🛣️ Headlines and Related Material About California Highways – July 2018

Another month has come to an end. I’ve been preoccupied this month with the “Mapping Project”; more on that in a subsequent post. But until then, here are some headlines and related material about California Highways that I’ve collected over the month:

  • Custom Highway Shields – OpenStreetMap WikiA good source for blank shields for those drawing maps. In particular, it provides a good US blank shield for California sign usage, vs. what comes up from Shields Up.
  • June 23, 1907: Auto Club Begins Posting Road Signs Along Future Route 66 June 23, 1907. The Auto Club of Southern California has begun posting white enamel signs with blue lettering along Foothill Boulevard between Los Angeles and Riverside.Spending about half a day, auto club President George Allen Hancock and Charles Fuller Gates, who is in charge of the county’s signage, staked the route through Highland Park, South Pasadena and Pasadena, Lamanda Park, Baldwin’s ranch, Monrovia, Azusa, Glendora, Claremont, Uplands, Cucamonga, Etiwanda, Stalder (34.0119/117.3125 to folks with GPS) to West Riverside.
  • Highway 395 widening project to begin later this year Significant progress is being made in addressing one of the High Desert’s biggest transportation priorities — the widening of US Highway 395 from Victorville to Adelanto. Later this year, work will begin on nearly $60 million in improvements to the busy stretch of highway — a major freight traffic route and passenger corridor that connects economic centers, recreation areas, cities and rural communities.
  • Caltrans Last Chance Grade Expert Based Risk Assessment (PDF). This report presents the methodology and findings of the expert-based risk assessment BGC Engineering conducted for the Last Chance Grade portion of US 101 in Del Norte County. The drawings attached to the report were developed as part of this process and were instrumental in the expert panel review. The other content reviewed by the panel has been published previously and is not duplicated here.
  • Truckee bridge construction taking off in Tahoe City Since the beginning of May, road blocks and orange cones have lined the edges of California Route 89 leading into Tahoe City, marking the beginning of a major construction project that is expected to run through Oct. 15. The project, originally conceptualized in the 1994 Tahoe City Community Plan, is a new Truckee River bridge — a rebuild of Fanny Bridge.

