🛣️ Headlines About California’s Highways – November 2018

We’re coming up on the end of 2018 — just one more month left. November saw a significant election result for California’s highways — the defeat of Proposition 6. As a result, SB1 will continue to funnel funds to improve highways, transportation, and transit throughout the state. November also saw me finish the second traditional update of the year. Most of these headlines are in that update; headlines being held for the first traditional update in 2019 will be indicated with ¤. With that, here are your headlines for November:

  • Important Events in Caltrans History. A timeline of Caltrans.
  • Overwhelming support of South Shore Community Revitalization Project at TRPA meeting. A standing room only crowd was in the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) board room on October 25, 2018 for an updated presentation, and plans for the next steps, of the U.S. 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project, commonly known as the Loop Road. It reroutes Highway 50 from its current location in front of Heavenly Village and the casinos to behind Raley’s, the Village Center and Harrahs Tahoe.
  • After warning Modesto about risks, Caltrans goes down another roadModesto’s auditor advised city officials in a July memo not to use Meyers Nave — the law firm Modesto hired in 2014 to serve as its city attorney — for the legal work on a roughly $100 million project to realign and upgrade a stretch of Highway 132. Monica Houston wrote that doing so could expose the city to the risk of fraud, waste and abuse. But it turns out Caltrans was not so steadfast, and it appears it may have been a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing at the transportation agency. Houston’s memo is one of the reasons that her work is under scrutiny..
  • Rural groups: Rethink proposalMembers of the Association of Rural Town Councils hope the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will delay the public hearing for the proposed Centennial mas­ter-planned community to allow time for a more com­plete traffic study. The L.A. County Region­al Planning Commission voted Aug. 29 to recommend the project for approval to the board of supervisors. The board is expected to con­sider the project in De­cember, although a date has not yet been set. Proposed on about 12,300 acres along Highway 138 west of 300th Street West, Cen­tennial calls for 19,333 homes on the 150-year-old Tejon Ranch at the far reach­es of the northwestern Antelope Valley.

  • A San Andreas fault mystery: The ‘slow-moving disaster’ in an area where the Big One is fearedThe San Andreas fault begins its dangerous dance through California at the Salton Sea, at a spot that seismologists long have feared could be the epicenter of a massive earthquake. But in recent months, this desolate location where the North American and Pacific plates rub together has become the focus of intense interest for a type of movement that is less the Big One than the Slow One.A muddy spring mysteriously has begun to move at a faster pace through dry earth — first 60 feet over a few months, and then 60 feet in a single day, according to Imperial County officials.
  • SR-57 (Orangewood to Katella). The Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans District 12, in partnership with the cities of Anaheim and Orange, have begun the Project Approval/Environmental Documentation (PA/ED) process for the proposed Northbound SR-57 Improvement Project from Orangewood Avenue to Katella Avenue. The PA/ED process, commonly referred to as the environmental review process, began in mid-2016 and is expected to be completed in late 2018. As part of this effort, OCTA and Caltrans are conducting preliminary engineering and an environmental study to assess the potential operational outcomes and potential environmental effects of extending the 5th regular (general-purpose) lane, as well as making ramp improvements between Orangewood Avenue and Katella Avenue, a 1-mile stretch adjacent to the cities of Anaheim and Orange.
  • November 5: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History (Beverly Hills Freeway). 1963:  The Beverly Hills City Council adopts a statement of policy regarding a Beverly Hills Freeway.
  • Adventure US Route 299; California State Route 299 from US 101 east to Interstate 5. Back in 2016 I was seeking a way back from the Northern California/Southern Oregon Coast back to the Central Valley that I had not taken previously.  That being the case I decided on California State Route 299 from US 101 in Arcata eastward approximately 135 miles to Interstate 5 in Redding.
  • Signed County Route E15 to Copperopolis. Back in 2016 I frequently used Signed County Route E15 as a short cut from California State Route 108/120 in Tuolumne County to CA 4 in Calaveras County.
  • More money approved from state tax to repair roadsThe California Transportation Commission has allocated $669 million for more than 100 projects, funded by or at least partly by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Money for the widening of SR 99 between Avenue 12 and Avenue 17 in Madera is part of the allotment.
