California Highway Headlines for April 2015

userpic=roadgeekingHere are the highway headlines for April 2015. Yes, I know I’m behind on updating the California Highways site. Weekends get busy, and the upcoming Hollywood Fringe Festival will not help.

  • Fremont: Citizen groups blast Caltrans’ Niles Canyon bridge replacement. The yearslong debate over widening the highway through Niles Canyon has continued, as environmental groups this month blasted Caltrans’ Alameda Creek Bridge project. Caltrans says that replacing the 87-year-old bridge would improve safety for drivers and bicyclists on a half-mile stretch of Niles Canyon Road, a winding highway that connects Fremont to Interstate 680 near Sunol.
  • From Mammoths to Jefferson: How the Los Angeles Street System Ended Up So Weird. In some places, Los Angeles’s street grid is neat and orderly, pointing to the four cardinal directions. In other places, it’s neat and orderly, with a 45 degree tilt. Other places, it’s doing god knows what. In his LAtitudes essay “Gridding the City,” Nathan Masters travels the length of Wilshire Boulevard, from Downtown to Santa Monica, and through the history of Los Angeles’s many layouts. Approaches changed as the city sprawled west from Downtown, giving Wilshire its unpredictable course through the basin, and meanwhile dividing up the wild land and turning it into private property.
  • After long fight, Orange County transportation officials agree to toll lanes on I-405. After fighting toll lanes for years, Orange County transportation officials on Monday said they couldn’t fight the state any longer and gave in, allowing toll lanes as part of a $1.7 billion expansion project of Interstate 405.
  • Planning for San Bernardino County’s future by improving the 10, 15 freeways: L. Dennis Michael. Fifteen minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Every time we get in our car, we consider how long it will take us to get to our destination. This varies dramatically depending on when and where we are traveling. Traffic, both expected and unexpected, can impact the length and quality of that trip. At San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), the regional transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County made up of elected officials representing each of our 24 cities and the county, it is important we look ahead to plan for how we are going to get around 10, 20, and even 40 years from now. The 10 and 15 are two of the most heavily congested freeways in our county. In thinking about our future, we are currently studying the best ways to handle the growing traffic in these corridors.
  • SR-710 Draft EIR Community Meeting. Caltrans and Metro are under a mandate from two million Los Angeles County voters that passed Measure R in 2008 to study a 100 square mile region affected by congestion and pollution caused by incomplete transportation infrastructure between the end of the I-710 freeway in El Sereno and the I- 210 Freeway in Pasadena.
  • OCTA to take charge of 405 toll-lane project. The Orange County Transportation Authority is taking the reins on a highly debated proposal to put toll lanes on the 405 Freeway through part of the northern county. The OCTA board of directors voted 12 to 4 on Monday to approve terms with the California Department of Transportation, spelling out that OCTA would fund, finance, construct and operate the toll lanes. The agency also would be in charge of widening 14 freeway bridges as well as adding general-purpose lanes along the 14-mile stretch of the 405 between the 605 Freeway in Seal Beach and the 73 Freeway in Costa Mesa.
  • 405 expansion could start in 2018. Motorists can expect years of freeway construction on a busy stretch of the I-405, with the aim of eventually easing gridlock, under a deal with Caltrans approved Monday by the Orange County Transportation Authority board. Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 on a combination HOV-toll lane between the 73 and I-605 and a free lane between Euclid Street to I-605. The new lanes would run in both directions.
  • Will the Fight Over the 710 Gap in L.A. Be a Battle to the Death (of Freeways)?. When residents of South Pasadena, California, hear “mind the gap,” they think of anything but the Jubilee, Hammersmith or Piccadilly. For them, the gap in question refers not to a subway but to a freeway — or lack thereof. The 710 runs 23 miles north-south through the heart of the Los Angeles Basin, roughly paralleling the path of the Los Angeles River, from the port city of Long Beach to the inner suburb of Alhambra. There, the freeway abruptly stops, just past its interchange with the 10 Freeway, as if swallowed by a tar pit. Four-and-a-half miles to the north, the 210 freeway runs perpendicular to the 710’s logical route, and heads eastward to connect Los Angeles County to the Inland Empire.
  • Interchange project marks major milestone. Overhead work recently completed on the Interstate 80/Interstate 680/Highway 12 interchange project marks a major milestone in the first phase of construction, the California Department of Transportation announced this week. Preliminary overhead structures were installed earlier this month for the new Green Valley Road overcrossing over I-80, requiring overnight closures of the freeway.
  • History dotted with proposals for large-scale freeways in Malibu. The official website for the California Incline replacement project invites the public to “Be Excited, Be Prepared,” but for many Malibu commuters the prevalent emotion is trepidation, not excitement. The closure of the 100-year-old landmark, added to the ongoing sewer interceptor replacement project, threatens to further complicate the commute along a stretch of road that sometimes feels more like an obstacle course than a highway. However, local activists fought for more than a decade in the 1960s and ’70s to keep the coastal route from becoming a genuine highway.
  • California Assembly OKs bill to name tunnel north of Golden Gate Bridge after Robin Williams . A bill to name a tunnel connecting the Golden Gate Bridge to the North Bay after the late comedian Robin Williams blasted out of the state Assembly Thursday on a 77-0 vote. The proposed legislation, authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, now heads to the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
  • STA OKs pact for I-80 express lane project. The Solano Transportation Authority on Wednesday approved an agreement for preliminary engineering and final design work on an Interstate 80 express lane project from Red Top Road to Interstate 505. The authority’s board, by a unanimous vote, directed staff to enter into an agreement with AECOM Technical Services Inc. for the services, which are not to exceed $12.5 million.

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