🛣 Headlines and Articles about California Highways – March 2019

March has continued the rains of February, eliminating our drought and adding to the snowpack. It has also been creating havok on the roadways. But all news is not bad — I’ve been getting closer to finishing the first round of highway updates for the year. Here’s the last batch of headlines, articles, and posts that will make it into that update. As always: ready, set, discuss.

  • Caltrans District 4 – MacArthur Maze Vertical Clearance Project. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is holding two encore open houses for the
    Macarthur Maze (Maze) Vertical Clearance project. Caltrans is proposing to partially lower, raise, replace, or reconstruct connectors in the Maze. These four alternatives are being proposed to increase the vertical clearances at three locations in the Maze to meet the current Caltrans standard of 16 feet 6 inches to allow for more efficient travel of freight and oversized vehicles.
  • Caltrans Marks Completion of State Route 99 Realignment in Fresno. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 15 to mark the completion of work on the “State Route 99 Realignment for High-Speed Rail” project in the City of Fresno.
  • Westbound Highway 37 in Novato stays closed for now. State transportation workers are using motorized pumps to flush out the floodwater that has forced closure of westbound Highway 37, but it’s unclear when the traffic nightmare will end. Caltrans officials Thursday hoped to install up to six pumps along the highway that was closed in both directions Wednesday after a torrential downpour caused the swelling Novato Creek to overflow its banks.
  • Highway 154 now open after month-long closure. Highway 154 reopened Friday morning after a month-long closure, according to Caltrans. The highway that connects Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez Valley has been closed since February 2 after heavy rain storms. A culvert near Cachuma Lake was clogged with debris, mud  and burnt trees from the Whittier fire following those storms. That caused flooding and damaged the roadway.
  • CHP reopens access to Idyllwild, San Jacinto Mountains, but warns the route will take longer.  Tourists can head back into San Jacinto Mountain communities after two weeks of restrictions caused by winter rainstorms that washed out sections of the two highways leading into the area, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday.  It’s welcome news for mountain businesses.  “We were almost an island,” said Frank Ferro, owner of Ferro Restaurant and Idyllwild Brewpub. “The entire community is very excited that the road is going to be open. It’s definitely been a hardship on the business community.”

  • Caltrans weighs options for MacArthur Maze renovations, including months-long closures. You can now share your opinion online to help shape Caltrans plans to modernize Oakland’s MacArthur Maze. At least one of those proposals calls for closing parts of the crucial link for months.  That would require diverting freeway traffic onto surface streets, worsening the commute over the Bay Bridge for Bay Area drivers.
  • Think the MacArthur Maze is bad now? Wait until the construction starts. Heads up commuters, Caltrans is planning a major rebuild of the MacArthur Maze that may require parts of the heavily traveled East Bay interchange to be shut down for months, with some traffic rerouted onto surface streets. “It’s pretty big, probably running a close second to the building of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge,” said Caltrans spokeswoman Chiconda Davis.
  • Oft-flooded Highway 37 in Northern California eyed for locally directed long-term solutions. For the fourth time in three years, North Bay commuters faced delays and closures due to flooding along the western end of State Route 37. Starting on Feb. 13 runoff from heavy rains inundated portions of this highway near Novato Creek. The result was a four-day closure of a road which, even when bone dry, is a commuters’ nightmare. Six days later, the rains returned, and on Feb. 26, this major east-west commute route was submerged again. Westbound lanes were back open Saturday afternoon, days ahead of schedule.
  • Out in the desert. When working on one of the largest pavement rehabilitation projects in the history of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on one of the busiest interstate highways in the U.S., any contractor is going to have their work cut out for them. Such was the task that Granite Construction was commissioned by Caltrans to complete along a 31.4-mile stretch of I-10 in Riverside County near the underpopulated Desert Center region back in May 2016.
  • Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report, Winter 2019. TOC: Mile Markers | Retiring the Old Tires | Caltrans Adds Muscle for Heavier Workload | New Inspector General Keeps SB 1 Watch | Yearly Review Rates Condition of Highways | Caltrans’ Mantra: Do More, Use Less | Program Lays Groundwork for Big Projects | Route Signs Go Ground-Level | Science Drives Highway Solutions at Caltrans | Way Paved for High-Tech Snow Clearing | Mileposts | First Link of Safer Mojave Route Finished | Heading in the Right Direction | Brighter Outlook for Transportation Network | Investing in Habitat Protection | Signs of Fiery Times Ahead | State Plan Puts Rail Revival on Fast Track | Caltrans Easing Burden for ADA Travelers | From the Archives
  • Caltrans hosting Open House to discuss two bridge replacement projects. Caltrans is inviting the public to attend an Open House to discuss a bridge replacement project involving two bridges on Highway 101 along the Gaviota Coast.  Both the north and southbound bridges at the Refugio Road undercrossing, eight miles west of Goleta, need to be replaced.
  • REDDING TO ANDERSON SIX LANE PROJECT (RASL). The Redding to Anderson Six Lane Project is located on Interstate 5 in Shasta County. The $132M, Senate Bill 1 “RASL” Project is slated to be completed in three years. The project is a partnership with Shasta Regional Transportation Agency (SRTA), City of Anderson, and Shasta County. Construction will be carried on by contractor J.F. Shea Construction and a group of subcontractors.
  • January 14, 2019 Cajalco Road I-15 Interchange Project Construction Alert. Crews will work over several nights (weeks) to safely remove the steel beams (falsework) used
    to form the new Cajalco Rd Bridge.
  • March 7: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1956:  The Los Angeles City Council decides to build a combined tunnel with viaduct extension for Fourth Street to cross the Harbor Freeway with its terminus at Olive Street.
  • The name is back!. So we’ve decided to bring the old name back.  In the upcoming weeks, we’re going to be updating the logo, organizing a few feature landing pages, and more.  The site will continue to be focused on our blog/magazine features that we are doing today – but with possibly a few added touches.
  • March 8: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1951:  Bids are opened for the new Arroyo Seco Bridge on the Colorado Freeway in Pasadena.
  • District 11 News: Speed Limit along I-5 Carpool Lane Construction Zone in Encinitas and Carlsbad Reduced to 55 MPH. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced today that the speed limit along an eight-mile stretch of Interstate 5 (I-5) construction to build new carpool lanes, known as “Build NCC”, between Manchester Avenue in the City of Encinitas and Palomar Airport Road in the City of Carlsbad, will be temporarily reduced from 65 miles an hour (mph) to 55 mph. The new speed limit will be in effect Monday, March 11, in both the north and southbound directions, through the project’s completion in 2022.
  • California’s Historic Highways: Old US 40 Bridge Repair. Auburn, California Old US 40 Westbound expressway bridges contract 14TC6 from 1949 are scheduled for rehab work to widen the roadway deck, improve bridge piers abutments and girders,widen sidewalks and approaches shoulders for bicycles project to start in the Spring 2019https://bowmanbridges.com
  • Freeway Revolt in Glen Park. In the summer of 2016, the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project recorded the oral history of two of Glen Park’s Gum Tree Girls: Zoanne Theriault Nordstrom and Joan Seiwald, who also spoke for their late compatriot, Geri Arkush. The legacy of the Gum Tree Girls was celebrated at a meeting of the GPNHP in October 2017, during which Zoanne, Joan, and Geri (represented by her daughter, Kristen) were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for their “… civic activism and moxie that saved Glen Park and Glen Canyon from freeway construction during San Francisco’s Freeway Revolt, 1965 to 1970.”  The history of the Freeway Revolt in Glen Park is below. Here are quick links to snippets from the Gum Tree Girls oral history video: [Note: This has some good history on the revolt near the present routing of I-280, and the Crosstown Freeway]
  • Some road widening on wish list about to begin. Q: Often you write: “It’s on the wish list” or “That could be in the plans.” Like improving Highway 152 east out of Gilroy, adding a carpool lane on Highway 101 between Morgan Hill and Gilroy, rebuilding the 101/880 interchange, a freeway connector between Interstate 880 and Interstate 680 in Fremont, a westbound I-580 to southbound I-680 connector, etc.