  • Mariposa County Stockton Creek Bridge Project Included as California Transportation Commission Allocates More Than Half a Billion Dollars to Safety, Congestion Relief and Road Improvement Projects Due to SB 1 FundsCaltrans will improve, repair or replace an additional 80 bridges, 200 drainage systems and more than 340 lane miles with the new allocation. Preventative Bridge Maintenance Project: Mariposa County: Stockton Creek Bridge on SR-49 Stanislaus County: Snake Ravine Bridge on SR-132 in town of La Grange And Madera County Road Project: Madera 99 Widening Project: $69.7 million project will reconstruct drainage systems, upgrade guardrail and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) elements, construct one new lane in each direction and improve 23.5 lane miles of State Route 99 from the Avenue 12 Overcrossing to north of the Avenue 17 Overcrossing in the city of Madera in Madera County.
  • Caltrans to close Highway 163 for maintenance and constructionStretches of state Route 163 will be closed beginning Monday night and continuing through Friday morning for maintenance work and to reduce the height of the overpass at Friars Road, Caltrans announced. Crews will close all southbound lanes of SR-163 between Genesee Avenue and Interstate 8 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, according to Caltrans. All northbound lanes of SR-163 between Genesee Avenue and I-8 will be closed from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Caltrans, SANDAG Kick Off I-5 North County ExpansionLocal, state and federal transportation officials Friday held a press event marking the start of construction on eight miles of new carpool lanes on Interstate-5 in Carlsbad and Encinitas. The project, which officially starts construction next week, is part of the larger North Coast Corridor program to add 13 miles of carpool lanes, seven miles of bike and pedestrian paths and 1.5 miles of rail corridor double tracking in North County. The first work on the program began in 2016.
  • Gilman Drive Bridge Intro. SANDAG, in partnership with UC San Diego and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are constructing a new overcrossing over Interstate 5 (I-5) at Gilman Drive, just north of the La Jolla Village Drive Interchange. The overcrossing and related roadway improvements will connect Gilman Drive to the west and Medical Center Drive to the east. The project will provide a vital link between the west and east campuses of UCSD and add a second on-campus crossing over I-5. The overcrossing will be a three-span, pre-stressed concrete arch structure.
  • New Caltrans Executive Director Laurie Berman Speaks of Changes Afoot at the State DOT. Last March, California’s Department of Transportation, better known as Caltrans, got a new executive director. Laurie Berman is an engineer who has spent her entire career at Caltrans, most recently as director of District 11, which spans the state’s southern border with Mexico. She’s the first female engineer to hold the top post at Caltrans, and she joins a growing list of women leaders who are joining the department and helping shift its focus from cars to transportation for everyone.
  • Rye Fire Repairs Completed on I-5 and State Route 126. Caltrans has completed repairs on Interstate 5 and State Route 126 in Santa Clarita following the Rye Fire, which burned more than 6,000 acres in northern Los Angeles County beginning on Dec. 5, 2017.
  • How Do We Build Sound Walls? Sound walls are the large block walls along the shoulders of our interstate highways and freeways that provide a sound barrier from traffic noise and a visual barrier from traffic to local residents and businesses. How do we build them?
  • 10 Northern California road and transit projects spared the knife as Prop. 6 goes downThe significance of Tuesday’s vote to preserve California’s new gas-tax hike was not lost on Gov. Jerry Brown. “This is bridges, and girders, and overpasses, and cement, and concrete — this is real stuff,” he said during an election night speech, referring to the $5.2 billion stream that the tax hike generates annually to fix roads and keep mass transit running.
  • Zeroing in on Freeway Ramps. It was shortly after 1 a.m. on June 15, 2014, and Wilbert Williams was asleep in his tent. He’d set it up where many unhoused people do: next to a freeway ramp in SoMa, a spot seldom disturbed by disgruntled neighbors calling the cops. On Fifth Street between Bryant and Harrison sits a small, curved cement park, sandwiched between the two highway ramps and surrounded by a low, three-foot wall. It was this wall that Jaime Juarez flew over in his 2001 Toyota SUV that night. He crashed into Williams’ tent, immediately killing the 62-year-old as he slept.
