🛣️ December 2018 Headlines/Articles about California Highways

Another year has come to an end. It’s been a roller-coaster this year, with funding battles galore, the passage and fight over SB1, and lots of highway work, and great highway history research. In terms of my pages, it has seen the addition of maps to every page, and planning begun for a site overhaul. But the news, as always, continues. Here are your headlines and other related articles that I uncovered during the month of December:

  • Connecting Pasadena Project. Fill the 710 Ditch. (Facebook Page) Community Initiative to reconnect Pasadena by restoring city streets and replacing the 710 Highway Stub with buildings, homes, businesses, parks, gardens.
  • Plan calls for Route 66 to become National Historic Trail. A new proposal moving through Congress seeks to designate Route 66, the highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles and was once an economic driver for small towns across a post-World War II United States, as a National Historic Trail. U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Jim Inhofe announced this week the introduction of a bipartisan bill that would amend the National Trails System Act and include Route 66 in an effort to help revitalize cities and small towns that sit along the historic corridor.
  • Long Beach’s Pico Avenue offramp closes permanently to make way for new bridge. As the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge moves closer to completion, traffic options around the Port of Long Beach are being reduced. Eastbound traffic coming off the Gerald Desmond has been funneled onto Pico Avenue to get around the construction site. That still will be the case, but now there will be only one offramp from Pico Avenue. The other offramp is being closed permanently to clear space for bridge construction.
  • 710 Freeway Extension Funds Redirected to So Pas Freeway Ramps. The positive ripple effects for So Pas stemming from the defeat of the 710 Freeway extension keep on coming. Not only is the extension dead in the water after years of struggle, but now funds that were once set aside for that project could be redirected to fix the 110 on- and off-ramps at Fair Oaks Avenue, according to city officials. If the Metro Board of Directors, at its next meeting, Dec. 6, approve the funding recommendation as expected, the money could be made available as soon as July of next year, according to city officials.
  • Caltrans Completes Project That Repaves 15 Miles Of State Route 49 In Tuolumne County. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has completed a highway improvement project that has repaved 15 miles of State Route  49 (SR-49) in southern and northern Tuolumne County. The project extended from the Tuolumne/Mariposa County line to the SR-49/SR-120 junction, a 6.5-mile stretch of highway. The project also paved north of Pesce Way and continued on SR-49 for 8.5 miles until it reached the Tuolumne/Calaveras County line.
  • Metro’s $400 Million Roads Plan Is an Act of Climate Change Denial. After decades on the books, community voices — supported by NRDC and countless others — prevailed and the 710 North “gap closure” project is dead. Good riddance. But the plan on how to spend the $400 million in leftover money is an affront to the health of San Gabriel Valley residents and our climate future.
  • County wants traffic action plan. County supervisors motivated by the “nightmare” traffic jam witnessed Thanksgiving weekend through the Grapevine and along Interstate 5 have called for an emergency mobility action plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a recommendation by Supervisor Kathryn Barger for agencies to devise emergency mobility action plans that would be used whenever the I-5 shuts down due to crashes, weather or construction.
  • McCarthy Announces $17.5 Million DOT Grant to Expand Route 46 through Lost Hills. Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy is pleased to announce the U.S. Department of Transportation’s intention to award a $17.5 million grant to the Kern Council of Governments for Kern County California State Route 46 Widening Segment 4B project. The grant award is from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant program. This project will widen a 5.3 mile segment of 2-lane highway to a 4-lane highway.

  • Caltrans to shut down State Route 247. A road construction project scheduled to start next week will close State Route 247 in both directions for three days, according to the California Department of Transportation. The concrete overlay project will bring a full closure to the highway, which extends east from Lucerne Valley to Yucca Valley, from 8 p.m. Dec. 14 to 6 a.m. Dec 17, Caltrans officials said. The section of Highway 247 that connects Lucerne Valley to Barstow will not be affected. Yucca Valley residents will not be affected unless they plan to travel to the Victor Valley or Barstow during the closure.
  • Caltrans has completed repairs on Highway 50. Caltrans has completed work to improve 41 lane miles of U.S. Highway 50 from the Sawmill Road Undercrossing to the South Fork American River Bridge in El Dorado County, due to funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. “Funding from SB 1 is allowing Caltrans to address critical needs for highway repairs,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. “This section of Highway 50 endures a lot of stress due to the weather in the high country, so completing this project before winter was essential for motorists’ safety.”