  • The Evolution of the U.S. InterstateGeotab, a company specializing in GPS vehicle tracking devices, illustrated the evolution of the Interstate System with a new infographic. It charts the growth of what some have hailed as the “greatest public works project in history.” (However, not everyone loved it, and some people who had been displaced by the construction organized protests in the ‘60s, causing work to shut down in some areas.)
  • No-go: Law would have given the 710 Freeway ‘stubs’ over to Alhambra, Pasadena  Legislation that would have given Alhambra and Pasadena control over the loose ends, or “stubs,” of the 710 Freeway died because of a lack of support in a state committee this week. Currently, the 710 ends at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, and it had been planned to extend to the 210 Freeway via a stub Caltrans owns that currently ends at California Boulevard. Assembly Bill 533, authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, would have removed that long-planned portion of the 710 from the state highway code and would have given the land on which those stubs exist back to Alhambra, Pasadena and Los Angeles in the El Sereno neighborhood.
  • Caltrans tenants learn they can’t build equity if they buy state-owned homes After waiting to buy houses seized by Caltrans nearly six decades ago to make way for a freeway extension that was ultimately scuttled, longtime residents of those homes received some bad news this month. People who decide to buy under a plan engineered by the state Legislature will not receive the equity on those homes if they sell them. Furthermore, those homes will not stay in a family upon death of the owner, according to local Attorney Chris Sutton.
  • California State Route 88 the Carson Pass HighwayBetween 2016 and 2017 I drove the majority of California State Route 88 from CA 99 in Stockton east over Carson Pass to CA 89. CA 88 is a 122 mile state highway from CA 99 in Stockton east over the Sierra Nevada Range to the continuation route Nevada State Route 88 at the Nevada State Line.  CA 88 is known as the Carson Pass Highway.  Carson Pass at 8,574 feet above sea level along CA 88 is an all-year Mountain Pass in the Sierras and on occasion designated as Temporary US Route 50 when conditions are bad over Echo Summit.
  • Highway Boondoggles: US 101 Expansion in San Mateo, California Highway 101 in the San Mateo area has suffered from congestion for decades and has undergone many projects to add road capacity – including seven projects to add auxiliary lanes since 1997. Yet today, congestion is as bad as ever, often slowing to a crawl at rush hour. Years of widening projects with little impact signal that a new approach is necessary. Once again, however, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is planning to address congestion with a highway expansion. The plan is to add an express lane – in which single- and double-occupancy vehicles pay a demand-based toll – on both sides of the existing highway. In total, the project would add more than 22 miles of new lanes, at a total cost of $534 million.
  • Highway 41 roadwork near Cholame Y may cause traffic delays Travelers headed toward Fresno can expect traffic delays up to 20 minutes on Highway 41 beginning Monday. A two-week maintenance project will grind and pave the highway about three miles north of the Cholame “Y” intersection, according to a news release.
  • California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 41 north to CA 16)Last year I traveled California State Route 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89 in one continuous trip.  This year and in early 2016 I traveled the rest of CA 49 south to CA 41 in Oakhurst.  This blog post consists of photos of the highway from those time periods and historical information about the southern part of CA 49.
  • Sure, why not take a roadtripThe directory of Tom F.’s roadtrip posts for July.
  • Upgrades for 190.  As the median construction project continues along Highway 190 near Porterville College, drivers can expect to experience detours off and on in the upcoming months. The construction project to replace a mile-long section of oleanders in the highway’s median with concrete barriers and other upgrades has been going on since May this year.
  • Web Programming Question for Highway Website. A finder for a discussion on AAroads for when I move to a single highway per page (again, see the next post I make on updates to the highway site for more information on this project).
  • Can Route 66 Towns Be Saved by a National Historic Trail Designation? In his 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck dubbed Route 66 “The Mother Road.” The 2,448-mile-long highway that once wound from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, may soon have a new title: National Historic Trail.
  • Was I-15 signed along Hamner Avenue in Norco and Corona, California? Another AAroads discussion finder, this time with some comments on the mapping project and the history of I-15.
  • Hwy 1 to Big Sur to reopen at Mud Creek Slide on July 20.  Highway 1 up the Big Sur Coast will reopen from Cambria to Carmel by Friday, July 20, Caltrans confirmed on Tuesday. Colin Jones, chief spokesman for the district’s Caltrans office, said a public ribbon cutting will be held at 11 a.m. on July 20 at the Ragged Point Inn to celebrate the complete of roadwork at the Mud Creek Slide, which has been closed for more than a year. Caltrans recently had been projecting the road would reopen at the end of July, but the date has been widely rumored to be earlier than that.