  • State and regional leaders want to jumpstart efforts to avoid more Highway 37 storm closures. After flooding twice closed Highway 37 last month, regional and state leaders are collaborating to determine how to avoid more disruptive closures of the key roadway. After the latest major storm two weeks ago again left pools of standing water on the roadway’s westbound lanes between Highway 101 and Atherton Avenue, the short-term fixes that allowed the critical North Bay commuter route to reopen to traffic after three days remain in place.
  • The battle to tame O.C. traffic now rages over fees for high-priced consultants. The warnings have been ominous for motorists winding their way to and from San Diego along a busy stretch of Interstate 5 in South Orange County — a future of crushing gridlock unless something drastic is done. Transportation planners have been trying to sell skeptical residents for more than a decade on an extension of the Highway 241 toll road to help ease traffic.
  • Caltrans says relief on the way for Silicon Valley, Peninsula commuters. Traffic congestion relief is three years away. That’s the promise Caltrans and elected officials made to Silicon Valley and Peninsula commuters Friday, who endure sometimes excruciating backups and slowdowns along the U.S. 101 corridor.  The $567 million project will bring express lanes to a region that has seen at least a half-million jobs added and more commute headaches over the past four or five years.
  • LA City Council rejects appeal of Venice Boulevard road diet. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously rejected an appeal Tuesday from critics of a polarizing streetscape project that’s transformed just under one mile of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista. In the estimation of Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the area, the lane reductions and pedestrian safety measures implemented as part of the project have been a success.
  • With the 710 Dead, What Should Alhambra’s Position Be on the 710. For years, the City of Alhambra has been at the head of the movement to extend the 710 north so that it meets the 210. For the region, the extension would have been a disaster, creating a new corridor for truck traffic to rumble through the Southland. But for Alhambra, which has dealt with trucks using local streets to get from the 710 to other freeways, the extension was seen as a critical local project.
  • Napa County chips away at bridges rated as being ‘structurally deficient’. Napa County’s Bay Area-worst rating for bridge conditions should inch upwards with the Conn Creek bridge replacement scheduled to start this spring on busy Silverado Trail. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Vital Signs report says 13.9 percent of the bridge-and-overpass deck area in Napa County is “structurally deficient.” That is the worst rate among nine Bay Area counties and above the region’s 6.7 percent.
  • Repairs To Highways Damaged In Storms Will Last Months: Caltrans. It may be summer before state Routes 74 and 243 completely reopen to the general public due to the extensive repair work required to restore the corridors, both of which were severely damaged during a mid-February storm event, Caltrans announced Tuesday.
  • Road and Highway Reference Sites (to update links and references).
  • Caltrans announces road projects in Merced County CA. The California Department of Transportation said is it breaking ground on several projects to improve roads in Merced County, according to a news release. According to Caltrans, the projects will provide new pavement, upgrade drainage systems and improve traffic safety in areas of Merced County.
  • Joint Press Release on today’s Last Chance Grade allocation. The Commission has approved a $45 million allocation to help complete the environmental work needed to find a permanent solution for Last Chance Grade on Highway 101 in Del Norte County.
  • The CTC has approved $15 million in Local Partnership Formulaic Program incentive funding for 3 jurisdictions. The CTC has approved $15 million in Local Partnership Formulaic Program incentive funding for 3 jurisdictions ($5M/each) for new & renewed voter-approved sales tax measures solely dedicated to transportation: @TAM_MovingMarin, @SamTrans & Council of San Benito Co. Governments.
  • Last Chance Grade Allocation. The Commission has approved a $45 million allocation to help complete the environmental work needed to find a permanent solution for Last Chance Grade on Highway 101 in Del Norte County.
  • South Fresno Interchange Project. Caltrans will be holding a public information meeting/scoping session regarding the South Fresno Interchange Project on Wednesday, March 20 at the Robert J Arriago Community Center in Malaga.  The project aims to completely revamp three interchanges on SR99 at American Ave, Central Ave and North Ave.