  • CALTRANS COMPLETES STATE ROUTE 12 BOULDIN ISLAND REHABILITATION PROJECT IN THE SAN JOAQUIN DELTA The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently completed the $62.3 million State Route 12 (SR-12) Bouldin Island Rehabilitation Project, which made improvements to the roadway and enhanced safety elements for motorists traveling through the San Joaquin Delta corridor. “State Route 12 is very important to the Delta Region as it connects the Bay Area to the San Joaquin Valley while serving residents, commuters, and agricultural businesses,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman.
  • New Bridge Unveiled After Months of ConstructionCommuters will have a new connection between La Jolla and UC San Diego west of Interstate 5 and Medical Center Drive on the east side of the highway. The Gilman Drive Bridge was unveiled Thursday as crews continue to put finishing touches on the route across the busy I-5 corridor.  The bridge was built through a partnership between the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, and the University of California, San Diego.
  • CAJON PASS IS TAKEN OVER BY STATE COMMISSIONState of California yesterday (in 1918) formally took over the maintenance of the Cajon pass boulevard, from San Bernardino city limits to Summit, relieving the county from the expense of the upkeep of the concrete and macadam highway. This move marked the first big step by the state in extending its operations to the Old Trails highway. The surveys have been run from Summit to Barstow for the new portion of the road, but the definite route has not been seleted. The state and the county are to build the Summit to Barstow section within a period of not to exceed five years. The state will first build from the vicinity of Victorville.
  • Big plans for El Camino Real being consideredQ: I agree with the guy who says El Camino Real traffic is horrible and commute hours in both directions are unbearable. Any idiot could see that the first thing that needs to change is the timing of the lights. The worst spot is southbound turning left onto Highway 237. It’s a nightmare most of the day. Sometimes it takes me over 30 minutes to go the 3 miles I travel. I’ve thought about biking, but being on a bike on El Camino is frightening. The second thing that needs to be done is to eliminate parking along El Camino. All of it. That space should be used for bus stops, bike lanes and right turns only. With all of the apartments, condos, and mixed-use buildings popping up overnight, there will be even more traffic.
  • Tahoe Roads: Recapping 2018 roadwork on South ShoreRoadwork season 2018 is complete and Caltrans is proud to update South Lake Tahoe motorists on the improvements made this summer that benefit the roadways as well as the environment. South Lake Tahoe is included in Caltrans District 3, which includes 1,491 center-line miles and 4,385 lane miles in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties. As the Department of Transportation for the state of California, Caltrans is responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining the state’s highway and interstate systems and informing the public of construction project plans and commute impacts.
  • Bay Area ‘hidden freeways’ that were never builtWe all know traffic congestion is a huge problem. So would building more highways help? That’s a question the Bay Area have been asking for more than a century. Is it time to revisit some old ideas?  As long as cars have been on our streets, California highway planners have seen the need for a network of roads to move cars faster and more efficiently around the Bay Area. Decades later, a lot of that network is in place. But many of the roads envisioned by planners years ago never got built.
  • Valley Briefs: Caltrans announces repairs to Highway 86 in Imperial County. Article paywalled.
  • The end of cash tolls — even toll plazas — in the Bay Area? Cash tolls — and the long lines they create as people stop to pay them — may soon be a thing of the past in the Bay Area. That could be good news for the 137 million toll-paying motorists who cross over Bay Area bridges every year and who find themselves in ever-lengthening commutes. Eliminating cash tolls, or even removing the toll plaza itself, could save up to 7 minutes, analysts said — though commuters say the actual time they spend sitting at the toll plaza is a whole lot longer.
  • Caltrans to close parts of Highway 1 in Big Sur before major stormsWhen the next major storm hits Monterey County, Caltrans will take a proactive safety approach by shutting down Highway 1 along the Big Sur Coast at two trouble spots. Gates have been installed at Mud Creek, where more than 5 million cubic yards of dirt and rocks slid down the hillside and covered a quarter mile of the roadway with as much as 40 feet of debris in May 2017, and at Paul’s Slide.
