California Highway Headlines for November 2017

November is always a busy month as we come down to the wire to the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. But I do have time to grab headlines as they come across the wire…. although it does seem there were fewer this month than usual…

  • Boyd Drive (former California State Route 63). Continuing where I left off from the J21 blog I had to find a way out of the Sierras. I’ve taken CA 245 so many times that it seemed kind of passe to do it in some abbreviated way south to Woodlake. That being the case I noticed an oddity on some state highway maps from the early 1950s which showed California State Route 63 running east of Orosi to what was CA 65 along Boyd Drive. Traveling southbound on CA 245 I turned west onto former CA 63 on Boyd Drive.
  • Signed County Route J21. I thought it might be interesting to explore some previous journeys this year before I started writing road blogs. This particular trip was back in January of this year as the Sierras were getting pounded by some of the heaviest winter weather California has seen in a long time. I was looking for an interesting route to take which brought me back to a route my GPS always seemed to be pushing to get off of CA 245; Signed County Route J21. J21 is an 18 mile Signed County Route created in 1968 entirely within Tulare County. J21 runs entirely on Dry Creek Road and has junctions at CA 216 to the south in addition to CA 245 to the north. Much like almost all Signed County Routes in Tulare County, J21 is in fact now unsigned. I began my trip on J21 northward from CA 216 under a malaise of low hanging mountain fog, the guide sign showed Badger to only 19 miles to the north.
  • Throwback Thursday; California State Route 75. I figured that I would throw my hat in for some Throwback Thursdays myself given that I have a ton of older road albums that I’ve been looking at updating. Today’s throw back goes back to February 5th 2010 along California State Route 75 in Coronado.
  • Roadshow: New bridge on Highway 101 is pathway to Caltrain. Q: You mentioned a new pedestrian/bike bridge is coming on Highway 101 at Hillsdale Boulevard. Why in the world do we need separate pedestrian/bike bridges anyway? There was one built on 101 at Marine Parkway/Ralston Avenue a few years ago and there are rarely any pedestrians or bikes on it — certainly not enough to justify the cost. There are already regular bridges at these locations, and they have sidewalks. Why can’t pedestrians and bikes use these bridges as they have for the last 50 years? Pedestrians and bikes share all other roads with cars, so why not the same with bridges? What a waste.
  • Lake County highway projects get go-ahead from state commission. The California Transportation Commission has approved nearly $15 million in highway projects for Lake County. At its meeting earlier this month, the commission approved 90 major “fix-it-first” transportation projects across California, worth nearly $3.4 billion, submitted by Caltrans. Caltrans said it added nearly 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges to its growing list of projects to be delivered sooner than planned thanks to the imminent influx of revenue from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, or SB 1, the transportation funding and reform package the State Legislature passed in April.

  • Signed County Route G16 (US 101 west to G20). Back in January there was some clearings in the winter storms that had been hammering the state for what seemed like was a solid month. I was on my way to Monterey for the weekend and decided to take a much different route than the conventional fare with Signed County Route G16. I peeled off of US 101 north into Greenfield and met G16 at Elm Avenue.
  • New Highway 99 Book. Has anyone read this book yet? I just saw it over the summer, listed on B&N. Looks like another vital piece of the Highway 99 puzzle.
  • New Cut Off Highway Route to End Dangers of San Juan Bottleneck. Archive article from CHPW.
  • Pacific Highway. This map shows the Pacific Highway route heading west from Redding and then north to Keswick, before Shasta Lake was built. The route followed the Sacramento River and the RR tracks alongside it. Coram today (north of Keswick) is just below Shasta Dam; Kennett, north of Coram, is now underwater. At the top of the map is the town of Gibson.
  • Roadshow: Widening I-280 at Magdalena gaining momentum. Q: When is Caltrans going to wake up and acknowledge that losing a lane on southbound Interstate 280 at Magdalena Avenue is unnecessary? The afternoon backups are huge. … Four lanes dropping to three doesn’t work. … Please get some agency to pay attention to fixing this. Please!