  • Caltrans Hopes to Finish Montecito-Area Highway 192 Bridge Repairs This Winter. Caltrans hopes to finish rebuilding damaged or destroyed Montecito bridges along State Route 192 this winter, weather permitting.  Construction crews are currently at work on the Olive Mill Road overpass at Highway 101 near the Montecito Inn, which had its railings destroyed and washed away by the Jan. 9 debris flow. New bridge rails have been completed on the eastern side of the overpass and crews are now working on the western side.
  • Highway 243 on way to Idyllwild will close for 7 days near Lake Fulmor. An important highway that connects the Banning-Beaumont area with Idyllwild will be blocked seven days for repairs. Starting Friday, Dec. 7, Southern Californians who do holiday shopping in the mountains will have to take other routes — such as Highway 74 from Hemet — to the rustic resort town. Motorists will be able to drive large sections of Highway 243, but they won’t be able to travel from the San Gorgonio Pass to Idyllwild. That’s because state transportation officials plan to close a three-tenths-mile section of the highway, about one mile northwest of picturesque Lake Fulmor, Caltrans spokesman Shane Massoud said Wednesday, Dec. 5.
  • Caltrans Gets $600 Million for Highway Projects, Many in San Diego. Caltrans announced Friday the California Transportation Commission has allocated more than $600 million in funding for hundreds of transportation projects, with almost $100 million for the San Diego area. The funding includes $80 million from Senate Bill 1, the 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase that was preserved by state voters in November.
  • In lieu of dead 710 Freeway extension, LA Metro board awards cities $515M for road projects. In an historic vote, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board Thursday approved $515 million in local roadway projects in lieu of a north 710 Freeway extension, ending nearly 60 years of debate. A list of 34 projects include removal of the southern 710 stub at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, construction of a train overpass at California Boulevard in Pasadena, and three parking structures in Monterey Park.
  • L.A. Metro considering adding congestion pricing to jammed freeways. Charging tolls on Los Angeles freeways during times of highest use and taxing Uber and Lyft rides are two new sources of revenue being considered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency announced Thursday. The two ideas were presented in a report by LA Metro CEO Phil Washington as a potential solution to close a $26.2 billion gap in 28 projects being accelerated for completion by the 2028 Olympic Games coming to Southern California.
  • The I-405 Improvement Project: Behind the Scenes. To help with traffic management during construction, the I-405 Improvement Project has chosen industry-leading software to analyze and visualize traffic data to manage traffic congestion, safety and mobility for 370,000 daily southern California road users during the construction phase of the $1.9 billion project.
  • Politician wants amendment to kill California high-speed rail. Carl DeMaio, the same Republican former San Diego council member/radio host who unsuccessfully attempted to crash the state’s gas tax in the November election, now hopes voters will back him in a different transit maneuver: A proposed 2020 amendment to the California Constitution that would wreck the state’s high-speed rail plans. The California Secretary of State’s office announced last week that signature gathering will soon begin on the proposed amendment. DeMaio’s plan would introduce several radical changes to statewide transit systems: • “Shifts responsibility for constructing and maintaining state highways from the state to local governments.”
  • Caltrans Completes Repairs to I-5 and SR-118 Interchange in Pacoima. On a rainy January morning in the San Fernando Valley community of Pacoima, a big rig truck traveling north on Interstate 5 (I-5) to westbound State Route 118 (SR-118) interchange slammed through a concrete barrier on the overpass, hit an overhead sign structure and came to rest on the center median of the northbound I-5. The accident completely shut down the northbound I-5 lanes and caused extensive damage to the highway.
  • Caltrans Releases Final 710 North Project Environmental Impact Report, Tunnel Alternative Not Named Preferred Alternative. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has released the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the SR 710 North Project. The final report identifies the Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management Alternative as the Preferred Alternative out of the four build options, including a freeway tunnel. “The final EIR is a historic step in the right direction,” said Assemblymember Holden. “I look forward to working with all my colleagues in the legislature to support local efforts to improve mobility, and pass policies to affirmatively remove the tunnel option from any future consideration.”
  • An animated map of every Los Angeles commute. Stuck in traffic on the freeway, drivers’ angry first thoughts are probably, “Where are all of these people even coming from?!” Thanks to these lovely commute maps below, we can see the answer for ourselves. The maps, created and provided to Curbed by “data enthusiast” Mark Evans, use Census data from the American Community Survey to plot the commutes of workers who travel between 20 and 100 miles to work in various counties across the U.S., says CityLab, which also featured the maps.
  • Toll Lane Expansion in Inland Empire Begins After Voters Reject Gas Tax Repeal. On Nov. 7, the Riverside County Transportation Commission issued a Request for Qualifications to consulting firms to begin preliminary engineering and environmental studies for a proposed 14.5-mile extension of two toll lanes on Interstate 15 from Corona to Lake Elsinore. The California Transportation Commission had already allocated $50 million for the study in March but had placed one contingency on spending them: the taxes and fees in the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 needed to remain.
