🛣️ Headlines About California Highways – February 2019

Another month has passed; we’re now one-sixth into the year. Out in California, it has been a month of snow — not only in the Sierras or the ski areas, but even in the low-lands. The snow level dropped as low as 1000′, and there was snow in Malibu, Calabasas, Granada Hills, Porter Ranch, Pasadena, and even in Orange County. Needless to say, combined with one of the rainiest months of February in a while, the roads have taken a beating. Here are your headlines for February:

  • I-5 to go to six lanes Anderson to Redding.Caltrans District 2 announced Thursday the construction of the Redding to Anderson Six Lane Project on Interstate 5 in Shasta County.The project will add an additional northbound lane and southbound lane on I-5 for 7.5 miles from the Route 273 and I-5 separation just south of the outlet mall in Anderson to just south of the Bonnyview and Churn Creek Road interchange near Redding, making it a continuous six-lane facility, according to a press release issued Thursday by Caltrans.
  • Romero and Toro Canyon Bridges Now Open Following Debris Flow. Caltrans has re-opened the Romero Canyon Creek Bridge (PM 10.92) and the Toro Canyon Creek Bridge (PM 12.49) on State Route 192 as of today, Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 3 pm.  These bridges were rebuilt following damage caused by the debris flows and flooding in January 2018.  Motorists will encounter protective barrier on these bridges until the bridge rails have been installed.  Motorists should drive safely in these areas.Caltrans is working with the contractor, Security Paving of Sylmar on this $20 million project to restore full access to all five bridges within this corridor and is striving to complete most of these projects in early 2019, weather permitting.
  • February 1: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1936:  A new 400-foot tunnel under Colorado and Ocean Avenues in Santa Monica is dedicated and opened.
  • Part of Highway 154 washed away in storm; roadway closed indefinitely. A portion of Highway 154 near Cachuma Lake was destroyed during the weekend storm, closing off the roadway from Santa Barbara to the junction with Highway 246 for the foreseeable future. Highway 154 east of Cachuma Lake will be closed indefinitely because of damage created by this weekend’s storm. Water and debris from the Whittier fire have created another lake, and officials worry about stability of the roadway.

  • Storm-Related Road Repairs, Debris Removal Continue in Southern Santa Barbara County. Work continued on road repairs and clearing debris basins on Monday after a series of storms dropped heavy rainfall on Santa Barbara County.Highway 154 remained closed between Highway 192 in Santa Barbara and the Highway 246 roundabout due to water and debris on the roadway near Lake Cachuma.
  • Don’t expect the vines on the 22 Freeway’s walls to get trimmed any time soon. Q. I’m writing to you about some of the walls along the 22 Freeway, especially west of Knott Street – they are letting vines grow and almost completely cover the sections of the wall with the oranges design on them. Is there any plan to take care of this?
  • Highway 49 Gap Closure Project. The Highway 49 Gap Closure Project will close the gaps between sidewalks in the approximately 4.4-mile Highway 49 corridor between Interstate 80 and Dry Creek Road, creating a continuous sidewalk on at least one side of the highway.This project is just one of several on-going efforts to improve Highway 49 by constructing sidewalks, bike lanes, and operational improvements.
  • SF’s ‘foolish freeway’: The battle to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway. Sixty years ago this week, officials opened the Embarcadero Freeway. While never beloved — The Chronicle’s editorial board called for the “foolish freeway” to be demolished only six months in — it would take a 6.9-magnitude earthquake, and a concerted civic effort, to finally seal its fate.
  • $1.5-Billion Gerold Desmond Bridge Replacement Rises at Port of Long Beach.High above the Port of Long Beach, two tower cranes are busy assembling the new Gerold Desmond Bridge. The existing bridge, built in the 1960s, was not designed to accommodate the larger cargo ships seen today.  The $1.5-billion replacement, set for completion in 2019, will accommodate larger ships by providing 205 feet of clearance above the water, as well as three travel lanes in each direction and a bicycle and pedestrian path with multiple scenic overlooks.
  • Caltrans Announces $54.8 Million in Transportation Improvements throughout California. Caltrans announced Wednesday the California Transportation Commission allocated $54.8 million for 46 projects throughout California including $31.1 million for fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding will allow Caltrans to repair or replace 16 bridges, 168 lane miles and 150 drainage systems statewide. In addition, 248 congestion reducing elements will be installed, including highway message signs, cameras and loop detectors to improve traffic flow. [Ventura and Los Angeles] Area projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • Apple Valley’s HWY 18/Apple Valley Road intersection project proves ‘complex’. Town Council action has restarted a decade-old road construction project at the intersection of Highway 18 and Apple Valley Road. Council members approved a contract amendment on Jan. 22 for pre-construction work related to an overhaul of the intersection. The $491,366 amendment represents a not-to-exceed amount paid to Dokken Engineering for environmental and design services.
