October was another busy month. This time, it was more theatre, combined with finishing and posting Episode 1.04 of the California Highways – Route by Route podcast (Anchor.FM Home, with links to most major podcatching services), getting ready for Episode 1.05 (we start recording as I post this), and getting out my detailed ballot post. Oh, and I’ve been working on the next round of highway page updates (which has resulted in some delayed theatre reviews).
I’ve come to learn that one of the hardest parts of podcasts is scaring up interviews. I finally got someone for Episode 1.05, and now for the upcoming episodes, I’m looking for someone who is willing to talk for 30 minutes or so on the following:
- For 1.06: The impact of CEQA on road construction in California — including the process both before and after CEQA — as well as the impact of the growing importance of regional transportation agencies on the State Highway System.
- For 1.07: The California Post-Mile System: Its origin, its use, and why California sticks with it.
- For 1.08: We return to the US highway system, so I’m looking for someone to discuss some of the history of the numbers of US highways in the state; or, alternatively, someone from AASHTO on the process for getting highway numbers approved.
If you or someone you know would be interested in helping this project, please contact me.
With respect to the main highway pages: I’ve processed the August and September headlines, as well as all the legislative actions (there were lots of naming resolutions). Once this is posted I’ll get to work on the October headlines and AARoads, and then it is on to the CTC minutes. The goal is still to have those updates done in November. Podcast scripts are written through 1.10; all that remains is the naming and transportation organizations episode.
Enough of this shameless self-promotion. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for October:
[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.]
California Highways: Route by Route Podcast
- CARxR Ep. 1.04: Expanding the State Highway System after WWII. In this episode, we’re continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the period as WWII was ending, the Interstate system was emerging, and the construction boom was starting. This is part of our first season of California Highways: Route by Route, where we are exploring the background needed for our route by route journey. In this episode, we see the birth of the Freeway System in California, starting with the Collier-Burns act increasing state funding for highways, and State and Federal recommendations for higher-capacity systems. We see the growth in cities and urban areas pushing demand for the same, leading to the definition of the Freeway and Expressway System. We cover the passage of the 1956 Interstate Highway Act, and the subsequent freeway conversion and construction boom. Our guest interview is with Dr. Jonathan L. Gifford of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is also the director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy. His doctoral dissertation examined the history and development of the interstate highway system from its origins in the 1930s through its design and deployment in the 1960s and beyond.
- Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. Reconstructs Highway in Mojave Desert (Construction Eqpt. Guide). U.S. Highway 395 is a priority interregional highway in the Caltrans Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan, part of the National Network of truck routes, and included in the Caltrans Highway Freight Network. “The highway is vital to the economy of the Eastern Sierra region and is one of five major recreational corridors identified for Southern California,” states the project web page. Crews from Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. began construction on the last stretch (12.5-mi., postmile 29.2 to postmile 41.8) of U.S. Highway 395 last January, to update this section to two lanes in each direction with a 10-ft. shoulder on each side.
- ＄ Ramona officials urge Caltrans to repair intersection after two fatal collisions (Ramona Sentinel). The death of a 68-year-old Ramona woman in a Sept. 19 rollover crash has renewed calls for road improvements at the Mussey Grade Road and state Route 67 intersection. The intersection has been the site of two other serious accidents in recent months, including one in which a 90-year-old man died in a head-on collision that pushed his vehicle backward and into the path of another vehicle, and another that left a woman with serious injuries. The Sept. 19 collision occurred about 3:40 p.m. as the woman stopped her 2005 Dodge Ram on westbound Mussey Grade Road, then turned left onto south SR-67. When she made the turn, she drove into the path of a northbound 2004 Toyota Prius, which broadsided the pickup, said California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Baranowski. The truck overturned and landed on its roof.
- Caltrans to make safety improvements on stretch of State Route 36 (Times-Standard). Caltrans is planning safety improvements to reduce the frequency and severity of collisions on a two-mile stretch of State Route 36 between Hydesville and Carlotta. A public meeting to talk about the project’s environmental document and gather input from the community was held on Sept. 28 at Cuddeback Elementary School, and more than 50 people attended. “Our project team was encouraged by the community’s interest as they provided needed insight and information that we will incorporate into our design,” said Caltrans District 1 Project Manager Marie Brady. “The community also brought up other areas of interest, near and within the project limits, for further investigation, which is exactly what we look for when engaging with folks.”
- Our Future 101 – Ventura County’s Highway 101 HOV Project (VCTC). Commuters? Travelers? No, it’s us, Ventura County drivers. We tend to use the 101 like a main street. We jump on the freeway to cross town to take our kids to school, go to the farmer’s market, and commute to and from work daily, within the county. There are few alternatives for the 101 and the improvements over the years have not kept up with the demands we place on the 101. Congestion is projected to more than double in the next 20 years. Fortunately, help is on the way. The Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), working in partnership with Caltrans and the local cities and the County of Ventura, has taken the lead to identify improvements along this important connection to all we do.
- Caltrans completes Dry Creek Bridge project (Yahoo!News). After more than two years of construction, the Dry Creek Bridge renovation project in Yuba County has been completed, offering drivers more space on a previously narrow road and bridge. Officials with Caltrans held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday to commemorate the completion of the project on Highway 20 in Browns Valley, along with other road projects that concurrently developed. The Browns Valley project is the last of five major projects to be completed along Highway 20, said Caltrans Project Manager Johnny Tan. The five-mile section between Marysville Road and Timbuctoo Place was renovated and rehabilitated in order to provide wider lanes and shoulders to give commercial and recreational drivers more space to travel and pull off from the road.
- Caltrans Breaks Ground on Chumash Museum Highway Beautification Project (Noozhawk). Caltrans broke ground this week on the Chumash Museum Highway Beautification project along a stretch of State Route 246 near Santa Ynez. The project is made possible through Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a sweeping, $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces. The $1.3 million Chumash Museum Highway Beautification project — the first of 12 Clean California-funded Central Coast beautification projects to break ground — will improve a half-mile section of the highway by installing artistic fencing, native plant landscaping, upgraded irrigation using recycled water, decorative crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists, and better directional signage.
- PCH projects will protect vulnerable highway – Santa Monica Daily Press (Santa Monica Daily Press). Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) could be getting some much needed attention just north of Santa Monica with two Caltrans projects on the way that could shore up the delicate coastal thoroughfare. One of the projects dates back to 2016, when high surf swept away a portion of the highway’s shoulder, exposing a high pressure gas pipeline in the Tuna Canyon area not far from Malibu’s southern border.