  • Marin freeway barrier upgrades nearly complete. Along Highway 101 in Marin, crews continue to work on improving safety railings on decades-old overpasses and ramps as part of a larger effort statewide. The work began in 2016 at various locations in the county. “The work should be done by the end of the year,” said Bob Haus, Caltrans spokesman.
  • Will Expansion of HOT Lanes Help Commuters?. When it comes to dealing with highway congestion, officials in the San Francisco Bay Area and Maryland like it hot. Or, more accurately, they like high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that welcome use by solo drivers who pay a toll.
  • State highway system started in San Bruno. September’s front-page photo of political dignitaries wielding shovels to break ground for the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project in San Mateo dug up memories of another key moment in Peninsula transportation history — the start of the state highway system.
  • Caifornia State Route 140 in the Merced River Canyon (The El Portal Road). Back in January I was looking to make a day trip out to Yosemite for the winter by California State Route 41 and the Wawona Road were under R2 chain restrictions. With that being the case I headed out from the Central Valley early in the morning and took CA 140 through the Merced River Canyon to Yosemite.
  • Carpool crunch: Caltrans to consider requiring 3 people to drive in some Bay Area HOV lanes. With Bay Area traffic bad and getting worse, transportation officials are considering a drastic remedy for some clogged highways: requiring vehicles to carry three people, not just two, to use the carpool lane. Nothing is happening anytime soon, but the conversation is a sign of how many more people are on the roads commuting to jobs and homes.
  • Doubt still lingers about need for, impact of wildlife bridge. Southern California’s favorite pet project has been given the environmental green light— at least for now—but opposition to the wildlife bridge might still have its say. We’re a little surprised that an expected $60-million undertaking in the heart of the Conejo-Las Virgenes Valley is sailing by as smoothly as it is. Maybe we just love our mountain lions that much.
  • Caltrans studies Carneros highway bridge project to benefit drivers, fish. Caltrans is completing plans to replace a small bridge on a major thoroughfare — Highway 121 linking south Napa and Sonoma counties — while keeping traffic running without a detour. The $13.9 million Huichica Creek bridge project could begin construction in 2020 and last for two years. The stated goals are to make the highway safer for motorists and to make the creek easier to navigate for fish.
  • 3-person carpool lanes may be extended on Bay Area highways. For decades, traffic-clogged Interstate 80 has been the only Bay Area freeway to require that vehicles contain at least three people to legally enter the carpool lane. But it could lose that distinction. Stretches of three other Bay Area freeways — Interstate 880 in the East Bay, Highway 237 in the South Bay and Highway 101 on the Peninsula — are now being eyed for the three-or-more requirement as their carpool lanes slow to a crawl.
  • Caltrans Project Spotlight: I-210 Pavement Rehabilitation. For anyone who lives in Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, the La Crescenta-Montrose area of Glendale, or uses the I-210 (Foothill Freeway) corridor to access the San Fernando Valley, it is hard to miss the construction going on. Since Spring 2015, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been working with a contractor, Flat Iron West, Inc., on a $148.5 pavement rehabilitation project for a 9.7 mile section of I-210 from Dunsmore Avenue to North Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena.
  • Highway 1 was buried under a massive landslide. Months later, engineers battle Mother Nature to fix it. On a sunbaked, dust-scoured road overlooking the Big Sur coast, four men in hard hats and fluorescent vests huddle against the stiffening wind. Worry isn’t in their nature, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned. This Wednesday morning, with the summer nearly over, portents of fall — like the wind — bring uncertainty, and uncertainty can mean trouble when you’re standing on top of the largest landslide to bury Highway 1.
  • Amid the stress of L.A. traffic, fake street signs aim to help people chill out and get Zen. Los Angeles-based multimedia artist and fabricator Scott Froschauer has left his mark all over Glendale, and his 20 pieces of street art will challenge the community to subvert their everyday expectations of signs and language. The Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department unveiled Froschauer’s “Word on the Street” art installation Thursday at the Downtown Central Library, and now his art pieces are distributed throughout the city’s parks and libraries.