  • Prop 6 Proponents Introduce Anti-High Speed Rail Initiative. Carl DeMaio just won’t go away quietly. After the trouncing of his Proposition 6, which would have repealed the recent increase in gas taxes and caused other mayhem with California’s transportation funding, DeMaio is back with another attempt to screw up the transportation system and end what little progress has been made. His new initiative, just cleared by the California Secretary of the State to begin collecting signatures, would “remove responsibility and funding for state highway construction and maintenance from the state” and put it in the hands of local governments.
  • New Norwalk Blvd. Off Ramp from Northbound I-5 is Open!. The new Norwalk Blvd. off ramp from northbound I-5 is open to the public after a four month closure. The ramp is part of a project to add lanes to I-5 through Norwalk and to reconstruct the I-5 interchange at Norwalk Blvd.  Where the ramp meets Norwalk Blvd., there are three lanes: left turn to San Antonio Dr; right turn onto Norwalk Blvd.; or straight to Imperial Highway.
  • Interstate 280 bumps to be fixed next year: Roadshow. Q: I think it’s been talked about previously in your daily article, but there is jarring pavement at southbound Interstate 280 right between where the carpool lane starts coming into Cupertino and Foothill Expressway. It’s been there a long time but has gotten worse. It certainly screws up the alignment on any car that passes.
  • Metro approves $450M plan for unbuilt 710 extension. With a long-planned extension of the 710 Freeway officially dead, Metro is moving forward with plans to complete a cluster of smaller infrastructure projects in the communities where the northern leg of the freeway would have been built. The agency’s Board of Directors approved $450 million worth of projects on Thursday that range from redesigned on and offramps in Alhambra to a bridge widening project in El Sereno.
  • December 10: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1952:  Dedication ceremonies are held for the first section of the Long Beach Freeway open to traffic.
  • You’ve probably driven by this Christmas tree [on I-5 N of Red Bluff] just…. You’ve probably driven by this Christmas tree just north of Red Bluff on Interstate 5 and wondered about it. I did, and I set out on a search to find why that Charlie Brown kind of tree was always decorated at Christmas time and who was doing it. It’s known as Carrie’s Christmas tree and its located just before the roadside rest area. It stands there all by itself all decked out with bright-colored Christmas tree decorations.
  • LA Metro CEO supports congestion pricing, free fares on public transit. The head of Metro endorsed congestion pricing for Los Angeles Thursday, telling the agency’s board of directors Thursday that rush-hour tolls on drivers could fund free fares on public transit. “We think that with congestion pricing done right, we can be the only city in the world to offer free transit service in time for the 2028 Olympics,” Metro CEO Phil Washington said.
  • Plans for New A’s Stadium Revive Hopes of Removing I-980. Connect Oakland is a group that’s been pushing to replace I-980 for several years and they’re excited at the prospect of tying their proposal together with a new ballpark and a possible second BART below-bay tunnel. Wilson Walker reports. (12-7-18)
  • US interstate highways need overhaul, says new report. The future of the U.S. Interstate Highway System is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of structural and operational deficiencies and by various looming challenges, such as the progress of automated vehicles, developments in electric vehicles, and vulnerabilities due to climate change. Unless a commitment is made to remedy the system’s deficiencies and prepare for these oncoming challenges, there is a real risk that the nation’s interstates will become increasingly unreliable and congested, far more costly to maintain, less safe, incompatible with evolving technology, and vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for a 20-year “blueprint for action,” which includes creating an “Interstate Highway System Renewal and Modernization Program,” increasing the federal fuel tax to help pay for it, and allowing tolls and per-mile-charges on more interstate routes.
  • More than $600 Million in Funding Approved for Transportation Infrastructure, Rail and Local Projects.  Caltrans announced that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated more than $600 million in funding for hundreds of transportation projects, which includes $80 million from SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. […] [Humboldt, Lake, Del Norte, Mendocino County] Area projects receiving funding include: […]
  • Freeway envisioned north of Modesto draws federal money. Federal highway officials approved a $20 million grant for the North County Corridor, a future expressway skirting Modesto, Riverbank and Oakdale in north Stanislaus County. The road is expected to cost $688 million and will require additional funding. State transportation officials are expected to pinpoint the exact route in coming months, and construction could be a few years away.
  • District 10 – State Route 108 North County Corridor. The North County Corridor Project (Tully Road to SR-120) is a high-priority project for Stanislaus County, its communities and the growing urbanized cities of Modesto, Oakdale, and Riverbank. The purpose of the project is to ultimately build a west-east roadway that would improve regional network circulation, relieve existing traffic congestion, reduce traffic delay, accommodate future traffic, benefit commerce and enhance safety.