  • ‘Just Across the Bridge’Rio Dell’s comeback story has been long in the making. The small city (population 3,400) on the banks of the Eel River was once the seamy playground for the company-town employees of neighboring Scotia, seeing booming business during the Prohibition era when it was an unincorporated area known as “Wildwood.” Incorporation in 1965 could have stabilized the town but the bypass of U.S. Highway 101 in 1973 crippled tourism for a time, and the decline of the logging industry dealt an additional blow to the town’s economy. Rio Dell once surged on the revenue of 2,500 timber jobs in nearby mills. The Scotia mill, the last remaining, now employs around 250, according to the local chamber of commerce. But recent years have seen a long, slow climb in stability, with a dedicated group of civic boosters advocating for small business growth, renewed investment in public beautification projects and an embrace of the legal cannabis industry all contributing to Rio Dell’s renaissance. Between 2016 and 2017, the town’s quarterly sales tax returns rose by almost 57 percent. New businesses — a café, two massage parlors and a boutique — took root.
  • STATE ROUTE 58 KRAMER JUNCTION EXPRESSWAY PROJECTThe California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues work on the estimated $191 million State Route 58 (SR-58) Kramer Junction Expressway Project. The project re-aligns and widens 13 miles of SR-58, builds a new SR-58/US-395 Interchange, and one railroad grade separation. The purpose of the project is to accommodate increased volumes of oversized vehicles, reduce traffic congestion, improve reliability of good movement, extend pavement life, and improve operational efficiency.
  • It’s Demolition Day for a Major Freeway Connector in Long Beach Demolition work began early Thursday on a major freeway connector ramp in Long Beach, part of the replacement project for the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge.  Several large excavators equipped with jackhammers and claws are tearing down the elevated ramp that connects eastbound Ocean Boulevard to the northbound 710 Freeway. The demolition marks the project’s final long-term road closure.
  • Caltrans to begin Route 78 repairs MondayCaltrans will begin repairs on 71 lane miles — approximately 40 travel miles — of state Route 78 on Monday. The $11 million project will be in two segments: westbound SR-78 from West Haverford Road in Ramona to Flora Vista Street in Escondido and eastbound from just east of Magnolia Avenue in Ramona to Wynola Road in Julian.
  • Highways considered for carpool lanes in and out of SF Transit officials are looking into carving out carpool lanes along both Highway 101 and Interstate 280 that could double as toll lanes to allow drivers willing to pay a bit extra for a faster commute in and out of the city. The southbound commute lane would extend along I-280 from King Street, near AT&T Park, down to where Highway 101 meets Interstate 380 near San Francisco International Airport. The northbound lane would run along Highway 101 — from I-380 up to the San Francisco County line — then pick up again on I-280 from Mariposa to King streets. The San Francisco lanes could eventually hook up with other express lanes being planned in San Mateo — and those that are already in operation in Santa Clara County. In time, they could stretch all the way to Morgan Hill.
  • Caltrans will install 70 mph speed-limit signs on parts of the 15 FreewayQ: Kenny Kiecolt commutes from Hesperia to the Inland Empire for work. Coming home in the evenings, he has noticed that other drivers don’t seem to realize that the speed limit increases from 65 in San Bernardino to 70 a little way north. “The entire pass and all of the freeways in the high desert have a speed limit of 70 mph but many drivers do not know this. A big factor seems to be the fact that Caltrans has not posted many, if any, speed limit signs. Kiecolt asked if Caltrans could be made aware of the issue and post more speed limit signs in the area along the 15 Freeway.
  • Caltrans Begins $11M SR-78 Improvement Project.  Caltrans will begin repairs Monday on 71 miles of state Route 78 in Ramona and Escondido. The $11 million project will be done in two segments: westbound from West Haverford Road in Ramona to Flora Vista Street in Escondido and eastbound from Magnolia Avenue in Ramona to Wynola Road in Julian.
  • Solano Transportation Authority to adjust budget, receives big boost from RM3 The Solano Transportation Authority will consider an increase to its budget. Revisions to the fiscal year 2018-19 have been modified from $19.06 million to $28.32 million dollars, an increase of $9.26 million. The change, according to staff in a report to the STA board, is based on a combination of the anticipated project construction activities and new project studies and programs. The increase also includes a big boost in funds related to Regional Measure 3 that voters approved in the June election.
  • July 10: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History2017:  The Northwest 138 Corridor Improvement Project’s Final Environmental Impact Report is released. The two alternatives studied seek to make highway 138 safer between Interstate 5 and State Route 14 in northern Los Angeles County — in particular by improving sight lines and bringing the highly-trafficked road up to modern standards.
  • Bicycle Path for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge May Be Used for CarsThe planned Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bicycle-pedestrian path is scheduled to open in early 2019. Months before a planned bikeway on the upper level of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is scheduled to open, Bay Area transit officials and Marin County politicians are talking about taking the separated bike lane away during peak demand periods.