  • Seeing the Road in a Different LIDAR. When we think of a roadway, most of us think of the asphalt or concrete that we are riding on. Little thought is given to the ditches that line our roads or how the water flows off our roadways. A Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) researcher has come up with an automated way of determining if those ditches are doing their job properly and safely.
  • Colfax Roundabout. The City of Colfax plans to construct a roundabout that will tie in the existing I-80 ramps and provide access to the properties west of South Auburn Street. Sidewalks will be included on the
    west side of the South Auburn Street, providing a safe route for pedestrians to walk and a more efficient and safe route for cars to navigate the intersection.
  • November Bay Area Part 4; Richmond-San Rafael Bridge/I-580. Given that I was heading to the Marin Headlands from Mount Diablo I didn’t think it would be a good idea to try to slog through downtown San Francisco and have to pay two bridge tolls. That being the case after finishing a route clinch of CA 24 I jumped on I-580 and headed to the northern end of San Francisco Bay to cross via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
  • November Bay Trip Part 3; California State Route 24. After leaving Mount Diablo State Park I drove through Walnut Creek to reach California State Route 24 to continue heading westward into Oakland.
  • Route 66 National Trail bill gets a hearing with House subcommittee. Federal legislation to designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail received a hearing in front of the Subcommittee of Federal Lands of the U.S. House of Representatives. No lawmaker on the subcommittee expressed opposition to H.R. 801, aka the Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act. In fact, most of the lawmakers voiced support for the measure.
  • Confirm or deny: Highway 99 expert buckles up into my lie detector. Highway 99 and I have been a commuter couple for 40 bumpy years. We have driven each other crazy for thousands of miles through Fresno virtually every workday of my adult life. I love that road for keeping me stoplight-free as I race like an automaton from my northwest neighborhood to downtown. Awright, sure, I’ve cursed it plenty of times for its rough spots, its potholes or for trapping me in a parking lot during its heavy construction periods. It’s pretty much a nightmare out there in the center lanes if there is an accident scene to get through.
  • California State Route 156. Over the past couple years I’ve taken about every single conceivable note worthy road in and out of the California Coast as far south as San Luis Obispo north to Point Reyes. Usually I try to avoid main roads due to the fact that I’m generally not in a rush and I routes like freeways to be boring to drive. Last Friday it just so happened that I needed to be out on the Monterey Peninsula in a rush and it had rained about an inch the night prior. So with those factors in mind I decided on the conventional way to the Monterey Peninsula from the Central Valley via California State Route 156. So after an early morning jaunt through a soggy San Joaquin Valley and a westerly windy climb over Pacheco Pass on CA 152 I made my way to the start of CA 156.
  • Counties target San Pablo Avenue corridor with $312 million project. A nine-year, $300 million-plus project to accommodate growth on the San Pablo Avenue corridor — covering more than 13 miles from Richmond’s Hilltop neighborhood to downtown Oakland — awaits user input in the form of an online survey. The project, now in the planning stages, is a partnership of the Alameda County Transportation Commission, the lead agency, and the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee to develop a vision for the corridor through Richmond, San Pablo and El Cerrito in Contra Costa County, and Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and Albany in Alameda County.
  • 1951 Thomas Bros. Guide for LA County. Here’s a scan of the overview page of the 1951 Thomas Bros. Guide for LA County. If you’d like me to scan any particular page and post it, let me know.
  • Florence Avenue Bridge Over I-5 – Lane Switch Update. In Santa Fe Springs on the night of Monday, December 27, 2017 Caltrans will close Florence Avenue from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m. Tuesday morning between Studebaker Road and Orr and Day Road to shift traffic onto the newly constructed half of the Florence Avenue Bridge over I-5.
