We’re now half way through 2022, and boy what a year it has been so far for almost anything but the highway. Highway news, if I perceive things right, has been lighter this year. You can see for yourself: just jump down to the headlines after my introductory prather.
As I said: It’s been a year so far. The news about COVID has been pushed to the background, but the disease is still around creating havoc. More folks I know are getting the disease; luckily being double-vaxed double-boosted is making it less severe. We’ve had the findings of the Jan 6 commission, which are gobsmacking, to say the least. We’ve had the decisions of the Supreme Court, which are equally gobsmacking. As Pete Seeger sang, “There is mean things happening in this land…”
But closer to home, it’s also been a year. I’ve got a cholesteatoma in my ear, meaning it is constantly stuffed and distracting (surgery looks to be early August). My wife is still dealing with being in a wheelchair after her fall last November; progress is slow. Weekends have been busy with theatre, and Tom has been busy with other stuff, so we haven’t had the chance to record more podcast episodes yet. We’re still looking for music for the show, and we’re also looking for experts for brief interviews related to episode topics.
So June has been a whirlwind. July may not be much better, with theatre every weekend and a week’s vacation.
But you don’t care about any of that, do you. You care about the headlines. So here are the headlines about California’s highways for June. The headline list seems to be getting smaller–I’m finding less articles about significant road work (I’m not that interested in simple resurfacing), and more articles about transit and rail. I think that’s the direction things are going currently: increase the number of people per vehicle on current roads (as opposed to capacity for more vehicles), and increase broader transit options. But here’s what I found:
[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. ]
- Routes 25 and 156 Roundabout (FB). Construction begins May 31 on Highway 25/156 roundabout. Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of State Routes 25 and 156 will begin May 31—immediately following the Memorial Day holiday, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
- $2.3B Union Station makeover takes another step forward (Urbanize LA). In a vote taken last week, the Metro Board of Directors approved a funding agreement with California High Speed Rail Authority for the initial phase of Union Station’s $2.3-billion makeover and expansion. The project, called Link Union Station, expands upon a longtime plan to construct run-through tracks at the southern end of the passenger rail hub, allowing trains to cross over the US-101 freeway. This would eliminate Union Station’s historic stub-end layout, which forces all trains to enter and exit through the five-track throat to the north of the station platforms.
- You may commute over one of these structurally deficient bridges in California (KTLA). A recent inventory by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association took a look at structurally deficient bridges in California. Bad news is … there are a lot. The ARTBA, a trade group that represents road construction workers, said in its 2022 report that 5.8% of California’s bridges can be categorized as “structurally deficient.” That’s 1,493 bridges according to the group. And these aren’t bridges along dusty roads or in rural parts of the state. Many of the structurally deficient bridges get hundreds of thousands of crossing every day, according to the ARTBA.
- Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway (FB). It was my honor to recognize the historic achievements, and Valley roots, of Dr. Sally Ride at today’s Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel dedication of a portion of the 101 as the “Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway”.
- ＄The ghosts of L.A.’s unbuilt freeways (Los Angeles Times). Maybe you can hear them whispering, as your tires hiss along freeway concrete: the almost-weres, the might-have-beens, the freeway ghosts of Los Angeles, the thoroughfares dreamed up, planned for, but never built. There are more — oh, so many more — than you might have wished or feared, even in the cloverleaf heart of Freeway L.A. The Whitnall Freeway, the Industrial Freeway, the Temescal Freeway, the Laurel and Topanga and Malibu Canyon freeways, the Sierra Freeway, and the legendary Beverly Hills Freeway, discarded like an unproduced screenplay when such stars as Lucille Ball and Rosalind Russell gave it a big N-O.
- ＄Caltrans gets $35 million to add bike lanes, replace traffic lights along PCH stretch (Orange County Register). From replacing traffic signals to constructing new bike lanes meant to keep cyclists safe, a handful of transportation upgrades are planned along Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach to the Orange-Los Angeles county line. Nearly $40 million was recently announced for the improvements. The Caltrans district in Orange County is expected to begin work starting next year on the projects that will span more than 20 miles of the scenic highway.