  • Caltrans postpones Moraga permanent bridge project.  A backlog of work at Caltrans has postponed until 2020 the start of construction of a permanent, two-lane Canyon Road Bridge, according to Moraga officials. Meanwhile, a temporary, one-way span, which opened in November 2017, will continue to link the communities of Moraga and Canyon. The temporary structure was built after heavy rains closed the road over Moraga Creek in April 2017. The rains caused the land underneath the 80-year-old, two-lane bridge to become unstable, which affected the bridge supports, making it unsafe.
  • State, area highways to get improvements funded by gas tax increase. A recent increase in gas taxes and vehicle fees will fund a new package of improvements for highways across California including some in San Mateo and Monterey counties, Caltrans announced this week. The state’s department of transportation announced that $54.8 million in funds approved by the California Transportation Commission will be used for 46 highway projects in California.
  • Caltrans Says SB 1 Funding will Pay for Pavement Preservation Project on Highway 49 North in Mariposa County. Caltrans announced on Wednesday the California Transportation Commission allocated $54.8 million for 46 projects throughout California including $31.1 million for  fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding will allow Caltrans to repair or replace 16 bridges, 168 lane miles and 150 drainage systems statewide. In addition, 248 congestion reducing elements will be installed, including highway message signs, cameras and loop detectors to improve traffic flow. [Mariposa County] Area projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • Major San Francisco Bay bridge closed after pieces of concrete fall onto roadway. The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge over San Francisco Bay was shut down in both directions Thursday after football-sized chunks of concrete fell from the upper deck of the bridge onto the lower deck, authorities said.  A driver called 911 around 10:30 a.m. to report that pieces of concrete had struck a car, California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Barclay said. The driver said the vehicle was damaged, but the traveler was on the way to the airport and kept on driving, Barclay said.
  • $54.8 Million in Transportation Improvements announced. Caltrans announced Tuesday that the California Transportation Commission allocated $54.8 million for 46 projects throughout California including $31.1 million for fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding will allow Caltrans to repair or replace 16 bridges, 168 lane miles and 150 drainage systems statewide. In addition, 248 congestion reducing elements will be installed, including highway message signs, cameras and loop detectors to improve traffic flow. [Lake County] area projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • Rockslide, debris shut down Highway 39 above Azusa. A rockslide along with dirt and debris have shut down Highway 39 in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa Tuesday, according to Caltrans. The slide was reported just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at East Fork Road. A photo shared by Caltrans shows dirt, rocks and debris across both sides of the road blocking the roadway to traffic. Although authorities did not say whether the slide was rain related, Caltrans did post several storm-related road closures on social media, including Highway 23 from Pacific Coast Highway to upper Mulholland Highway near Agoura Hills due to a rock and mudslide first reported Monday. Other closures were in Ventura County and near Ojai.
  • Pavement rehab funds approved for SR-1 project. Caltrans on Wednesday announced the approval of $54.8 million in road repair funds for 46 projects throughout the state, including $31.1 million funded by the Senate Bill 1, which passed in 2017 and increased the gas tax and vehicle fees.  Included in the funding package is $1.08 million allocated for a $15.3 million pavement preservation project that aims to improve 21.2 lane miles of State Route 1 from the San Mateo/Santa Cruz County line to south of Bean Hollow Road in Pescadero, according to Caltrans. The project’s start of construction was listed in a Caltrans document last fall as April 2020, with the expectation it would take about a year to complete.
  • I-5 Central County Improvements Project: Construction Coming Soon. OCTA and Caltrans are kicking off construction of the I-5 Central County Improvement Project, which will add a second carpool lane in each direction on I-5 between SR-55 and SR-57. Traffic on that stretch of I-5 is expected to climb to more than 400,000 vehicles a day by 2035, a seven percent increase from today’s traffic volume. This two-year project will reduce existing and future traffic congestion and travel time, as well as improve overall traffic operations.