  • Rebuilding California: Caltrans accelerating Fix-It-First projects ahead of SB 1 funding. Thanks to the passage of the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, or Senate Bill 1, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is able to begin work on hundreds of projects to upgrade roads, bridges, culverts and traffic management systems across the state sooner. Back in October, the California Transportation Commision approved 90 “fix-it-first” transportation projects worth nearly $3.4 billion.
  • More tests to be done before Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier will be added. Engineers will have to do more wind testing on a model of the Golden Gate Bridge before the span is modified for a seismic upgrade project and a suicide barrier, officials said. Testing done last month in a Canadian lab showed the bridge model performed well under a horizontal wind flow of more than 100 mph. But the bridge became unstable when the wind flow was changed by 1 degree, the Marin Independent Journal reported Friday.
  • Proposed Malibu Canyon Fwy and Pacific Coast Fwy.. 1963 – Proposed Malibu Canyon Fwy and Pacific Coast Fwy. The thought of this horrified local residents and eventually propelled Malibu to city hood.
  • How did that Sacramento road sign end up in Ocean City?. For a westbound driver on U.S. Route 50 departing Ocean City, it’s a long road ahead, according to a green highway sign than hangs near the Harry Kelley Bridge. But the cross-country trip to California may not be as long as the sign indicates. In a moment of whimsy, the Maryland State Highway Administration installed a distance sign at the beginning, or eastern terminus, of U.S. Route 50 that reads, “Sacramento Ca 3073.” Some years later, the California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, followed suit at the western end of the highway near the Interstate 80 Junction.
  • Relief ahead for dreaded Bay Area commute: I-680 over Sunol Grade. There is finally hope ahead for beleaguered drivers who have endured the terrible northbound drive on Interstate 680 over the Sunol Grade during the afternoon commute and even on weekends for nearly two decades. The Alameda Transportation Commission on Monday approved a $107 million contract to begin work on adding a carpool/express lane from Auto Mall Parkway to Highway 84, widening one of the most dreaded commutes in the Bay Area. Construction will begin early next year and take two years to complete.
  • With the 710 Freeway extension looking dead, South Pasadena is dreaming up new ways to fix the commute. With the 710 Freeway extension all but dead, South Pasadena has finalized a wish list of road and transit improvements that includes a new 110 Freeway onramp, widening Fair Oaks Avenue by removing curb extensions and building two bridges spanning intersections where the Metro Gold Line light-rail train holds up city traffic.
  • Golden Gate Bridge seismic, suicide barrier changes force tests. More wind testing will have to be done to a model of the Golden Gate Bridge after it was discovered intense winds at a slight angle could damage the span. A miniature mid-section of the Golden Gate Bridge was buffeted by intense winds in a Canadian lab last month to make sure the real thing won’t get damaged in case of an intense storm as the span is modified for a suicide barrier and a seismic upgrade project. Smoke was used at some points during the testing to get a visual on wind speeds.
  • Interstate 10 (San Bernardino Freeway) project to add High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes years in the making. It is one of the busier and congested stretches of the San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10), but the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been working on a project to add High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to reduce congestion and encourage carpooling. The more than half a billion dollar Interstate 10 HOV project calls for the construction of one HOV lane in each direction of the San Bernardino Freeway between Interstate 605 in Baldwin Park and State Route 57 near Cal Poly Pomona.
  • Engineers still battling to reopen California Highway 1. The California coast along the famed Big Sur area was reshaped in May 2017 when a huge landslide buried a quarter-mile section of the world-famous California Highway 1.
  • Council signs off on new pedestrian/bike bridge over 101. The Palo Alto City Council has authorized construction of a pedestrian/bike crossing over Highway 101, near the San Antonio Road bridge. The new crossing, first proposed about seven years ago and today budgeted at $16.21 million, will replace the seasonal Benjamin Lefkowitz underpass, providing year-round access to the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, a regional Bay Trail network east of 101, and adjacent businesses and residences in Mountain View and Menlo Park.

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