  • The 11 biggest Bay Area transportation projects — and when they’ll be done. As more people come to the Bay Area and the trips to and from work become longer, commuters frequently find themselves white-knuckling the steering wheel, jostling for space on a bus or train, or simply dreaming of better days. While the problem of overcrowding on public transit and highways is unlikely to be solved any time soon, here are 11 major transportation projects that should improve the daily commute.
  • New Napa road network with roundabouts and signals opens off Soscol Avenue. As work continues on hundreds of apartment units west of Napa’s auto showroom district, the way into the future housing complex has been completed. The city on Tuesday opened extensions of Saratoga Avenue and Gasser Drive into The Braydon, an apartment complex under construction that will include 282 units in nine buildings.
  • Caltrans Roadside Safety Project underway for the next four months. For the next few months commuters who frequently take Highway 198 will have to find a different route as Caltrans periodically closes down on and off ramps to complete their roadside safety project.
  • Women in Transportation History: Marilyn J. Reece, Civil Engineer – Transportation History. Civil engineer Marilyn Jorgenson Reece was born in the city of Kenmare in South Dakota in 1926. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1948, Reece moved to Los Angeles and started working for the California State Division of Highways (now part of the California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans).
  • Riverside County to remove 225 highway call boxes, some are never used. Transportation officials voted today to remove 36 percent of remaining call boxes along Riverside County highways and set the stage for eliminating the system entirely by 2024. The proposal passed with a 22-6 vote Wednesday, March 13, by the Riverside County Transportation Commission. It follows the retirement of hundreds of call boxes in late 2016 and mirrors a trend occurring throughout Southern California.
  • Pasadena, Alhambra move forward on obtaining twin 710 Freeway stubs from Caltrans. With state legislation proposed that could remove the 710 Freeway extension from future consideration, Alhambra and Pasadena are making preparations for what could happen to the almost-100 acres of land comprising the loose freeway ends. State Sen. Anthony Portantino’s Senate Bill 7 would permanently prevent a freeway tunnel, surface freeway or expressway from being built to connect the 710 between the 10 and 210 freeways. Assemblyman Chris Holden’s Assembly Bill 29 would remove that stretch of the 710 from the state freeway and expressway system, marking its permanent northbound endpoint at the 10.
  • Highway 74 being repaired, hillsides less vertical. Work to repair, restore, and make Highway 74 safer between Valle Vista and Mountain Center continued Wednesday, March 12. Nearly a month after the devastating rain in February, the portion of Hwy. 74 that was washed out (near mile post 51) is being repaired. As shown below, most of the excavation has ended at this site and now it is being rebuilt.
  • Caltrans begins tearing down Pomona homes along 71 Freeway expansion project. Caltrans workers have begun the work to demolish some of the 17 homes needed to make way for the long-awaited 71 Freeway expansion in Pomona. For years, the state agency had plans to grow the 71 from four to eight lanes and add a pedestrian bridge over the highway at Grier Street. It wasn’t possible until funding was identified in 2016, when voters approved Measure M, known as the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, a half-percent sales tax for multiple transportation projects that range from bike paths in the San Fernando Valley to extending the Gold Line to Claremont.
  • Repairs Highways 243, 74 Will Last Months, Caltrans Says. It may be summer before state Routes 74 and 243 completely reopen to the general public due to the extensive repair work required to restore the corridors, both of which were severely damaged during a mid-February storm event, Caltrans announced Tuesday.
  • $45M approved for Last Chance Grade;. While it won’t immediately shorten the expected completion date of 2039, the California Transportation Commission has approved $45 million for necessary environmental studies to build a highway bypass around Last Chance Grade.
  • New Tool Makes it Easy to Estimate Added Travel from New Highway Lanes. A new tool is available from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation to help estimate how much vehicle travel a freeway or highway expansion will produce. This tool is important now for a number of reasons. For years, California planners have responded to congestion by making highways wider so they can carry more cars. The result has been, not so surprisingly, more cars on those roads. Transportation planners argue that most new travel is pent-up demand that would happen anyway, but research has long shown that building more capacity leads to more driving.