  • 91 Highway Corridor Project Update – Dec 2018.  RCTC is applying for a $75 million federal grant to help improve travel along the 91 through three separate projects. Commissioners are traveling to Washington, D.C. this week to seek congressional support for the grant application, which is due March 4. The “91 Workforce to Workplace Vitality Network” application seeks funds from the federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • McGuire, Wood, Huffman and Caltrans request $40 million for Last Chance Grade.  For decades, the residents of Del Norte and Humboldt Counties have been in search of a permanent fix for Highway 101’s Last Chance Grade as it continues to slide into the Pacific. The Last Chance Grade is the lifeblood of Del Norte County’s economy and a catastrophic failure would have a $1-1.5 billion negative impact on the regional economy.
  • Caltrans to request $40M for Last Chance Grade EIR. A partnership including Congressman Jared Huffman, North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood announced on Thursday that Caltrans will request the final $40 million needed to complete the Last Chance Grade environmental impact report, according to a state Legislature news release. Caltrans plans for the request to be on the California Transportation Commission’s March agenda. The $40 million would cover the costs for all of the necessary environmental work.
  • Map: Foster City bars left turns to deter commute detours.  Foster City is prohibiting left turns during the evening rush hour at two key intersections during a pilot program beginning Monday, Feb. 11. The three-month trial approved in December by the city council bars left turns and U-turns from eastbound Hillsdale Boulevard at Edgewater Boulevard or Shell Boulevard, from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays.
  • August inspection failed to identify cracked concrete on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  An inspection last August failed to identify any obvious problem with cracking in the concrete near a 1950’s-era steel joint on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, officials said Friday. Chunks of concrete falling from the bridge Thursday caused some drivers to panic, as pieces as large as footballs fell from the bottom of the upper deck onto the lower deck below, leaving behind a six-foot-long by seven-inch triangular cavity.
  • Major fixes for addressing traffic, sea level rise on Highway 37 identified. Imagine driving along a four-lane elevated causeway above the brackish San Pablo Bay, shaving more than an hour off the normal Highway 37 commute. Transportation planners have for years envisioned remaking the 20-mile route from Novato to Vallejo into the North Bay’s most important east-west corridor. Now, they are ready to act. Officials in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties have been meeting for several years, pondering solutions to Highway 37’s notorious bottlenecks, where 45,000 cars per day stretch the normal 20-minute commute to as much as 100 minutes. They have also acknowledged that traffic improvements will be irrelevant without addressing sea level rise — without action, the highway will be underwater in 30 years.
  • SCVNews.com | Feb. 13: Hearing on Caltrans I-5 Freight Corridor Project.  The California Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing Wednesday, Feb. 13, to provide information and receive public comments about a proposed Caltrans Freight Corridor Improvement Project on Interstate 5 in Los Angeles County.  The proposed project involves improvements at bridges on I-5 from State Route 134 (Ventura Freeway) in Glendale to Templin Highway north of the Santa Clarita Valley in northern LA County.
  • Imagine Mission Street without Highway 1 | Mark Primack (h/t Anneliese Ågren).  If you live here, you may have noticed that you don’t have much of a voice in the matters that affect you the most, the ones that hit you where you live.  Once, apropos of practically nothing, a veteran city councilmember (and university instructor) took time from a busy council agenda to share a cautionary tale. Apparently, early UCSC planners wanted to re-route Highway 1 up through Pogonip, across the future campus and down through Wilder Ranch to meet up with the coast road west of town. He was incredulous at such dimwitted hubris. “Can you imagine that?” he asked us, and repeated himself for good measure. “Can you imagine?” Since that’s what I do for a living, I gave it a try.
  • CTC Allocations for February 2019 (CT News Release). – Caltrans announced today the California Transportation Commission allocated $54.8 million for 46 projects throughout California including $31.1 million for fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding will allow Caltrans to repair or replace 16 bridges, 168 lane miles and 150 drainage systems statewide. In addition, 248 congestion reducing elements will be installed, including highway message signs, cameras and loop detectors to improve traffic flow. [San Bernardino County] Area project allocated SB 1 funds: …
  • Rainy weather delays permanent repairs to Richmond-San Rafael Bridge until next week.  Permanent repairs to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge after falling concrete closed the key North Bay commuter artery for hours Thursday were postponed until next week due to rain in the weather forecast.  Caltrans engineers made emergency fixes to an expandable joint on the bridge’s upper westbound deck to reopen all lanes Thursday evening. They decided overnight Saturday to swap out a temporary metal plate acting as a patch with a larger one to make for a smoother ride over the tolled east-west connector.
