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; ]
- 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.