  • Brodie Brazil on Twitter: “It is DONE & it is GLORIOUS! That’s 26 lbs of the old Bay Bridge that will now live on in our baseball rivalry!… “A twitter discussion with Caltrans resultling in Bay Bridge steel being used for the A/Giants Series Trophy.
  • Nothing Can Fix LA Traffic, So Deal With It Here’s a dirty little secret that politicians, agencies and transportation innovators probably don’t want you to know: there is almost nothing they can do to fix traffic in a thriving city like Los Angeles. This may come as a surprise, if you listen to claims about new train lines, freeway expansions, bike lanes, autonomous vehicles, flying Ubers and underground tunnel systems, which are promoted as ways to alleviate congestion. But while some of these may indeed bring mobility benefits or quality-of-life improvements, none of them is a cure for traffic.
  • Green Bridge design decided Caltrans has unveiled its final design plans to tear down and replace the Green Bridge to ensure that the critical gateway to Point Reyes Station can withstand an earthquake. It’s a project the agency says will cost $8 million and take a year to complete, including a complete closure for up to three weeks. The agency’s final environmental impact report, released last week, addressed the persistent call from community members to reconsider retrofitting the bridge, but maintained that a replacement is necessary.
  • 91 Express Lanes users to get new sticker transponders, and for many, a savings The relief provided to drivers who travel on the 91 Express Lanes to avoid traffic should soon extend to their wallets. Beginning in 2019, the Orange County Transportation Authority and Riverside County Transportation Commission, which jointly operate the toll lanes, will restructure the account plans offered as they phase out the hard-case FasTrack transponders currently issued to customers in favor of stickers.
  • Bridges damaged by Montecito mudslides see completion dates in 2018 Bridge repairs along with Highway 192 is still underway in Santa Barbara County following the damages from the January mudslides.  Caltrans said Monday crews hope to complete work within the creeks before the winter storm season.
  • Lane effort building its momentum.  As the Managed Lanes project moves through the final stages of the environmental review phase, officials are considering which agency or combination of agencies will own and operate it. That was the focus of a City/County Association of Governments meeting that also included an update on potential toll rates for the proposed express lanes and the revenue they could generate.
  • U.S. House passes Route 66 Centennial bill The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed the Route 66 Centennial Commission Act. It next will be considered by the U.S. Senate. The measure was passed by a voice vote without objection.
  • California State Route 26On the way back from taking photos on California State Route 49 I wanted to try something a little different and took CA 26 from CA 88 westward to CA 99. A large chunk of CA 26 was originally signed as CA 8.  CA 26 is a east/west route that begins in Amador County near Pine Grove at CA 88.  CA 26 is signed as not recommended for 30 foot vehicles as it traverses mountain grades for 25 miles westward to Mokelumne Hill at CA 49.
  • California State Route 132 from the Old Basso Bridge east to CA 49Circumstance had me driving around the closure on California State Route 49 in the Merced River Canyon to reach Coulterville.  That being the case I took largely scenic detour on CA 59/CR J59 to CA 132 in Stanislaus County near La Grange.  Instead of heading east immediately into La Grange I turned west briefly to Lake Road where the Old Basso Bridge is located the Tuolumne River.
  • Another busy week for CaltransThe California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) would like to alert the traveling public to be careful of workers on the Highway, to Slow for the Cone Zone and Move Over where possible.   The scheduled lane closures for the week of July 16th through July 20th are as follows:
  • Highway 1 in Big Sur reopened earlier than expectedA stretch of Highway 1 south of Big Sur, closed for 14 months after a massive landslide, reopened Wednesday morning, two days ahead of schedule, according to Caltrans. The road reopened at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. It’s good news for travelers, who can now drive between Carmel and San Luis Obispo without the closure at Mud Creek on the iconic route. For months, drivers who wanted to do the coastal drive have had to take long inland detours
  • Most Failed Transit Projects Don’t Have An Exhibit, But The 710 Freeway Extension Does For 50 years, Caltrans and San Gabriel Valley residents have been fighting over a plan to build a connection between where the 710 Freeway ends in Alhambra to the 210 Freeway’s fadeout into Pasadena. The archival installation 710, Before Present highlights Southern California’s ever-evolving relationship to transit and neighborhood. The exhibit recently moved from its initial location in Pasadena to a new home in the office of a newspaper in South Pasadena. (Note: Some materials in this exhibit are on load from my website collection.)
  • Learn More about the Proposed I-5/El Toro Road Interchange ProjectOn July 25, OCTA and Caltrans will host a public information meeting (open house format) to discuss the proposed I-5/El Toro Road Interchange Project and the ongoing environmental review and preliminary engineering process.