  • Caltrans aims to fix State Route 25 again, with a $9.5 million price tag.  Caltrans is gearing up to repair a rerouted portion of State Route 25 that collapsed in 2016. The agency expects the new work to be completed by the end of 2022.  The State Route 25 Curve Restoration Project has an estimated cost of $9.5 million and is funded through the State Highway Operations and Protection Program.
  • Managed Lanes deal almost finalized. After months of discussion, a split vote, meetings and more meetings, the owner and operator arrangement for the Managed Lanes project is all but set in stone. Ownership of the tolled express lane facility coming to Highway 101 in San Mateo County will likely belong to both the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and City/County Association of Governments, and those agencies will likely contract with the Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority to operate the facility.
  • Demolition of the Belle Terrace Overcrossing at State Route 99. Image of press release.
  • Monterey Road History. Monterey Road began as a stage coach route in the 1850s, which connected San Jose to Monterey. The towns of Morgan Hill and Gilroy grew up as stage stops along the route. The road includes portions of the historic El Camino Real (Royal Road) which was a 600 mile road that once connected California’s twenty-one Spanish missions.
  • Repairs to begin on roadways to Idyllwild after heavy rains; 2 deaths tied to storm.  Repairs are expected to begin Saturday, Feb. 16, on mountain highways in the Inland Empire so damaged by runoff from the deadly Valentine’s Day storm many were shut down.  That means sledders and snow enthusiasts will not be able to drive up to the San Jacinto Mountains to play in the white stuff this weekend, and perhaps for several weeks, the California Highway Patrol said.
  • New California bill could eliminate speed limit on I-5, Highway 99.  Congested roadways on Interstate 5 and State Route 99 could be a thing of the past if a California state senator gets his way.  State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Orange County) has filed a bill that would add two specialty lanes to either direction of the freeways, and the 65 miles per hour speed limit would not apply.
  • Repair work to begin Monday night on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Work to permanently repair an eroding portion of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was scheduled to begin Monday night and stretch for two weeks, but state officials say it won’t affect the morning or evening commutes and will only slightly disrupt traffic the rest of the time.  Crews will be on the bridge from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. each weekday, and, while they’re working, one lane will be coned off in each direction of the 5½-mile-long bridge, said Tony Tavares, Caltrans District Four director. No work will be done on Sundays.
  • Express lanes deal in San Mateo finalized. The owner/operator arrangement for the Managed Lanes project is now official after unanimous votes by both C/CAG and the TA.  Ownership of the tolled express lane facility coming to Highway 101 in San Mateo County belongs to both the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and City/County Association of Governments, and those agencies will contract with the Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority to operate the facility.
  • $32 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge? Settlement with Hertz puts an end to that. Those who drove a Hertz rental car across the Golden Gate Bridge and then discovered that the company charged them as much as $32 for the pleasure won’t face that kind of bill anymore after a $3.65-million settlement with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, announced Tuesday. The suit, filed in March 2017, stemmed from the use of PlatePass, a device included in some Hertz rental cars that allows tolls to be assessed electronically. Consumers often had sticker shock when they returned the car because using one toll road triggered a use fee for each day the car was rented, not just the days on which a toll road was driven. Service fees were often added.
  • The Latest: Damaged California roads face lengthy repairs.  Several highways in Southern California’s San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains face lengthy closures for repair of extensive damage from last week’s powerful storm.  Caltrans says that State Route 243 from Interstate 10 to Idyllwild will be closed for at least two months and a section of State Route 74 will be closed for at least one month. Those roads in the San Jacinto Mountains are being repaired under an $8 million emergency contract.
  • Caltrans to begin work on Highway 111 this weekend.  A day after one of the worst rainstorms in recent memory, which left many commuter arteries underwater, getting around town on Friday has been difficult.  Crews assessing damage have found roadways in need of major repairs. Highway 111 from Interstate 10 to Gateway Drive and Tramway Road leading up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway are just two examples of roads that may be closed indefinitely.
  • Caltrans: at least two weeks to repair Highway 18.  Caltrans has a long list of roads to repair after the Valentine’s Day storm of 2019. For the Big Bear area, that includes Highway 18 between Running Springs and the Bear Valley Dam.  State Route 18 remains closed from Green Valley Lake Road to the Bear Valley Dam for at least two weeks because of road loss and storm damage. Riverside Construction is the emergency contractor for the $2.5 million project. Repairs began over the holiday weekend.