  • North County Corridor New State Route 108 Project and Route Adoption (DEIR) – Vol I. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in cooperation with the North County Corridor Transportation Expressway Authority (NCCTEA), proposes to construct the North County Corridor New State Route 108 (SR-108) Project. The NCCTEA is represented by Caltrans District 10, Stanislaus County, and the Cities of Oakdale, Riverbank and Modesto. Caltrans is the lead agency for both National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance. The project lies in northern Stanislaus County between Tully Road SR-219 at the western end, to SR-108/SR-120 at the eastern end. The project area is generally bounded by SR-108/120 on the north, Kiernan Avenue/SR-219/Claribel Road on the south, Tully Road on the west, and Lancaster Road on the east. Within the limits of the project, the current location of SR-108 is a conventional two-lane, undivided highway with two 12-foot-wide lanes, flanked by 2- to 4-footwide non-standard shoulders.
  • Where, exactly, will the North County Corridor go?. The long and difficult task of choosing one preferred route for the future North County Corridor — among 18 or so potential plans floated over the years — is over. On Tuesday, the Modesto City Council became the last agency involved to support Oakdale’s preferred path, known as option 1B, joining Oakdale, Riverbank and Stanislaus County. Oakdale likes that route because it’s closer than others to Oakdale’s south end — good for business — while swinging futher out on its east end, which is deemed better for most neighbors.
  • North County Corridor (Stanislaus County Public Works). The North County Corridor Transportation Expressway Authority (NCC TEA) Board is made up of five members. Two Directors appointed by Stanislaus County and one Director appointed by each of the following cities: Modesto, Riverbank, and Oakdale.
  • NCC TEA Item 3a: Select and Recommend a Locally Preferred Alignment Alternative for the North County Corridor Project. STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: Select and Recommend a Locally Preferred Alignment Alternative for the North County Corridor Project (Tully Road to State Route 120) for Caltrans Consideration
  • KENTUCKY HIGHWAY PAGE (not California, but for the regional links). By not being Delaware, Kentucky is one of the most challenging places in America to do a highway route log. Kentucky leads the U.S. in number of primary highways. While 4-digit primary highway numbers are rare in the rest of America, the Bluegrass State has routes in the 3000s – and this doesn’t count the “secret” numbers in the 6000s for frontage roads and the like. Contrast Kentucky with Indiana, which has roughly the same land area and many more people. In Indiana you’d have a tough time finding many state routes even in the 600s.
  • New Balfour Road interchange should ease traffic congestion. East County drivers should see less traffic congestion and fewer accidents where Highway 4 meets Balfour Road with this week’s official opening of a new interchange where a four-way, signalized intersection used to be. State, regional and local officials gathered Monday near the site to celebrate the $42 million project, which is expected to ease traffic flow in the busy south Brentwood stretch of Highway 4.
  • Caltrans Has $7.5 Million To Save PCH From Waves Near Mugu. As if the fires and mudslides are not enough … Caltrans officials are worried about the eroding highway falling into the ocean between Malibu and Ventura County. Last October … waves eroded away the beach across the street from the giant landmark sand dune … at Thornehill Broome State Beach.  Waves have chewed into the sand bench that has held the highway since 1926.
  • Lake County project among latest approved round of state highway and transportation projects.  Caltrans announced that the California Transportation Commission allocated more than $600 million in funding for hundreds of transportation projects, which includes $80 million from SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The projects include a $1,986,000 safety project on Highway 20 in Lake County. That project, to be located near Upper Lake between Irvine Avenue and Mid Lake Road, proposes to improve curves and widen shoulders on Highway 20.
  • It’s official: Transit projects awarded $195 in BUILD grants. Public transportation projects in 12 states and the District of Columbia accounted for 13 percent of the $1.5 billion in Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants awarded in Fiscal Year 2018. The funding for the grant program, previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), was made available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. The maximum grant award was $25 million with no more than $150 million awarded to a single state, as specified in the FY 2018 Appropriations Act. At least 30 percent of funds must be awarded to projects located in rural areas.
  • Treasure Island residents protest cost of proposed toll – by – December 11, 2018. A vote to charge vehicles a toll for entering and exiting Treasure Island was put on hold Tuesday after island residents protested, saying it would hurt them financially. Residents who spoke at a hearing Tuesday said that for a community with only limited services – just a single grocery store, no pharmacy, no gas station and no public schools – adding additional barriers to entering and leaving the island would impose an unfair burden.