  • ‘Monumental’ undertaking: Workers finally tame an epic landslide that reshaped the coast and blocked Highway 1Drivers along Highway 1 — coming and going to Big Sur — typically ignored Mud Creek. Most maps overlooked this most prosaically named feature along the California coast. There were no landmarks here, nothing to call attention to anything but the road, which hugged a cliff high above the surf below. To do otherwise would invite tragedy. Yet in matters of California geology, nothing is too modest to be remarkable.
  • Big Sur | Photos, video of Hwy. 1 Mud Creek Slide road work California residents and tourists can again enjoy scenic Highway 1 up and down the Big Sur coast. Caltrans announced Tuesday that there would be a “soft opening” at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with a public ribbon-cutting ceremony to follow at 11 a.m. Friday at Ragged Point Inn. And the agency reopened Highway 1 about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to a tweet from the agency.
  • Highway 4 widening moving aheadQ: Please, pretty please (okay fine — with sugar on top), tell me the heavy machinery I recently spotted on the shoulder of eastbound Highway 4 near the Solano Avenue exit pertains to preliminary highway widening activities. Please.
  • Caltrans District 2 on Twitter: “The Hamilton Branch Bridge on SR 147 is nearly completed. We are happy to formally deliver it soon –although motorists have been going through the new structure for a few months now. We thank your contractors for their hard work.
  • Metro Planning Upgrade To 210 Freeway/Gold Line Barrier In PasadenaFor about six miles, in Pasadena and Arcadia, the Metro Gold Line operates on a right-of-way in the middle of the 210 Freeway. Now and then, cars and trucks crash through and over Jersey barrier separations and onto the Gold Line tracks. This has already resulted in major Metro service interruptions and costly repairs; it has the potential to kill or injure transit riders.
  • When will Hwy. 49 in Mariposa County reopen?  Caltrans crews continue to repair a washed-out road in Mariposa County. A 15-mile stretch of Highway 49 between Highway 132 in Coulterville and Bear Valley Road was shut down after heavy rains this past spring. Dan reached out to Commuter Concerns on Facebook about the closure. “Can you ask Caltrans when Highway 49 between Coulterville and Mariposa will be fixed and reopened?” Dan asked.
  • Grand vision sees improved Highway 37 winding through “Ecological Central Park”A new vision for rebuilding flood-prone, traffic-choked Highway 37 calls for also turning the surrounding wetlands of the Napa-Sonoma marshes into a Bay Area outdoor nature attraction as famous as Muir Woods. The group Common Ground says this 46-square-mile area has no real identity, despite having state and federal preserves. The team of architects, landscape architects, urban designers, economists, ecologists and others wants the public talking about “The Grand Bayway.”
  • Last Chance Grade receives a closer look from stakeholder in Arcata Last Chance Grade recently finished it’s geological survey, finding the risks/impacts of the potential routes to connect Crescent City with Highway 101, giving the projects stakeholders a better look before finishing the environmental study.CalTrans and the State of California have been running the projects pros and cons through many different stakeholders throughout the state, in order to have a safe route to bring into Del Norte County.
  • Wellsona Road, Hwy. 101 to get truck center in Paso Robles More trucks and heavy vehicles could be coming to a dangerous intersection just north of Paso Robles after county leaders allowed a planned truck-repair facility to move forward. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on July 10 allowed plans for the Paso Robles Truck Center — slated for vacant property near the intersection of Wellsona Road and Highway 101 — to continue without expensive road improvements requested by Caltrans.
  • California State Route 33; US 101 north to I-5 in Santa Nella. This past week I drove a section of California State Route 33 from CA 198 north I-5 in Santa Nella.  CA 33 probably has been one of the more common rural routes that I’ve interacted with since moving to California.  That being the case I actually had a substantial amount of photo stock of CA 33 that I was able to cobble together into a road album from US 101 in Ventura north to I-5 in Santa Nella.
  • Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report, Summer 2018 Table of Contents: Mile Markers / Vital Corridor Work Gets SB 1 Funding Boost / Plan Lays Paths for Bay Area Bicycling Growth / Master Plans to Improve Roads Approved / Caltrans Building Up its Workforce / Partnerships Preserve Unique Habitat / The Transformation of Transportation / Congested HOV Lanes Becoming Common / Employees Help Caltrans Minimize Risk / Notorious Rockfall Site Finally Tamed / Fewer Twists and Turns on Trips to Lassen / Mileposts / Iconic Big Sur Route Reclaimed / Intercity Rail Rides a Solid Track of Growth / State Rail, Transit Service Upgrades Funded / From the Archives
  • Route Highway 37 through American Canyon? Napans shudder. One idea to save Highway 37 along San Pablo Bay from predicted sea level rise is moving a section north to drier land along a new route through American Canyon and rural southwest Napa County. The Napa County option would mean combining the 40,000 autos using Highway 37 daily with the 45,000 autos using Highway 29 daily through the city of American Canyon. American Canyon is already a notorious traffic chokepoint in Napa County.
  • Caltrans I-5 rehab on track for 2019. When Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean tried to use the freeway earlier this month, her experience, like many in the Santa Clarita Valley, was a bit tumultuous. As McLean tried getting on the freeway at Lyons Avenue traveling northbound, blocked lanes made it difficult for her to dodge the trucks going by “pretty fast.”