  • Storms cause millions of dollars in damage to California highways. Recent debris flows and flooding in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains have caused extensive damage to Southern California roadways, requiring some highways to be closed for months as crews work on repairs that will cost at least $14 million. Last week’s series of storms, including a moisture-packed atmospheric river that slammed the state, has brought consistent rainfall to California, dumping 18 trillion gallons of rain — nearly half the volume of Lake Tahoe.
  • A CA Bill Would Double the Size of Highways 5 and 99, and Remove Speed Limits. Senator John Moorlach, a Republican representing Orange County, has introduced a bill that shows he is either painfully uninformed or extremely cynical.Moorlach wants to double the size of Highways 5 and 99 and remove speed limits. That will solve congestion, he says, and even–wait for it–reduce greenhouse gas emissions!
  • With 710 project moving ahead, more evidence highlights how freeway expansions worsen our situation. It’s not about expanding what we have but managing better what already exists: prioritizing existing mass transit options and congestion pricing. Urbanists and transit advocates, myself included, have been constantly singing this from any stage we can—over and over and over and over. And a new report from Bookings’ Hamilton Project confirms just that.
  • Route 26 closed until early March to Repair Storm Damage. Calaveras County State Route 26 to remain closed until early March to repair damage from the “Valentine’s Day Deluge” that swamped Calaveras County last week. Check FB for more photos and details…
  • Faster Route To I-5 For Fresnans.  The conventional wisdom is that never-ending cost overruns and never-ending management woes killed the original vision for California’s bullet train project.  But perhaps humanity’s never-ending quest for newer and better and more varied methods of transportation is equally responsible.  A recent action by the Fresno County Transportation Authority board suggests as much.
  • Cara Knott Memorial Bridge. THANK YOU #CalTransDistrict11, Gustavo Dallarda, Marcelo Peinado, Shahin Sepassi, and the entire CalTrans team for making this right and changing the signs to reflect Cara’s name. Joyce Knott, Cynthia Knott, Cheryl Knott, John Knott, Oreet Herbst, Sam Weick, Buddy Weick, and the entire extended Knott Family thanks you 🙏.
  • Falling concrete shows deficiencies in 63-year-old Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  Rainy weather delayed repairs to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge until Monday, more than a week after pieces of concrete fell from its upper deck and left drivers at the mercy of a traffic gridlock that lasted all evening.  The commuter chaos began when concrete debris struck a vehicle traveling on the lower eastbound deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on the morning of Feb. 7. Caltrans and CHP shut down both directions of traffic twice before opening all lanes later that evening after emergency repairs were made.
  • Construction Activity Continuing on 15 Express Lanes. RCTC is making steady progress on construction of the Interstate 15 Express Lanes, and work is now about one-third complete. The new lanes will span 15 miles – from State Route 60 to Cajalco Road – and remain on schedule to open in 2020. A specific opening date has not been determined at this time.
  • Opposition to closing 710 freeway stub at special Alhambra City Council Meeting. Mayor Jeff Maloney’s public forum on the I-710 Freeway stub and possibly turning the land into a regional park brought strong comments from the nearly 75 people in attendance, most of them firmly opposed to closing that unfinished artery over concerns that such a move would increase traffic on Alhambra streets and pose public safety issues.
  • The Most Interesting Road in the West | Via Magazine.  (Note: Try zip 94326 to see this). Imagine you’ve been asked to design a college course that explores the West’s principal automotive routes, the arteries that move the region’s commercial, social, and cultural lifeblood. What would you call it?  How about “Highway 101”?  Because no matter what you call the road that was originally El Camino Real—whether you know it as the Central Freeway, Oregon Coast Highway, Hollywood Freeway, Redwood Highway, or Olympic Highway—you could do a lot worse than make U.S. Route 101 the focus of your class. The 1,540-mile stretch of roadway races along the continent’s western edge, tying together Los Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca in a trajectory vibrant with romantic history, commercial vitality, scenic dazzle, and urban energy—a truly omnibus road. (In fact, in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can see omnibuses full of tech workers cruising up and down 101 every day.)
  • More Than 60 Joints Will Be Replaced Following Chunks of Concrete Falling From Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit has learned that more than 60 joints like the one that failed earlier this month on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will soon have to be replaced at a cost of more than $10 million.  The bridge was shut down for nine hours on Feb. 7 when the joint started to fail, sending chunks of concrete onto the lower deck.
  • California Highway Stickers. While looking for stickers for my new laptop, I came upon this site. They seem to have stickers for all the variations of the state highways, plus most interstates and some US highways in California.
