from three to two lanes. The project will add a carpool lane in each direction along the 17-mile stretch of highway. An estimated 146,000 cars and 6,900 trucks used the section of highway daily prior to the pandemic.

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – November 2020

Boy, it’s been quiet on this blog.

There are a lot of reasons. Theatre has been on hiatus since COVID hit, meaning my weekly (or more) theatre, and thus theatre reviews, have been on hiatus. I’ve been writing about politics, but that’s been ephemerally over on Facebook… and it has been politics or COVID dominating the news. Further, for some reason, Westhost was very slow when I would try to update the blog (the server wasn’t provisioned right), so I hesitated to do updates here. Now, combine that with the blur that has been 2020: this is been both the seemingly fastest year in memory as all the markers between work and home life are blurred when your “office” is a 90° turn of your office chair and there are no vacations; it is also the seemingly slowest year in memory as it has been an endless political season, with endless Coronavirus news, and seemingly no end until we start to return to normal. But take heart: with this batch of headlines, we’re crossing into December. We’re rapidly approaching 2021, with a new incoming administration, and vaccines on the horizon. Perhaps normal will return in 2021.

But there is one thing that does go on: headlines and news about California’s highways. Here is my monthly collection of articles I’ve found through various sources, posted here both for your enjoyment, and so I can find the information when I do my next batch of updates to the California Highway pages. As always…. ready, set, discuss.

[📃 Historical information | 💰 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; PD/Press Democrat; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal]

  • South Pasadena gets funds for new ramps at the 110 and Fair Oaks, an interchange untouched for nearly 90 years. Fair Oaks Avenue runs like an arrow through the heart of the quaint city of South Pasadena, home of shops, restaurants and the historic Rialto Theatre. But during commuting hours, it resembles a parking lot, jammed with bumper-to-bumper congestion to the point where many commuters using the Waze app take Fremont Avenue and side streets, causing a second set of traffic problems for the residential city.
  • I-15/SR 78 Managed Lanes Direct Connectors Project I-15/Rte 78. Continued residential and economic growth along the east-west State Route 78 (SR 78) corridor in the cities of Escondido and San Marcos has placed strain on its connection to and from Interstate 15 (I-15), a major north-south managed Express Lanes system in San Diego County. New direct connectors between the existing I-15 Express Lanes and three miles of new Managed Lanes on SR 78 are intended to improve connectivity and traffic flow on and between the two corridors, increase access to homes and jobs, and improve overall quality of life in north inland San Diego County. Managed Lanes are a tool that help to increase freeway capacity and manage congestion by prioritizing carpool, vanpool and transit, and may allow solo drivers to travel if they are wiling to pay a fare, an alternative to traveling in the regular lanes. The I-15 Express Lanes system is a Managed Lanes system. The interchange improvements are being coordinated alongside the development of a Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (CMCP) which will look holistically at integrating and improving all modes of transportation in the north inland region, and aid in meeting specific greenhouse gas reduction goals, reducing vehicle trips, and minimizing the overall time people spend in the car.
  • After years of delays, Caltrans set to expand Highway 156. The daily commute on Highway 156 can be a drag, especially during the busier peak hour traffic times. But Caltrans announced last week that a new road expansion project is coming soon in hopes of reducing some of traffic congestion and saving millions in vehicle operating and accident costs. The San Benito Route 156 Improvement Project will be a five-mile, 4-lane expressway between The Alameda in San Juan Bautista to the Business Route on Highway 156 near Hollister.
  • What’s best for Gleason Beach? The iconic Gleason Beach / Scotty Creek watershed presents a prime example of a place where early pioneering settlers, digging out a dirt road by hand and horse-drawn equipment, followed the shortest distance between two points. Before contemporary land use planning was even a thing here, a precarious subdivision was sold off and houses built on an already-crumbling cliffside that has, quite predictably, continued to crumble.
  • Addressing Highway 92 traffic could carry toll. Every once in a while, a Coastsider will propose adding a toll to Highway 92 to keep visitor traffic at bay. Transportation experts say it’s not a bad idea, as “congestion pricing” is an increasingly popular way to deter solo drivers from busy areas during peak times. It’s not likely, either. While tolls aren’t new to the Bay Area, they’ve never been tested on the Coastside, and no local agencies are moving to charge drivers as they come over the hill.

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