  • Caltrans seeks input on plan to replace University Avenue I-80 overcrossing. The University Avenue overpass over Interstate 80 is not a standard height and Caltrans has plans to either elevate it or replace it. The state agency has come up with a number of options and is looking for reactions to the various plans. Caltrans held an open house in Berkeley in late November. But the agency has also created a public meeting website with videos, renderings, and documents that do a good job explaining the options.
  • Unique public-private partnership and ‘perfect timing’. Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Luntey was in his first year as the new head honcho at the California Highway Patrol’s Dunsmuir Grade truck inspection facility when the phone rang. It was the contractor charged with completing a highway rehabilitation project on Interstate 5 that would periodically shut down half of one of the busiest roadways in America.
  • December 13: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1913:  Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge is dedicated.  More than 3,000 local residents turn out for the ceremonies.The structure was replaced by the Arroyo Seco Bridge in 1951 as part of the Colorado Freeway in Pasadena.
  • New 91 Freeway westbound lane OK’d from western Corona to 241 toll road. A regional transportation panel gave the green light Wednesday morning, Dec. 12, to add a new westbound 91 Freeway lane stretching from Green River Road in Corona to the 241 toll road in Orange County. Culminating many months of cries from commuters that delays on Green River and the 91 have become intolerable despite the March 2017 completion of a massive freeway makeover, the Riverside County Transportation Commission voted 27-0 to approve the new lane.
  • Highways in and around Old Sacramento; US 40, US 99W, CA 16, CA 24, CA 70, CA 99, CA 275, and more. This past weekend I was visiting the City of Sacramento for a wedding.  That being the case I decided to head out on a morning run through Old Sacramento, Jibboom Street Bridge, I Street Bridge, Tower Bridge, and path of US Route 40/US Route 99W towards the California State Capitol.  My goal was to retrace the paths of the various highways that once traversed the Old Sacramento area.
  • MacArthur Freeway – Most Beautiful Highway in the U.S.A.. I did not know about this award. I just walked past it on Grand near the theater. I wonder what the criteria used for “most beautiful” was in 1966?
  • Map Collection | Los Angeles Public Library. The map collection is over one hundred years old, contains more than 225,000 physical items and represents a wide scope, including local, national and international cartography. Selections in this online collection focus on maps depicting Los Angeles and the West. Look for more maps to be digitized and added soon.
  • 101 Ped/Bike Bridge Milestone Celebration. The path to the Highway 101 Pedestrian/Bike Bridge Project at Adobe Creek in Palo Alto will reach a major milestone on Monday, Dec. 17 as key agencies committed to the project’s success come together for a ceremonial signing event at 10:30 a.m. The signing ceremony will take place at the Adobe Creek Trail entrance that is closest to the parking lot at 3801 East Bayshore Road.
  • Caltrans Tenants Along Former 710 Extension Route to Protest Sunday Over Property Sales. Residents of Caltrans-owned housing along the corridor of the recently doomed 710 Freeway tunnel project proposal planned a traditional holiday Posada procession Sunday to protest what they call unfair practices as the state agency begins the process of selling the homes back to the residents who occupy them. The Posada, in which a group traditionally escorts a couple portraying Mary and Joseph as they are rejected at many homes before being finally taken in, was set to begin at 4 p.m. at Sheffield Avenue at Allen Street in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles before heading to the El Sereno Community Garden by 5:30 p.m., according to the United Caltrans Tenants, who were organizing the event.
  • Caltrans Releases Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments For Portions of Northern California and the Central Valley. Caltrans has released two Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments as part of an effort to understand how and where climate change may impact the State Highway System. The new reports for Northern California and the Central Valley continue the department’s efforts to assess all regions of the state. The assessments evaluate risks, including extreme temperatures, increased precipitation, storm surge, wildfire risk and sea level rise.
  • Automobile Club of Southern California collection, 1892-1963. The Automobile Club of Southern California Collection provides documentation on the region’s transportation history, especially Los Angeles from 1892 to 1963, from the Auto Club’s Corporate Archives. The Collection includes: a selection of 98 historic strip maps, illustrating the development of major Southern California routes; 498 photographs from the general photograph collection, depicting buildings, businesses, streets, and points of interest; and 650 photographs from engineering notebooks along with searchable transcriptions of the engineers’ notes documenting the conditions of streets, highways, bridges, railroads, etc.
  • Rolling off the lot with a car? You’ll need a temporary California plate. California is fixing a gap in its license plate law that enabled drivers to cross bridges and coast along express lanes for free, costing the Bay Area nearly $13 million a year. Starting Jan. 1, the free rides are over. Every new or used car will have a state plate with a unique string of numbers before it rolls off the dealership lot. Proponents say the change will save money and help solve crimes. Many cheats who breeze through tollbooths sport the cardboard dealer logos that serve as a placeholder on new cars, rendering them anonymous. Some get in crashes and flee the scene.
