And with the flip of a calendar page, the first month of 2021 is in the books. This year was supposed to be better—and in some ways it is. We have competent leadership again, with scientists and smart people using facts to make decision. But the COVID related impacts continue, and the vaccine rollout is slow. Roadtrips will likely still be day trips, if they happen at all, and they won’t be until the summer at best. Theatre? Although I’ve got a few shows ticketed, I expect them to cancel and reschedule until June or later. The COVID waiting pattern continues…
But our highway workers are essential workers (and thank you to them). Our highway planners can work remotely. As such, the headlines continue unabated. Here are your headlines of various articles and other things posted related to California Highways during January 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; FB/Fresno Bee; 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; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; NW/Newsweek ]
- Historic Patton Depot demolished. The Santa Fe Kite Route Patton Depot on Highland Avenue, just west of Patton State Hospital was recently emolished for safety reasons after it was found to be structurally unsound. According to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which owns the building and property, demolition of the building began on Monday, Dec. 14, after the city of San Bernardino issued a demolition permit. Demolition work is expected to continue through the middle of January. The Moorish brick train station, opened by Santa Fe Railroad in 1898 as part of the historic Kite Route, connected several San Bernardino Valley towns and Los Angeles area cities with passenger and freight service.
- SANDAG to Enforce SR-125 Toll Violations for First Time Since Last April. State Route 125 toll violations will begin to be enforced Tuesday for the first time since the San Diego Association of Governments officially waived them last April in light of economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SANDAG Board of Directors voted late last month to approve the reinstatement of toll violations for the South Bay Expressway. Those tolls, along with the practice of placing vehicle registration holds for nonpayment of violations, had been suspended for the remainder of 2021. FasTrak monthly maintenance fees were also suspended.
- Downey Freeway Fighters Hang NO MORE LANES Banner over 5 Freeway. This morning, freeway fighters hung “NO MORE LANES” banners on a pedestrian overcrossing over the 5 Freeway in the city of Downey. “No more lanes” is a slogan used by the Happy City Coalition, a group that recently formed to oppose Metro and Caltrans’ plan to demolish hundreds of homes to widen the 605 and 5 Freeways. Last summer, Metro project staff announced the demolitions. In October, in response to community concerns, the Metro board directed Metro staff to study less destructive alternatives.
- ＄/OCR Busy year ahead in Orange County transportation construction. People staying home during the coronavirus pandemic led to emptier streets and freeways and sped-up roadwork schedules in 2020, and that progress will continue in 2021, transportation officials said. The year will start off with completion of a key project for south county drivers: the new Oso Parkway bridge is expected to open this month, said Samuel Johnson, CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which operate the toll road system including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 routes.
- ＄/FB Highway 41 deaths lead to construction, closure near Fresno. Changes are coming next week to a stretch of Highway 41 south of Fresno, what officials vow will lead to other improvements along a six-mile stretch of two-lane highway that’s been the site of numerous accidents – many fatal. State Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes held a news conference in November with family members of those killed along the highway and members of Facebook group Widen Highway 41 to push for changes. The politicians held another Wednesday with transportation leaders to announce Highway 41 between Excelsior Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue will be permanently designated a no-passing zone.
- San Diego leaders open portion of new West Mission Bay Drive bridge. Crews started work on the new West Mission Bay Bridge in the summer of 2018. And now nearly three years later, the project is halfway finished. With the cutting of ribbon, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Jennifer Campbell unveiled what the new West Mission Bay Bridge looks like. Though the project isn’t completed, motorists will be allowed to drive on the finished portion starting Tuesday evening.