  • New York Public Library offers public viewing of its 800,000 maps. Hoisting a giant book, several feet tall, onto a wooden table inside the New York Public Library, Ian Fowler begins flipping through yellowed and frayed pages.  Fowler, the maps curator and a geospatial librarian at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue, carefully traces block after block until he finds the one he is looking for. The maps are part of the New York Fire Insurance Map produced in 1915. The century-old document is only one of the 500,000 maps and atlases in the library’s maps division.
  • Big Changes Considered for 101 Through Eureka. Few people drive through Eureka for the fun of it. If you approach the town from the north during the morning commute, you’re often greeted by a long line of stalled traffic waiting to get through the intersection at V and Fourth streets. On a bad day, the back-up may begin out on the freeway. Once you get past V Street, the same situation repeats at R Street.
  • SR-2, Angeles Crest Highway, is Littered With Colorful Folklore. SR-2 (Angeles Crest Highway), a scenic roadway in the San Gabriel Mountains, has been hammered this winter with on-and-off closures because of heavy snow and rain, triggering numerous mud and rock slides in recent weeks. But pinpointing road closures on the curvy mountain pass is challenging because of the highway’s quirky history.  We receive in-house reports such as: “(Angeles National Forest) NB and SB Route 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy); from Red Box Rd to Upper Big Tujunga Rd and from Kratka/Snowcrest ski area to Rte 39. Both directions of Rte 2 are closed. …  Duration is unknown.”  Um, where is that?
  • Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will get 61 joints replaced following mishap.  Engineers at the state’s Department of Transportation said Friday they will replace 61 joints on the troubled Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, where crumbling concrete struck a vehicle and caused a nine-hour shutdown this month.  Contractors who had started repairs this week on the 63-year-old span will now stay on for months, swapping out 31 joints on the upper deck, including the expansion joint that recently failed. Funding for that $10 million maintenance project will come from Bay Area bridge tolls.
  • More work planned for Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Contractors currently working on repairs to Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, damaged by falling concrete this month, will remain for several months to make additional replacements to joints on the span’s upper deck, Caltrans announced Friday.  The added work means the opening of a bicycle/pedestrian path set for late spring will be delayed by at least two months, according to Caltrans.
  • Richmond-San Rafael Bridge repairs to delay bike lane opening.  Ongoing repairs to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, where concrete fell from the upper to lower decks earlier this month, will delay the opening of a planned bike and pedestrian lane until this summer.  The 5.5-mile bike and pedestrian lane on the westbound span was originally scheduled to open around May. But after a failed sliding plate joint on the bridge’s upper deck caused football-sized chunks of concrete to fall on a car Feb. 7, Caltrans now plans to replace the joint along with 31 others in the coming months.
  • Proposal for No-Speed-Limit Highway Widening Is Partisan Trolling. When I helped launch Streetsblog Los Angeles eleven years ago, I never imagined that transportation would become so partisan. Educating politicians is of course a core part of any movement, and the movement for safe streets is no exception. But over the last decade, how one views efforts to make our transportation network more clean, safe, and welcoming for all road users is increasingly seen through a highly partisan lens.
  • California budget proposal suggests linking transportation funding and housing.  In the Coachella Valley, state transportation funds will help pay for two more lanes along a portion of Highway 111 in Indio, resurface a stretch of Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert and reconstruct a section of Avenue 54 in Coachella.  The projects are thanks in part to the $2 billion destined for Riverside and San Bernardino counties through Senate Bill 1, the transportation package signed into law in 2017 that generates revenue through an increase in the state gas tax.
  • Highway 1 resurfacing near Lompoc nearing completion.  A resurfacing project on Highway 1 between Las Cruces and Lompoc will soon be coming to an end.  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is working to resurface over 42 lane miles of State Route 1 from the US 101 interchange near Las Cruces to the interchange with State Route 246 near Lompoc
  • Tab for Highway 37 flood repairs already at $1.8 million as next big storm arrives.  Emergency repair work to reopen State Highway 37 last week after floodwaters forced closure of the westbound lanes for six days has already cost roughly $1.8 million, creating fortifications that will soon be tested by another major storm drenching the North Bay.  The highway, which also saw one eastbound lane closed for stretches while crews cleared the deluge of water and repaired damage to the roadway and neighboring rail tracks, reopened fully last Wednesday for the morning commute.