  • Edinburgh’s road signs hacked by artistThe altered signs – including images of flowers and wine glasses – have been seen in South St David Street, Thistle Street and Union Street. The signs were hacked by French artist Clet Abraham, whose work sells for thousands of pounds. He said on Twitter that there are between 15 and 20 pieces around Edinburgh. Earlier this year a post on his Facebook page showed a similar image of a flower growing through a no entry sign in Glasgow.
  • Elon Musk’s tunnel was not his first idea for beating LA trafficElon Musk shed some light Thursday on how he arrived at the idea to build privatized, high-speed tunnels for cars and 18-passenger “pods” beneath Los Angeles. Musk said previously that he used his commute to brainstorm ways to address the traffic congestion he experienced going from his Bel Air home to work at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne. But before he conjured up the tunneling scheme, Musk had a different idea: Turn the 405 into a double-decker freeway.
  • State Route 154 Culvert Project Begins Next WeekA project to maintain the liners within drainage culverts near Highway 154 in various locations from the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge to just south of Camino Cielo Road will begin on Monday, Nov. 19. Motorists will encounter a closure of the No. 2 lane in each direction of Hwy. 154 Monday through Friday from 9 am until 3 pm within the sections of passing lanes and locations where the highway is two lanes in each direction.
  • Old Town changes, but the Swing Inn remains the same “You can sit anywhere, sweetie” is the friendly greeting heard all day long at the Swing Inn Cafe. As the face of Old Town changes with new buildings, businesses and restaurants the venerable Swing Inn, which opened in 1927, remains pretty much the same as it was in the days when cattle were driven past its front door and arriving railroad passengers walked over from the train depot for lunch.
  • Bay Bridge bike path on west span would offer ‘breathtaking views’ — and a huge price tagLong the holy grail for cycling advocates in the Bay Area — a bike and pedestrian path spanning the entire length of the Bay Bridge, offering unparalleled views of San Francisco and a carbon-free alternative to soul-sucking traffic — has, for decades, remained tantalizingly out of reach. It’s seven miles from Oakland to San Francisco, but with the east span’s bike path ending halfway at Yerba Buena Island, the remaining three miles to San Francisco on a bike might as well be a trip to Mars. Early cost estimates for the path were astronomical and technical challenges loomed large.
  • Proposal for full Bay Bridge bike path gains steam, but needs cashIt’s long been a dream for pedestrians and cyclists. But unless you’ve got wheels, making a trip across the Bay Bridge remains an impossibility. When the bridge’s new east span opened in 2013, the 15-foot-wide shared-use path that debuted with it was essentially a “bridge to nowhere.” Later in 2016, the path was extended as far as Yerba Buena Island. But there still isn’t a clear way to bike or walk into San Francisco from the East Bay.  Now, the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), along with Caltrans and a team of engineers, have come up with a preliminary design plan to extend the path all the way into the city, via Yerba Buena Island and across the west span of the bridge into downtown San Francisco.
  • LA Metro committee approves $500M in 710 freeway gap closure dollars for local road improvementsFor the first time since LA Metro killed the extension of the 710 Freeway, the agency on Wednesday approved 34 alternative projects, saying improvements to roads and major thoroughfares affected by traffic from the freeway’s northern terminus represents a new, cities-driven approach that flies in the face of Caltrans’ more-than-60-year desire to complete the 4.1-mile gap between El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena. The Metro Ad Hoc Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee unanimously approved the first set of projects worth a total of $514.4 million. The list must be approved by the LA Metro Board of Directors at their meeting in December.
  • Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates. Over the past two decades I’ve crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as “The Grapevine” it occupies a corridor traditionally traversed by the Ridge Route.  This article is dedicated to one of the most legendary American Roadways that was ever built.
  • Renters in path of defunct 710 Freeway route sue Caltrans over higher home purchase prices, saying ‘inflationary rate’ is illegalCities along the route of the defunct 710 Freeway north extension are seeing their alternative traffic-relief projects get funded after six decades of stalemate.  However, the sale of hundreds of surplus homes in the path of the extension have not moved ahead as quickly, with revenues barely trickling into Caltrans coffers for use in road and freeway improvements. In the eventual sale of about 460 properties listed as surplus in El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena, only 10 have been sold by Caltrans so far, said Abdollah Ansari, managing executive officer of the highway program for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), during an agency ad-hoc meeting Wednesday on the 710 “gap” plans.
