🛣 Headlines About California Highways – January 2023

Ah, a new year. Hopefully, 2023 will see you all happy, healthy, and safely on the roads. On my side, we got a new episode of the podcast up, focusing on the numbering on state highways — both the signed numbers and post miles. It’s a really interesting episode. We’re working on the next one — on the history of US highways and their numbering — right now.

As always, I’m looking for interviews:

  • For 1.08: We return to the US highway system, so I’m looking for someone from AASHTO on the process for getting highway numbers approved. I’ve got a lead on this…
  • For 1.09: We return to the Interstates. We’ll be talking to Andy Field, who did some of the first Interstate highway pages for California and is one of the “A”s behind AARoads.
  • For 1.10: We’re looking at the county sign routes. I’m working with the Caltrans Local Assistance Programs office, as well as the LA Department of Public Works.
  • For 1.11: I’d like an Assemblycritter to talk about naming resolutions. I’ve sent out a few queries, but no bites as of yet.

If you or someone you know would be interested in helping this project, please contact me.

The headlines for January were lighter. Work slows down in the winter, plus we had all the rains. I’ll note that work for the next round of highway page updates will commence once these headlines are posted. I know I’ve got the January CTC meeting, plus Joel Windmiller has been sending me loads of newspaper articles to go through. I figure I’ll be doing a bunch of work over President’s Day weekend.

Enough of this shameless self-promotion. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for January:


[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

  • California Highways: Route by Route logoCARxR 1.07: Highway Numbering: State Highways and Post Miles.In this episode, we explore numbering systems in state highways. It is the start of a four part miniseries on highway numbers in California. Specifically, this episode explores the rhymes and reason for the assigning of signed route numbers to highways with the state shield. This includes looking at the patterns in those numbers, and how the numbering system stands today after the Great Nenumbering. The subsequent episodes in the miniseries will explore the numbering system of US Highways, the numbering of and the history of California’s Interstates, and the signed county route system.The episode also explores another numbering system on state highways: Post Miles. As opposed to sequential mileage numbers as is found in other states, California uses a system called post miles that identifies points along a highway using a combination of a county and a mile point from the southern/western county line, possibly with clarifying prefixes or suffixes. We discuss this system is good detail.Our interview is with Andy Richardson, who retired from Caltrans as a Subject Matter Expert in Geographical Information Systems, Linear Referencing Systems, and Postmiles. Andy worked as a GIS specialist for the State of California since 1988, including Caltrans between 2001 and his retirement in 2021. In his last years at Caltrans, he implemented the Department’s current Linear Referencing System.

Back episodes are available at the Podcast’s forever home, as well as on its anchor.fm home. The anchor.fm also has links to the podcast’s page on most major podcasting services.

Highway Headlines

  • Band of bighorn sheep could stop Caltrans from reopening part of Highway 39 (San Gabriel Valley Tribune). What would prevent Caltrans’ from pursuing its latest attempt to rebuild part of State Route 39 high up in the San Gabriel Mountains, washed away by Mother Nature 44 years ago? The list of possibilities includes more rock slides, giant falling boulders, snowy weather and the cost, which could climb to $57 million or more. But the biggest obstacle standing in the way of Caltrans’ project to repair an official state highway built in 1957 by order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower is a skittish population of protected sheep known for their crowns of curled horns.
  • AGC: Billion-Dollar Funds Will Fix Golden State Spans (Construction Eqpt. Guide). As part of the Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, California is receiving approximately $4.2 billion over five years to address the repair and replacement of highway bridges. This translates into $849.4 million in initial funding for the five-year bridge repair program. The bridge formula program represents the largest federal investment ever made to repair and upgrade bridges — dedicating $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities. The $849.4 million that California is receiving represents more than double the amount of any other state. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and local transportation agencies in the state will target the funds to improve the nearly 1,500 bridges rated to be in “poor” condition in the state.
  • How Disney’s Sierra Nevada ski resort changed environmentalism forever (Los Angeles Times). Let’s start 2023 by looking six decades into the past. That’s how long it’s been since Walt Disney proposed building a massive ski resort at Mineral King, a gorgeous mountain valley in California’s Sierra Nevada bordered on three sides by  Sequoia National Park. The ensuing controversy — and Sierra Club lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service — played a significant role in shaping the modern environmental movement. It’s a story that Daniel Selmi, an emeritus law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, deftly brings to life in a book released last year, “Dawn at Mineral King Valley: The Sierra Club, the Disney Company, and the Rise of Environmental Law.”
  • Widening Highways Doesn’t Fix Traffic. So Why Do We Keep Doing It? (The New York Times). Interstate 710 in Los Angeles is, like the city itself, famous for its traffic. Freight trucks traveling between the city and the port of Long Beach, along with commuters, clog the highway. The trucks idle in the congestion, contributing to poor air quality in surrounding neighborhoods that are home to over one million people. The proposed solution was the same one transportation officials across the country have used since the 1960s: Widen the highway. But while adding lanes can ease congestion initially, it can also encourage people to drive more. A few years after a highway is widened, research shows, traffic — and the greenhouse gas emissions that come along with it — often returns.
  • More than $405 million in transit related projects included in FY23 congressionally directed spending (Mass Transit). President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, into law on Dec. 29, 2022, to fund government activities through Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. The act includes $21.2 billion for public transit and $16.6 billion for passenger and freight rail. The bill also includes specific funding for projects designated as “community project funding/congressionally directed spending,” a designation that returned under the FY22 appropriations process. The omnibus package included more than $406 million for more than 140 transit, passenger rail, transit access and transit-oriented development projects. The three accounts under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) projects received designated funding includes Highway Infrastructure Programs, which included transit access projects, Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) and Transit Infrastructure Grants, which accounts for $360.5 million of the total transit related project spending. More than $13 million in funding for projects related to transit was included in the designations under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Fund.

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