  • Caltrans to discuss State Route 25 curve restoration project. Caltrans is anticipated to meet with San Benito County District 4 constituents in Tres Pinos on Monday, March 18 to discuss the State Route 25 South County Curve Correction project.
  • South Fresno Interchange Project. Announcement of Public Information / Scoping Meeting
  • Marin County set to receive $3.83 million for roadwork. Marin officials are planning another round of road repairs in 2020 thanks to an influx of money from the state gas tax. The county is set to receive $3.83 million in funds from Senate Bill 1 for potential roadwork in West Marin, Mill Valley and Kentfield. The gas tax provides the county approximately $4.1 million annually.
  • Petaluma section of Highway 101 Marin-Sonoma Narrows set for 2022 finish with $85 million in funding. The expected $85 million in state gas tax money for the Marin-Sonoma Narrows project now sets up a 2022 completion date for the widening of the Petaluma section of Highway 101. The California Transportation Commission last week formally allocated the money to the two-county road project, which will complete a third lane from Windsor to the Marin County line. The funding was threatened last year by the potential repeal of a tax hike created by Senate Bill 1, but California voters defeated the measure in November with 57 percent opposition.
  • After rain delay, work begins on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. As gray skies last week gave way to blue, crews got to work putting in a permanent fix for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The bridge closed briefly last month after a joint cracked and sent football-sized chunks of concrete tumbling down onto motorists. No injuries were reported. Workers will replace all 61 expansion joints on the bridge, Tony Tavares, the head of Caltrans’ Bay Area division, said Monday. Those joints, which are all from the original 1958 construction, allow the bridge to expand and contract with changing temperatures.
  • Proposal for Highway 37 toll bridge moves forward. Agencies trying to fix flooding problems on Highway 37 hope to get legislation that would turn the stretch from Sears Point to Mare Island into a state-owned toll bridge. The project has been dubbed the “Resilient SR 37 Program,” according to information from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • California State Route 37 to close overnight Saturday. Drivers can expect to find the often-difficult Highway 37 between Novato and Vallejo to be closed altogether this weekend, but this time it’s not due to flooding. The highway – technically State Route 37, or SR-37 – will be closed overnight on Saturday, March 23, beginning at 7 p.m., and opening on Sunday, March 24, at 10 a.m.
  • Joint replacement begins on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Joint repair is inching forward on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the rickety workhorse span that won some unflattering attention last month when chunks of concrete plunged from its upper deck and hit a white Mercedes below.
  • Oakland’s plan to improve roads stuck in a rut. Oakland’s new Department of Transportation, backed by bond proceeds that voters approved in 2016, promised a renaissance in a city of potholes and rutted roads. And in the two years since the department’s genesis, it has unleashed a flurry of plans and ideas.
  • Napa County Supervisor Pedroza outlines Napa transportation projects. Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza made a rare appearance at a regularly scheduled Calistoga City Council meeting Tuesday to report on recent activities of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
  • A busy traffic link between L.A. and Orange counties is closed for at least a year. A heavily trafficked road that links the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County is expected to be closed for at least a year following a season of torrential rain that caused a portion of the winding thoroughfare to sink. La Habra Heights officials closed Hacienda Road from Canada Sombre Road to West Skyline Drive this month after they discovered a section in the southbound lane was sinking. The road has descended about 8½ inches due to an ongoing landslide that was probably triggered by heavy rain, according to a report from AESCO, a Huntington Beach-based geotechnical engineering firm.
  • SLO County says a roundabout could improve traffic flow at busy Hwy 227 intersection. A roundabout may be coming to a busy intersection on Highway 227 in San Luis Obispo. It’s proposed for Los Ranchos Rd. That corridor usually gets backed up during the evening commute and also in the morning. “The traffic here, it’s crazy to see it,” said Renee Bell.
  • Route 243 and Route 7 4 Damage Update.. Here is some new information regarding the emergency work SR-74 and 243 from #Caltrans8.