  • California State Route 12 and the “Drive to Stay Alive” in the Sacramento River Delta. This past weekend I drove the section of California State Route 12 located in the Sacramento River Delta from Interstate 5 west to Interstate 80.
  • California State Route 99/Old US Route 99 Freeway Part; Interstate 5 north to California State Route 180. Over the past three years I’ve had the opportunity to drive the entirety of the California State Route 99 Freeway from Interstate 5 north to Sacramento several times but rarely took many photos until this past month.  The saga of US Route 99 in California being dropped to a State Highway no later 1967 is well established at this point.  The point of this blog series is to focus on the actual active CA 99 freeway itself rather than the history of US Route 99.
  • Applegate overpass in Merced County reopens after major crash damaged bridgeLocal businesses that experienced a sharp drop in sales were pleased when the Applegate Road bridge over Highway 99 reopened to traffic on Sunday, more than five weeks after a truck’s cargo slammed into it and caused structural damage. The collision shut down the overpass, which is a crucial bridge connecting residents to the north and northbound highway travelers to the sprawling shopping center south of the highway. A detour route was set up through Atwater Boulevard and Commerce Avenue.
  • Caltrans District 7 on Twitter: “OPEN! Confirming that the new Norwalk Bl. off ramp from NB I-5 is OPEN! Happy Thanksgiving!”. The brand new Norwalk Bl off ramp from NB I-5 in #Norwalk is scheduled to OPEN at 5am Wed 11/21. These are the new directional signs where the end of the ramp meets Norwalk Bl .
  • The history of how Malibu grew. In the early hours of December 4, 1903, a fire broke out on the southeastern coast of Frederick and May Rindge’s massive Maliburanch. In less than an hour, more than 30 miles of the coast was in flames, and the fire soon headed for the couple’s beloved Victorian beach house.
  • Plans for west part of Bay Bridge bike path move along, but it’ll take time. The long-held — and often discounted — idea of a bike lane along the western span of the Bay Bridge between Yerba Buena Island and San Francisco may be more of a reality than many have assumed up until now. For starters, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has spent $10 million on the first step, getting a plan for the bike path ready. And as anyone familiar with transportation projects knows, “One study leads to another and then another and then another until eventually you have a plan,” said MTC spokesman John Goodwin. Goodwin acknowledges that the estimated $300 million-plus cost of the path “is a boatful of money.” “So it is going to take a long time, if it even comes into fruition,” Goodwin said.
  • Tolls on Seven Bay Area Bridges Set to Rise in Six Weeks. With six weeks to go before the start of a new year, the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) reminds drivers that several important changes take effect Jan. 1, 2019, at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges. These include the first of the $1 toll increases approved last year through state Senate Bill 595 and by voters through Regional Measure 3 in June 2018. This will mark the first toll hike at the state-owned toll bridges since 2010. Additional $1increases will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and on Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Belle Terrace overpass closed until spring 2020The Belle Terrace overpass is closed until spring 2020, according to the Thomas Roads Improvement Program. The closure of this road that crosses over Highway 99 is part of the Centennial Corridor project. The Centennial Corridor project will connect Highway 58 to the Westside Parkway, opening up east-west freeway travel in Bakersfield.
  • ¤ Healdsburg looks to close loop on contentious $14 million roundabout project. After two long years, Healdsburg’s new roundabout is just about finished, finally providing a key gateway to the city’s downtown — and ending the anguish that residents and local businesses said the project caused. Billed as the solution to a clunky five-way intersection, the highly touted project fast became a multimillion-dollar headache, and in turn the butt of jokes around town, on social media and in the region’s infrastructure circles.
  • ¤ SF considers letting solo drivers pay fee to use carpool lanes. San Francisco may soon create new carpool lanes on U.S. Highway 101 and U.S. Interstate 280 that allow solo-car drivers to zip past traffic — for a price. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority board approved $4 million last week to study the conversion of existing southbound and northbound lanes on U.S. Highway 101 and U.S. Interstate 280 into high-occupancy vehicle lanes, planner-speak for express or carpool lanes.
