🛣 Headlines About California Highways – August 2021

The end of August. Summer is coming to an end, although the hot days are still here (and the Santa Ana winds are still to come, which is scary given the fires we’ve had so far). I hope everyone is staying safe with all the dangers out there — COVID, brush fires, flash floods, monsoons. Please do what you can to stay safe. Get vaccinated. Vote “no” on the recall. Watch out for flash floods. Stay out of evacuation zones. Watch out for the draft. Stay away from Texas.

This post was delayed a bit because I was on vacation in Las Vegas. I plan to do some posts about that: one looking at the subtle racism that is still present in the town that once you see, you can’t unsee. The other looking at how the town — and the roads — have changed. We all wax rhapsodic about “Classic” Vegas, but classic vegas is no more. There are no headliners like the headliners of old, there are no lounges or showrooms like the ones of old, there are no hotels like the hotels of old, there are no signs like the signs of old. There are glimmers, fleeting, of the past. But was the past better? Is today’s Vegas better? You’ll have to read my upcoming posts to know.

One thing the trip to Vegas makes clear is that change is here to stay (unless you are exchanging it for a gambling voucher or playing Pinball at the Pinball Hall of Fame). The days of driving US 91 to Vegas, seeing the signs for the hotels and for Foxy’s Deli are gone. Stuckey’s is only a memory. The roads are crowded, and filled with people trying to get there an extra five minutes earlier. The headlines this month capture the change.

One other thing the end of summer will bring us is another round of highway page updates. They are almost done, and these headlines will be included in that update. So watch this space. After the headlines are posted, all that will remain is reviewing the AARoads Pacific Southwest forum for updates. As always, if you see a naming sign in the wild (i.e., a sign with the name of a highway) and I don’t have a picture of that sign in the NAMING section for the route, please send me the photo. Your name will be immortalized as a contributor.

And lastly, all together now: “Ready, set, discuss”.


[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls, $$ really obnoxious paywalls, and  other annoying restrictions. I’m no longer going to list the paper names, as I’m including them in the headlines now. Note: For paywalls, sometimes the only way is incognito mode, grabbing the text before the paywall shows, and pasting into an editor. ]

Highway Headlines

  • Full closure of northbound State Route 113 to Interstate 5 begins Monday (California News Times). According to the California Department of Transportation, the full closure of State Highway 113 to Interstate 5 will begin on Monday, according to Caltrans. Drivers are advised to plan ahead. The road will be officially closed at 9 pm on Monday and will reopen at 5 am on August 23. Caltrans recommends the following detours: NBSR-113 to NBI-5. Remove Main Street from the ramp (Exit 37) and turn right onto East Main Street. Use I-5 South On Lamp (Sacramento) from East Main. From SB I-5, take County Road 102 (Exit 536) and turn left. Proceed to the right and take the NB I-5 (Reading) from CR-102 back to I-5 bound for the north. Everyone living in this area expects loud construction noise, and drivers in this area need to anticipate lane restrictions and be aware of commercial vehicles.
  • Why improving the drive to Southern California is so complicated (Las Vegas Sun News). Jim Nares is all too familiar with the Sunday morning routine of waking up early in his Las Vegas hotel room to get a head start on the drive back to Southern California via Interstate 15. Sleeping in poses a seemingly unavoidable hurdle: Long hours stuck in traffic getting home to Winchester, Calif. Nares has been traveling by car with his wife to Las Vegas for 20 years for outdoor recreation, restaurants and light gambling. To keep the return drive at the minimum of four hours, Nares opts for either an early-morning departure or late-night arrival back home. Leaving in the afternoon when thousands of others hit the road is out of the question, he says. “I don’t like traveling back on Sunday,” he said. “Sometimes it just happens. … If we do, we definitely try to be past state line by 9 a.m., otherwise we just stick around (Las Vegas) until, like, 6, 7 p.m.” The parade of bumper-to-bumper traffic is a Sunday afternoon ritual heading back to California. Residents of California accounted for 21% of visitors to Las Vegas in 2019, according to the most recent Visitor Profile Study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. During the pandemic when air travel was limited because of safety concerns, drive-in visitors from California helped keep the local economy moving. Having those visitors stalled in traffic is concerning, Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom said. After all, the last impression of someone’s visit shouldn’t be delays on the road.
  • How does the Caltrans project on Highway 41 compare to other similar endeavors? (KMPH). After decades of accidents along a two-lane stretch of Highway 41 in Fresno County, Caltrans is installing a center barrier that will keep people from crossing into oncoming traffic to pass slower drivers ahead of them. That came after a push by a group called Widen Highway 41 that a woman named Lorna Roush founded after her cousin’s husband Ken Atkins was killed in a head-on crash. “This is a temporary fix. It’s a Band Aid,” Roush said of the K-Rail. “We’re going to save lives from head-ons while we work on the logistics of getting that widened to four lanes.”
  • American Canyon plots the future look of Highway 29 (Napa Valley Register). American Canyon is trying to keep its Highway 29 of the future from becoming an irrevocably entrenched Anywhere, USA blur of strip malls, parking lots and clashing architecture. “That is the front door to our city,” city Community Development Director Brent Cooper said. It’s also a front door/first impression for Napa County. A sign in American Canyon along Highway 29 depicts vineyards and pristine hillsides and proclaims, “Where your Napa Valley experience begins.”
  • Newsom Signs S.B. 51, Durazo’s Legislation that Changes Law on Caltrans Tenant Property Sales (Streetsblog California). Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed S.B. 51, state legislation that changes a four-decades-old law that governs how Caltrans-owned residential properties along the 710 corridor will be sold. Critics contend that the changes will make it harder for tenants, some of whom have lived in the properties for forty years, to purchase the properties. The legislation’s author, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, contends the legislation will make it easier to preserve the existing stock as affordable housing for current and future generations.

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