🛣 Headlines About California Highways – July 2022

Sorry for the delay in getting the July headlines up. I’ve been trying to get a set up updates to California Highways done, and had to finish working through the California Transportation Commission minutes before I could start on the headlines. I’ve also been trying to get the podcast going — more on that in a minute. So now I can turn my attention to the headlines from July.

But first, the California Highways Route by Route podcast. We have our first regular episode up, but still needs some more listens to catch up with the full sample episode. Anchor shows 51 listens to the sample (0.02), and 39 to the first episode (1.01). Please do your part. Subscribe in your favorite podcatcher, add our RSS feed, or listen through one of the Anchor feeds. The second episode is recorded and awaiting editing, and we’re planning on recording more soon. Subscribe now so you don’t miss a single episode.

We’re also plotting out the year. We need some good interview subjects, or leads for interviews. If you can help us find people to talk to, that would be great. Just let me know (comment here, or email daniel -at caroutebyroute -dot org. Here’s the list for the rest of the first season in terms of what I’m wanting in regard to interviews:

  • 1.03: An expert on the role of the Auto Club in signing highways
  • 1.04: Someone to talk on the 1956 Interstate Highway Bill
  • 1.05: Someone to talk on the construction boom of the 1960s and/or the impact of the great renumbering.
  • 1.06: Someone to talk on the impact of the California EPA act on highway construction
  • 1.07: Someone to talk on how the state numbers state highways — in particular, anything official on numbering patterns, or the rules for signing things.
  • 1.08: Here I’d like someone to talk on the role of AASHTO on numbering US highways
  • 1.09: This is Interstate numbering, so again an expert on Interstates — either numbering, the federal aid highway acts, or the chargeable/non-chargeable distinction
  • 1.10: This is numbering of county highways, so anyone from a county public works department on the signed route system
  • 1.11: A state legislator on highway naming resolutions
  • 1.12: Someone from the California Transportation Commission on the role of the commission.

We’re also looking for a better theme song, so if you know of someone willing to write some short pieces for the show that we can use for free, that would be great.

During July, I explored some of the desert highways: Route 62, Route 74, Route 111, Route 86. Where have you been exploring?

But you care about the headlines. So here are the headlines about California’s highways for July. 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. ]

Highway Headlines

  • Freeway marker honors late Fil-Am leader Alice Bulos (Inquirer.Net). Elizabeth Bulos Ramilo was driving to work on the morning of June 27 when a road sign grabbed her attention: ALICE PEÑA BULOS MEMORIAL FREEWAY. Ramilo had long known of state and local officials‘ efforts to honor her mother in perpetuity, but she was unaware the sign already had been installed on Skyline Boulevard. The South San Francisco resident said she was elated near tears to see the memorialization fulfilled.
  • California allocates more than $3 billion for transportation infrastructure (Orange County Breeze). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated more than $3 billion to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state, including $1.3 billion in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support local projects and to protect local roads and bridges from extreme weather and natural disasters. Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for more than $930 million of the total funding. “The CTC’s decision to invest in our state highways while protecting city and county infrastructure will help make California’s roadways safer and more resilient one shovel, one project and one community at a time,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. Projects approved in District 12 include:
  • Caltrans to stabilize eroded Highway 17 slope near Scotts Valley (East Bay Times). Millions in state transportation funds have been allocated to stabilize a slope on Highway 17 near Scotts Valley that eroded during a series of heavy rainstorms more than five years ago. The California Transportation Commission, as part of a $3 billion infrastructure package, has committed $4.4 million to the project located half a mile south of Sugarloaf Road near Scotts Valley. Caltrans has been the lead agency in designing repairs and after the project is put out to bid, it will administer construction which is planned to begin in December, according to Caltrans Spokesperson Kevin Drabinski.
  • Richards Boulevard / I-80 Interchange Improvements (City of Davis). This project will improve traffic operations and multimodal safety at the interchange by reconfiguring the ramps and adding a grade separated shared-use path. This project has existed in concept for many years, and has been working in parallel with the Caltrans Managed Lanes Project. The project will reconfigure the existing west bound I-80 on ramp, and off ramps to a “tight diamond” interchange, and construct a grade separated multi use path to cross the Richards Boulevard overpass. There will also be intersection improvements at Richards Boulevard, and Olive Drive, Eastbound I-80, and Research Park Drive. Once the “tight diamond” interchange improvements are complete, the project will permanently close the Westbound I-80 off ramp to Olive Drive.
  • Here comes Soscol Junction, Napa County’s biggest road project in years (Napa Valley Register). Drivers, prepare for the Soscol Junction Experience. This isn’t an amusement park ride. It’s Napa County’s largest road project in years, one that will turn a major, traffic-clogged intersection into a $54 million interchange, with construction to begin the week of July 18. Soscol Junction is where Highway 29, Highway 221 and Soscol Ferry Road converge near the Butler Bridge and Grapecrusher statue. It’s an entrance to Napa Valley’s world-famous wine country and a nerve center of the regional road system. It’s also a place where drivers might curse a congestion-creating traffic signal. The Soscol Junction project is designed to remove that signal and cut rush-hour delays there from several minutes to a matter of seconds. Drivers over the next few years will see dump trucks and bulldozers reshape the landscape. They’ll see Highway 29 elevated and made free-flowing. They’ll see two roundabouts created underneath to regulate Highway 221 and Soscol Ferry Road traffic.
  • Marin highway flooding projects get $30M from state (Marin I-J). As sea-level rise and flooding threaten to cut off Marin City from emergency services and block one of the busiest North Bay highways, the state Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom have allocated $30 million in the state budget to begin planning for defenses. The budget adopted on Tuesday provides $20 million to begin designing flood protections on Highway 37 and the Novato Creek Bridge. Another $10 million is for planning defenses for recurring flooding on Highway 101 that blocks the only road in and out of Marin City. “Living here in Marin we already know what our future looks like with the climate crisis,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, who sits on the Senate transportation and budget committees. “Marin County is home to some of the most vulnerable highway corridors in the state.” Highway 37, the 21-mile link between Interstate 80 and Highway 101 near Novato, is used daily by nearly 50,000 commuters, many of them making their way to jobs in the North Bay.

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