2 Replies to “🛣️ Headlines and Related Material About California Highways – July 2018”

  1. Flaws in the American System
    Whoever writes this blog is a complete idiot and is out of touch with the majority of “WE THE PEOPLE “ Your progressive ideas are nothing more than being a racist, against anyone who doesn’t share your “ ideals” “we the people” welcome all who believe & follow the Constitution as written by men who were way ahead of their time & President Trump has done more for this country, after Obama nearly destroyed it, than any President has done, by doing what he said he was going to do, than any before him in modern history!!!

    1. Why you posted this as a comment on a collection of headlines about California highways — one of my most apolitical posts — is beyond me.

      I’ll also ignore the fact that you chose to attack me personally and my intellect, when you will notice (if you actually read this blog) that I eschew making personal attacks.

      Please pick one of my more political posts, for example, this post about anger from Conservatives, and describe how “progressive ideas” are racist against anyone who doesn’t share the ideas? First of all, that’s not racism at all (as political positions are not race). But I will willingly debate ideas with people, even if I disagree with those ideas. Read this blog to see that. So perhaps you have me confused with some other Liberal that is intolerant of Conservatives.

      I certainly want people that believe and follow the Constitution as written. It is far too sad that our current President, whom you hold in high regard, fails to do so. That is one reason why I would love all of our elected officers to recite their oath of office every day, to remind them that their duty is to the Constitution, and not the President. I would also like people to remember that the heart of the pledge is not “under God”, but “with liberty and justice for all.” As for what Trump has done: he has enriched his pockets, he has pandered to his base while hurting the rest of the country, he has reduced America’s influence.

      I’m curious about the ways you believe that Obama nearly destroyed America, as I believe otherwise.

      But this all should be discussed in something other than highway headlines.

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