  • Impasse for [US 101] Managed Lanes. Local policymakers are divided as to who should own and operate tolled express lanes proposed for Highway 101, and the choice is often described as that between local and regional control. The two remaining options on the table are to have San Mateo County own the express lanes and have the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority operate them, or to hand over ownership and operation duties to the Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority, a joint powers authority between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority. BAIFA manages other express lanes, including Interstate 680 in Contra Costa County.
  • Caltrans Reports Highlights Climate Change Effects On Highway System. The California Department of Transportation has released new reports on the negative effects of climate change on the state’s highway system and infrastructure. The reports by Caltrans, known as Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments,highlighted areas in Northern California and the Central Valley heavily impacted by extreme temperatures and frequent wildfires in recent years. The reports say extreme weather events association with climate change are already disrupting and damaging the state’s roadway infrastructure and has potential for more severe impacts in the future.
  • Caltrans completes $4.7 million project in Merced County. Caltrans has completed a $4.7 million project along stretches of Interstate 5 and State Route 152, according to a news release. The California Department of Transportation said it has upgraded and rehabilitated a total of 18 bridges along stretches of those roads in Merced County. Funding for the project came from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
  • Caltrans to Reopen I-5 Lane in Castaic for Holiday Traffic. The California Department of Transportation has accelerated pavement rehabilitation on the northbound No. 3 lane on Interstate 5 in Castaic to provide all four lanes through the construction zone to accommodate holiday traffic. “While reopening the lane will improve traffic flow through Castaic and Santa Clarita, Caltrans recommends that motorists consider adjusting travel times or taking alternate routes — such as U.S. 101 and State Route 14,” said Caltrans District 7 Director John Bulinski.
  • Granite Selected for Two California Construction Manager/General Contractor Projects Worth More Than $520 Million. Granite Construction Incorporated (NYSE: GVA) announced today that it has been selected by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) for the estimated $410 million Highway 101 Carpinteria to Santa Barbara Project, and for the estimated $113 million Cosumnes Bridge Replacement CM/GC Project in Sacramento County.
  • Lengthy Process to Redirect 710 Tunnel Funds to Cities Moving Ahead. The recent demise of the 710 Freeway expansion project has freed up hundreds of millions of dollars for local transportation improvement projects, including some major ones in and around Pasadena. But officials say there are still many months worth of paperwork ahead before shovels start to swing. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted earlier this month to reallocate about $550 million previously dedicated to the defunct 710 Freeway tunnel project to dozens of “Mobility Improvement Projects” in the cities surrounding the former project area, from Alhambra to Pasadena.
  • A Portion of State Route 23 Opens to Residents Only From lower Mulholland Drive to Decker School Road. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces that a portion of State Route-23 is now open to residents only between Decker School Rd. and lower Mulholland Dr. above the city of Malibu. Flagging operations permitting one direction of travel at a time will be in effect within these parameters while work continues.
  • California State Route 99/Old US Route 99 Freeway Part 2; US Route 50/California State Route 51 south to California State Route 145. Earlier this month I drove back from home from Sacramento on the California State Route 99/Old US 99 freeway. This blog serves as the Second of Two posts in the California State Route 99/Old US 99 Freeway series.  This entry covers the route of CA 99 southbound from US 50/CA 51 in Sacramento to CA 145 in Madera.
  • OCTA Plans for $43B Investment in Transportation. The Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved a $43.4 billion plan that will serve as a blueprint for how people move throughout the county for the next two decades and beyond. OCTA, the county’s transportation planning agency, develops a Long-Range Transportation Plan every four years, taking into consideration changing demographics and anticipated growth in travel demand.
  • Golden Gate Bridge toll may climb near $10 by 2023. The cost to cross the Golden Gate Bridge could rise to nearly $10 in the next five years, a more than 20 percent increase that officials say is vital to keep buses and ferries running, paint suspension cables and otherwise maintain the aging Art Deco span. Board directors at the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District are contemplating five proposals to increase tolls over the next five years, in hopes of filling a $75 million budget deficit. Bridge tolls pay for three-quarters of the district’s operating costs; and with the price of goods and services rising by about 4 percent each year, they say, revenue hasn’t kept up.
  • December 20: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1951:  The Hollywood Freeway opens through the Civic Center.