  • SR-38 DRAINAGE AND SLOPE REPAIR PROJECT. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin an emergency drainage and slope repair project on State Route 38 (SR-38) from recent storm damage. Please be advised, weather conditions may affect this operation
  • Storm Causes Highway 18 Collapse.  Caltrans has signed a $2.5 million contract to repair the damage to California State Route 18 (SR-18) after heavy storms caused multiple parts of the highway to collapse under its own weight, but more damage to infrastructure may incur even higher costs after another oncoming storm.  The SR-18 closure begins five miles north of the [SR-38] junction in Snow Valley and ends the Big Bear Dam
  • UPDATE: Highway 101 closed again near Last Chance Grade, Caltrans reports Monday night.  Late Monday night, Caltrans announced more movement in the slide near Last Chance Grade on U.S. Highway 101, closing the highway in both directions around 7 p.m.  “Heads up! Highway 101 is closed at the same site as this morning, between Klamath and Crescent City,” North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire tweeted Monday evening. “A contractor is on site, but the upper hillside remains unstable and the weather isn’t cooperating. The highway will most likely be closed through the night.”
  • Councilmembers Donovan And Sandke Provide Differing Perspectives To Highway Relinquishment Issue. Perhaps the biggest long-term financial decision faced by the city of Coronado in many years is the question of Relinquishment. The broad brush details include Caltrans, the State of California’s Transportation Agency would pay the city $16.95 million to repair State Route 282 or Third and Fourth Streets west of Orange Avenue; State Route 75 from the Toll Plaza to Tulagi Road; and State Route 75 from Tulagi Road to the southern City Limit with Imperial Beach, to adequate levels. The city of Coronado would then take over all operations of highways. The deal would be in perpetuity, the highways could not be returned to State control and turning the highways over to Coronado would require legislative action at the state level.
  • Granite Construction (GVA) Announces $22M Contract from California Dept. of Transportation for Construction on Highway 1. Granite (NYSE: GVA) announced today that it has been awarded a $22 million contract by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for the Highway 1 from North Aptos Underpass to Junction Route 9 project in Santa Cruz, California. The contract will be included in Granite’s first quarter 2019 backlog.
  • San Jose Avenue Pedestrian Overcrossing. @CaltransD4: New San Jose Avenue Pedestrian Overcrossing spanning State Route 1 in Pacifica will open in late April 2019.
  • City, community celebrates completion of Newhall Ranch Road Bridge expansion.  The completion of a $16 million construction project to improve one of Santa Clarita’s busiest areas for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists was officially celebrated Wednesday.   “Today is a great day for those who regularly drive through this area because we are celebrating the completion of the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge Widening project,” Mayor Marsha McLean said during a ribbon-cutting for the occasion.   Newhall Ranch Road is considered one of the major sections of the cross-valley connector, which provides motorists a path from Interstate 5 to Highway 14 by way of surface streets. An estimated 35,000 vehicles pass through the bridge on a daily basis, said McLean.

Tom Fearer spent some time in the Bay Area this month, and updated a load of his blogs:

  • California State Route 82/Old US Route 101 on the El Camino Real from San Francisco to Interstate 380. After completing Interstate 380 I made my way northward into the City Limits of San Francisco to drive the northernmost portion of California State Route 82.
  • California State Route 1 Tom Lantos Tunnels/Old California State Route 1 Devil’s Slide. No weekend in the Bay Area is really complete in my opinion without a good hike.  That being the case after completing Interstate 380 and driving part of California State Route 82 on the historic alignment of US 101 I made my way south along the coast on CA 1 towards Half Moon Bay.  My destination was the Devil’s Slide Trailhead just south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels.
  • November Bay Area Trip Part 7; California State Route 1 from I-280 south to CA 17. After leaving San Francisco I had a choice of routes out of the Bay Area.  Given that CA 35 still had a closed portion along the one-lane segment south of CA 9 I decided on CA 1 along the coast instead.  I hadn’t been on this particular stretch of CA 1 since a family trip all the back in 1993 when I was living in Connecticut.
  • California State Route 92. After hiking Devil’s Slide I made my way south to Half Moon Bay on California State Route 1 to Half Moon Bay.  I made an eastern turn on California State Route 92 towards Hayward via the Santa Cruz Mountains and San Mateo Bridge over San Francisco Bay.
  • Interstate 238; the Interstate numbering abomination carved out of an otherwise mundane State Highway. How does one make an otherwise unremarkable stretch of State Highway the absolute bane of the road community?  Make a small portion of said State Highway into a Interstate Highway but one that retains it’s completely out of grid State Highway number.  One such route does exist; California State Route 238 and it’s better known segment Interstate 238.