  • ¤ South Pasadena gets funds for new ramps at the 110 and Fair Oaks, an interchange untouched for nearly 90 years. Fair Oaks Avenue runs like an arrow through the heart of the quaint city of South Pasadena, home of shops, restaurants and the historic Rialto Theatre. But during commuting hours, it resembles a parking lot, jammed with bumper-to-bumper congestion to the point where many commuters using the Waze app take Fremont Avenue and side streets, causing a second set of traffic problems for the residential city. At the center of the Fair Oaks tie-ups is the 110 Freeway, a historic parkway connecting motorists with downtown Los Angeles, the 5 and 101 freeways and Dodger Stadium.
  • ¤ Orange County, California, officials approve $43B transportation plan. The Orange County (California) Transportation Authority Board of Directors this month authorized a $43.4 billion, long-range plan that will shape the area’s transportation “blueprint” for at least the next 20 years.
  • ¤ 710 Freeway: Where once a tunnel was proposed, a regional park may take root. For almost 60 years, the 710 Freeway’s unfinished gap has affected traffic in the entire San Gabriel Valley but nowhere moreso than in Alhambra. Drivers heading to South Pasadena and Pasadena move like herded cattle from the freeway’s terminus at Valley Boulevard onto Fremont Avenue. Desperate for another way, others continue east on Valley to Atlantic and Garfield boulevards for slightly better, less-clogged, conditions.
  • ¤ After 15 years of traffic snarls, Pasadena may build California Boulevard overpass at Gold Line train tracks. Pasadenans have a love-hate relationship with the Gold Line. They love the convenience of a train whisking them to Los Angeles from six stations throughout the Crown City. However, when the train emerges from its underground lair and crosses Del Mar Boulevard, California Boulevard and Glenarm Street at street level, the sentiments of motorists mired at the downed gates similarly take a turn. In fact, those waiting three or more minutes or several signal cycles may curse the train as they jockey from lane to lane to find a quicker way to cross.
  • ¤ Design of Trimble/101 overcrossing about to kick off: Roadshow. Q: You’ve probably written about this previously, but Highway 101 south to Highway 87 is considered one of the most problematic merges in your polls of drivers, and many believe it is the cause of the daily horror show on 101 from Lawrence Expressway to Oakland Road. The real problem, though, is the Trimble Road/De La Cruz Boulevard cloverleaf —  the same problem that plagued the 101/Willow Road cloverleaf until the recent rebuild: three lanes on Trimble go down to two over 101, no merge area onto 101 south, etc. Is there a plan to reconstruct Trimble/101 and add a dedicated lane from 101 to 87, and if so, when?
  • ¤ District 11 Projects. Project fact sheets and information.
  • ¤ Caltrans District 8 on Twitter: “Celebrating the dedication of the improved interchange at I-15 and Temecula Parkway with the City of Temecula, Pechanga, RCTC, WRCOG and Falcon Engineering. #Caltrans8…”.
  • ¤ Caltrans District 8 on Twitter: “Mandatory Pre Bid to Replace Outside Lanes and Slabs on SR-60 (08-0Q75U4)”.
  • ¤ New 91 Freeway lane will help Corona’s traffic woes, but officials say tweaking Green River Road ramp won’t. A new westbound 91 lane at the Riverside-Orange county line that would help relieve severe congestion has been given the green light, but transportation officials are abandoning the idea of turning off Green River Road ramp meters. After sometimes confusing rush-hour experiments in June, September and October, Caltrans has concluded that switching off the Green River signals altogether — or allowing two cars to go with each green signal instead of one — won’t help. Trial results were presented at a Riverside County Transportation Commission subcommittee meeting Monday, Nov. 26.
  • ¤ After voters keep gas tax, plans for 15 Freeway toll lanes from Corona to Lake Elsinore move ahead. Inland officials are taking a first step toward building more toll lanes on the 15 Freeway. Express lanes are already being built on the 15, between the 60 Freeway and Cajalco Road in Corona, at a cost of $471 million, and are expected to open by mid-2020. Now transportation officials are laying the groundwork for extending those lanes — two in each direction — 14 miles farther south to Highway 74 in Lake Elsinore.