  • Beverly Hills Freeway. Right of Way maps obtained from Caltrans still show some of the route the SR-2 Freeway. These maps cover the route from its current end at Glendale Blvd in Silverlake to just west of La Cienega Blvd in West Hollywood. Had this freeway been constructed, it would have obliterated the central business district of West Hollywood and the Santa Monica Blvd corridor west of there. Documents from Caltrans and the California Highway Commission dating to 1976 show the adopted routing, described below, being rescinded. Various reasons were given for this decision, all very much applicable today.
  • Caifornia State Route 140 and the El Portal Road. Back in January of 2017 I was looking to make a day trip out to Yosemite for the winter but 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 California State Route 140 through the Merced River Canyon to Yosemite Valley via the El Portal Road.
  • Signage Up for Section of 134 Highway Renamed After President Barack Obama. Signs renaming a stretch of the 134 Freeway after President Barack Obama were installed Thursday, authorities said. The “President Barack H. Obama Highway” runs through parts of Glendale, Pasadena and Eagle Rock, between the 2 Freeway and the 210 Freeway.
  • Signs renaming section of 134 Freeway after President Obama go up near Pasadena, Glendale. Caltrans crews have installed signs renaming a stretch of the 134 Freeway after President Obama. The renaming was a result of a resolution authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles). The measure called for the section of the 134 Freeway between the 2 and 210 freeways to be renamed after the 44th president.
  • Millions in California North Coast road, rail projects move ahead in 2018. North Bay commuters are set to get more relief from roadway snarls in the next few years, as voters in 2018 approved more money for road and rail projects and left in place a statewide fuel tax designed to fund such endeavors. The California Transportation Commission in May approved nearly $85 million to widen Highway 101 in southern Sonoma County from the Petaluma River to Corona Road. Set for completion in 2023, that would help Petaluma’s long-planned Rainer crosstown connector.
  • California Ferry Routes; CA 84 over the Real McCoy II Ferry and CA 220 over the J-Mack Ferry. This past weekend I had was up in the Sacramento River Delta and drove both State Highway Ferry Routes; California State Route 84 via the Real McCoy Ferry and CA 220 via the J-Mack Ferry.
  • State Route 23 reopens in Santa Monica Mountains, weeks after Woolsey fire forced its closure.  State Route 23 — connecting Pacific Coast Highway and the 101 Freeway — was reopened Saturday, weeks after it was forced to shut down as the massive Woolsey fire swept through the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Repair work is continuing on some portions of the heavily used route and motorists can still expect delays, Caltrans officials said. It was not clear how much longer the work will go on.
  • Caltrans Can’t Say What’s Eating Away at the Bay Bridge. Despite a $1 million dollar study, Caltrans cannot say whether or not microscopic organisms are gouging the pits found on some of the 13 giant steel piles whose performance is critical to assure that the new Bay Bridge fulfills its 150 year design lifespan – prompting another testing program to look for firm evidence of the phenomenon known as microbiologically influenced corrosion.
  • CalTrans to install red reflectors to turn wrong-way drivers around. What’s black and white and — if you’re traveling the wrong direction — red all over? California’s future roadways. CalTrans will be implementing new reflectors on many of California’s major highways, and Sacramento has already installed some on major on-off highway ramps. Drivers traveling the wrong way along these stretches will see red — hundreds of red reflectors placed on the backside of the raised yellow reflectors.
  • With 710 Freeway extension dead, money to be distributed on other projects. The idea of a 710 Freeway extension connecting with the 210 Freeway is dead, after 60 years of debate. Now the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking for ways to spend the $780 million set aside for the extension. The bulk of the money will go to 34 other projects.  Here are some of those approved projects:
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles on Signed County Route J7. This past month I was looking for an alternate route from Stockton to Merced than the usual California State Route 99 Freeway and decided to drive the entirety of Signed County Route J7.  I didn’t intend to finish this blog on Christmas Day so the somewhat festively themed title is even more fitting (granted Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a Thanksgiving movie).
  • Lawrence Expressway fixes coming eventually: Roadshow. Q: When they were working on the exit ramp for Lawrence Expressway and Stevens Creek from northbound Interstate 280, I assumed they would also add a short flyover from the exit directly to Lawrence to reduce traffic through the signal at Stevens Creek. Shouldn’t this have been an easy thing to direct northbound Lawrence traffic to a small flyover?
  • Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future. TRB Special Report 329: Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future explores pending and future federal investment and policy decisions concerning the federal Interstate Highway System. Congress asked the committee to make recommendations on the “features, standards, capacity needs, application of technologies, and intergovernmental roles to upgrade the Interstate System” and to advise on any changes in law and resources required to further the recommended actions. The report of the study committee suggests a path forward to meet the growing and shifting demands of the 21st century.