  • California State Route 84 west from Interstate 880 over the Dumbarton Bridge. On a recent Bay Area trip I took California State 84 west from Interstate 880 over San Francisco Bay via the Dumbarton Bridge.
  • California State Route 262. In Fremont this is short 1 mile State Highway connecting I-880 east to I-680 known as California State Route 262.
  • California State Route 87. After crossing San Francisco Bay on California State Route 84 on the Dumbarton Bridge I made my way southeast on CA 114 and US 101 to San Jose where I turned south on CA 87.
  • Interstate 380. This past weekend I drove over twenty Californian highways with a good chunk of them being around the San Francisco Bay Area.   The first highway I attempted was Interstate 380 from San Francisco International Airport west to I-280.
  • California State Route 185 from Interstate 238 to CA 112. While on a recent Bay Area trip I drove a portion of California State Route 185 from Interstate 238 in Ashland to CA 112 in downtown San Leandro.
  • California State Route 112, 61 and 260 (a functional CA 61). On a recent trip to the Bay Area I drove/clinched numerous highways.  Some of them had oddities like not being signed, not completed as planned or even relinquished segments.  None was as strange as California State Routes 112, 61 and 260 which all essentially serve as a signed version of CA 61.
  • California State Route 77; the real “Shortest Signed” State Highway. Over the last two weeks I visited almost every State Highway in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The shortest State Highway by a large margin in the Bay Area is California State Route 77.
  • California State Route 13. On my recent Bay Area trips I had an opportunity to drive the Warren Freeway segment of California State Route 13.
  • California State Route 242. After driving the Warren Freeway on California State Route 13 east via CA 24 and Interstate 680 to drive California State Route 242.
  • Interstate 680 over the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and the legacy of California State Route 21. Recently I drove Interstate 680 over Carquinez Straight via the Benicia-Martinz Bridge.  The Benicia Martinez Bridge is significant as it was location of the last major highway ferry crossing in the San Francisco Bay Area on California State Route 21.
  • Interstate 780 and path of California State Route 141. After crossing Carquinez Straight into Solano County via the Benicia-Martinez Bridge on Interstate 680 I made a western turn on I-780 towards mainline I-80.
  • California State Route 113; a little bit of vintage US 40, US 40A, US 99W and CA 24. Upon leaving the Bay Area I turned off Interstate 80 and headed eastward into the Sacramento River Delta on California State Route 12.  My next destination was California State Route 113 northbound which is partially made of segments of what was; US Route 40, US Route 40A, US Route 99W and California State Route 24.
  • November Bay Trip Part 3; California State Route 24. After leaving Mount Diablo State Park I drove through Walnut Creek to reach California State Route 24 to continue heading westward into Oakland.
  • 1929 Van Ness Arch; Van Ness Avenue, Fresno California. Recently I decided to re-visit the Van Ness Arch after seeing a Google image of it blocked off by Union Pacific construction.  The Van Ness Arch was located just off of US Route 99/Railroad Avenue at the rail crossing on Van Ness Avenue in southern Fresno.
  • Interstate 505; a trace of Interstate 5W. While on a recent Bay Area trip I primarily focused on routes I hadn’t previously taken or didn’t really research much in the past.  One such route was Interstate 505 which as originally conceived was meant to be part of Interstate 5W.
  • Interstate 680 over the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and the legacy of California State Route 21. Recently I drove Interstate 680 over Carquinez Straight via the Benicia-Martinz Bridge.  The Benicia Martinez Bridge is significant as it was location of the last major highway ferry crossing in the San Francisco Bay Area on California State Route 21.
  • Unbuilt California State Route 179. Back in 2017 I spent a good deal of time driving scenic highways located in Marin, Napa, Sonoma Yolo and Solano Counties.  While heading east from Lake Berryessa through the Vaca Mountains California State Route 128 I took a turn on Pleasant Valley Road south towards Vacaville.  What I stumbled upon was the unbuilt California State Route 179 on a very aptly named Pleasant Valley Road.  This year after traversing the Bay Area I decided to revisit the unbuilt CA 179.
  • California State Route 45. Following a day trip to the Bay Area I headed northward into Sacramento Valley to drive some more off the beaten path State Routes.  One such route that caught my eye was California State Route 45.
  • California State Route 149. While traveling through Sacramento Valley earlier this month I drove the entirety of California State Route 149.
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