  • ¤ Caltrans Dedicates Fallen Workers Memorial. Earlier this month, Caltrans held a ceremony to dedicate the Foothill Freeway (I-210) and Golden State Freeway (I-5) interchange as the Caltrans District 7 Fallen Workers Memorial Interchange.
  • ¤ Caltrans Has Completed Repairs on State Route 140 in Mariposa County Due to SB 1 Funds. Caltrans has repaired and repaved more than six lane miles of State Route 140 from the SR-49/SR-140 junction to Whitlock Road, due to the  funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
  • ¤ Elon Musk’s Boring Company abandons plan for LA Westside test tunnel. Elon Musk’s Boring Company is ditching plans to build a 2.5-mile test tunnel underneath Los Angeles’ 405 freeway and Sepulveda Boulevard. The controversial project had been the focus of a lawsuit filed by two neighborhood groups, accusing LA officials of violating state law by exempting the plans from environmental review. A settlement was reached last month and, on Tuesday, the Boring Company and the Westside activists made the closure official.
  • ¤ Supervisor Kathryn Barger proposed an “emergency plan” Tuesday for the 5 Freeway. During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Barger proposed a partnership between the agencies involved in the 5 Freeway improvements and suggested to report back monthly to identify traffic patterns and an emergency plan. The emergency plan would be implemented if the I-5 shut down for accidents, weather or construction.
  • ¤ Pasadena Now » 710 Freeway Extension Officially Dead, State and City Officials Celebrate and Look to the Future. On Wednesday, November 28, State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D–La Cañada Flintridge) and California Secretary of Transportation Brian Annis held a press conference to present the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 710 Freeway Corridor to the public. Spanning 60 years, the completion of the 710 freeway from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the 210 freeway in Pasadena has been one of the most complex transportation projects in California history. (Includes a link to the FEIR)
  • ¤ L.A. considers raising speed limits on more than 100 miles of streets. Los Angeles officials will consider raising speed limits on more than 100 miles of city streets, saying the changes are the only way to resolve a years-long problem that has prevented police officers from ticketing speeding drivers. If the Los Angeles City Council approves the increases, speed limits would rise on some of the Southland’s most familiar thoroughfares, including San Vicente Boulevard through Mid-Wilshire and stretches of Reseda, Victory and Chandler boulevards in the San Fernando Valley.
  • ¤ Report a final death knell for eight-lane 710 Freeway tunnel. Street improvements have been chosen over a multibillion-dollar, eight-lane tunnel project to complete the 710 Freeway gap, according to the final environmental impact report for the project revealed Wednesday morning in Pasadena.
  • ¤ 91 Freeway toll lane fees in Corona approach $50 million as ‘desperate’ commuters open wallets. Driven by frustration with severe traffic congestion, new toll lanes on the 91 Freeway in Corona took in nearly $48 million — three times as much as expected — in their first full year and are on pace to generate $50 million this fiscal year. The rosier-than-anticipated results, detailed this week in a report to a regional transportation panel, spurred cries that tolls are too high and calls for spending surplus revenue on improvements to the mainline 91 that could ease congestion.
  • ¤ Part of 101 could be named for deputy killed in Thousand Oaks shooting. State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and the Thousand Oaks City Council are working to have a portion of Highway 101 named in honor of Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, one of 12 people killed by a gunman in the Borderline Bar & Grill mass shooting Nov. 7. Only the state Legislature can officially name a state highway, according to the California Department of Transportation.
  • ¤ Caltrans Officially Kills 710 Extension Project. The 710 Freeway extension project is officially dead after six decades of debate over lengthening the busy interstate route from Alhambra to Pasadena. Caltrans announced Wednesday that it had finalized a report endorsing local street improvements instead of a freeway tunnel.
  • ¤ California’s new carpool lane stickers: Everything you need to know.Drivers of plug-in vehicles who freely coast through California’s carpool lanes may get a shock in January, when regulators roll out new rules — and new stickers for cars that qualify. The change is part of a years-long strategy to clear out traffic in the lanes, so that they move faster for traditional carpools, mass transit and eligible clean air vehicles. And it’s the latest complication in a system that’s burdened by competing goals — from encouraging more people to buy efficient cars, to extending the freebie to lower-income drivers, to creating a resale market for used plug-ins.
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