  • December 27: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1924:  “Mulholland High-Way” is dedicated with much fanfare, including an “air circus, rodeo, parade and dance” along with a program at the Hollywood Bowl. 1950:  The first unit of the Hollywood Freeway, a 2.5-mile stretch between Grand Avenue and Silver Lake Boulevard, opens to traffic following dedication ceremonies.
  • Legacy of US Route 466 Part 3; Morro Bay to Shandon (California State Route 229 and 41). Part 3 of the US Route 466 series consists of the roadways that made up the highway between Morro Bay and Shandon in San Luis Obispo County; Legislative Route Number 33, LRN 125, LRN 137, California State Route 229 and California State Route 41.
  • State Route 23 Opens to Public Between SR-1 and US-101 with Lane Restrictions.  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces State Route 23 is now open to the public between State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) and US-101.Flagging operations permitting one direction of travel at a time will be in effect within these parameters while work continues. SR-23 has been closed to the general public since early November due to the Woolsey Fire. The long-term closure was required to permit repairs by Caltrans contractors and utility companies, to provide a safe work area for workers, and to clear debris and drains to restore the roadway to a safe condition for the public. On December 11, the section from Decker School Rd. to lower Mulholland Dr.was opened to residents only.
  • INTERSTATE 40 SAFETY PROJECT NEAR LUDLOW TO BEGIN JANUARY 7, 2019. The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) will begin a safety project on Interstate 40 (I-40) to improve the slope of the median near the city of Ludlow, between Crucero Road and Badger Wash. Construction will being on January 7, 2019. Work will be done on both east and west bound I-40, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. This $33.9-million safety project is expected to last for approximately one year.
  • Blowin’ in the Wind: Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Art in the Public Realm. Art in the public realm challenges our understanding of engagement, interaction and memory, testing our belief that the world around us is a wonderland of curiosity, discovery, and indefinite knowledge. Public artwork often endures acclaim and controversy in the communal and ecological fields of a mired social landscape. After first meeting in 1958, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have pioneered a legacy of environmental art which has both encountered debate and expanded the role of art in public/private interactions to redefine our awareness and recognition of work in the social sphere.
  • Caltrans opens new Agricultural Inspection Station on I-15, dismantling old station in Yermo. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has completed work on Phase II at the Joint Port of Entry (JPOE) on southbound Interstate 15 just south of the California/Nevada state line and now is in the process of dismantling the old Agricultural Inspection Station on southbound I-15 in Yermo. The $43 million project constructed a new Agriculture Inspection Station facility just south of Primm, Nevada, that serves only passenger cars and trucks. Big rigs use a separate facility that requires them to exit I-15 before the new Agricultural Inspection Station. The project was completed by Granite Construction Company.
  • Agriculture Checkpoint Moved to Ease Traffic Delays. Your drive home from Las Vegas might go a bit smoother now. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has moved one of its inspection stations along the 15 freeway in an effort to alleviate traffic backups. The station has moved from just east of Barstow to about 7 miles south of Primm Nevada. The move is part of a statewide plan to streamline the inspection stations and locate them near California Highway Patrol facilities. This is the 2nd Border Protection station to be updated. The other is on interstate 80, north of Lake Tahoe in Truckee.
  • LA-bound motorists may soon encounter new inspection station. Drivers speeding into California along southbound Interstate 15 usually come to an abrupt, but necessary, stop about 100 miles past the Nevada border. And just like that, a state worker usually waves them past a giant, yellow “California Inspection” sign designating the Yermo Border Protection Station. Big rigs, RVs, livestock haulers and other large vehicles are occasionally pulled aside so that inspectors can determine whether fruit flies, gypsy moths or other potentially dangerous insects are hitching a ride on a vegetable or piece of fruit.
  • Border Station is more than checkpoint. For nearly 90 years, commuters from San Diego to Orange County have had to pass through the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Clemente Border Station checkpoint on busy I-5, just south of San Clemente. The station’s original purpose was to curb illegal immigration in one of the country’s most problematic border sectors. It isn’t just a checkpoint anymore; the station is evolving to address newer threats. The station has been in operation since 1924 when border inspectors – as they were called at the time – set up a small checkpoint on the new highway to provide a more in-depth border security strategy.
  • Caltrans completes improvements on Highway 41. Caltrans has completed the resurfacing of nearly nine lane miles of Highway 41 due to the funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. “Highway 41 is heavily used as a major east-west route for commuters and tourists in northern San Luis Obispo County who frequent the beaches, campgrounds and tourist attractions along the Central Coast. This resurfacing project will ensure a smooth ride and safe commute for everyone,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. An average of 11,000 vehicles per day use this section of the corridor to reach their destination and approximately 1,600 truckers use this segment of State Route 41 daily.
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