  • Cost to fix botched portion of State Route 25 jumps to $11.3 million. About 25 South County residents attended a March 18 community input meeting at the Inn at Tres Pinos to listen to Supervisor Jim Gillio and Caltrans representatives discuss plans for the State Route 25 Curve Restoration Project. Residents learned that the project cost was increasing 18.95 percent, from the previously reported $9.5 million to $11.3 million; they also learned that engineering plans were already drawn up.
  • State plans new 4-lane expressway for Rte. 25. Instead of just adding two lanes to the existing State Route 25 between Hollister and Gilroy, state officials are proposing the construction of a new four-lane expressway, using the current two-lane highway as a parallel frontage road.
  • Highway 74 getting escorted access between Idyllwild and Hemet. Highway 74 isn’t expected to fully reopen between Hemet and Idyllwild until this summer, but travelers may have limited access as early as next month. Travelers will be escorted up and down the road beginning as early as four weeks from now, Caltrans officials said Wednesday. The tentative plan is to provide escorts for three hours in the morning and three hours at night, with the goal of accommodating rush hour traffic.
  • List of unused highways in California. An unused highway may reference a highway or highway ramp that was partially or fully constructed but was unused[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] or later closed.[10][11][12] An unused ramp can be referred to as a stub ramp,[13] stub street,[2][14][15] stub-out,[2] or simply stub.[16][17] The following is a list:
  • CTC Approves More Than $90 Million for SB 1 Projects to Improve Pavement Project Along State Route 43. Caltrans announced Thursday the California Transportation Commission allocated $758.1 million for 91 State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects throughout California, including $90.4 million for 26 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding allows crews to improve 21 bridges and more than 189 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 292 congestion reducing devices, and repair or replace 81 culverts to prevent flooding on highways.
  • Caltrans to start 24-hour repairs on Highway 74 and 243 near Idyllwild and Mountain Center. Barring inclement weather, the California Department of Transportation said motorists will be able to access now-closed parts of Highway 74 and 243 in the morning and evening in roughly four-to-six weeks. Caltrans held a news conference on Wednesday regarding the cataclysmic flood-caused road damage near Idyllwild and Mountain Center. The damage initially took place in February including in the Cranston fire burn scar. Several highways throughout Southern California faced closures and extensive damage.
  • Millions Flagged To Repair Two Area Highways. State transportation officials have released more than $758 million for 91 highway projects – including two in area counties. Out of that money, the California Transportation Commission is allocating $90.4 million in SB 1, the 12 cent per gallon gas tax passed by lawmakers in 2017, funds for 26 fix-it-first projects.
  • Removing toll booths may ease growing Richmond Bridge traffic woes: Roadshow. Q: What has happened to traffic westbound on the Richmond Bridge? For 20 years I was able to zip onto it in the morning when I needed to go to Marin from Oakland. For the last few months, there is always a 20-minute backup. Did they re-stripe the FasTrak and cash lanes, causing drivers to have to switch over? Interestingly, the cash lanes go much faster.
  • March 22: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1938: Construction begins on the Arroyo Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena. Rose Queen Cheryl Walker pulls the lever on a steam shovel to move the first earth for the first freeway in California.
  • Golden Gate Bridge toll hike approved. Golden Gate Bridge officials voted Friday to raise tolls to $9.75 over the next four years, a plan that coasted along for months with little fanfare or hand-wringing. The rate proposal drew overwhelming approval from the board, with only one director, San Francisco Supervisor Vallie Brown, dissenting in the 15-1 vote. It will boost tolls by 35 cents a year for FasTrak users — from $7 to $7.35 in July, inching to $8.75 by July 2023. People paying by invoice, who are now charged $8 for every crossing, will pay $9.75 in 2023. One-time payments, also currently $8, will jump to $9.
  • Over $12 Million Approved for Road Projects in Humboldt and Del Norte. Caltrans announced the California Transportation Commission allocated $758.1 million for 91 State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects throughout California, including $90.4 million for 26 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding allows crews to improve 21 bridges and more than 189 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 292 congestion reducing devices, and repair or replace 81 culverts to prevent flooding on highways.
  • Sonoma’s historic Watmaugh Road Bridge to face demolition, rebuild. The fate of the historic steel-truss bridge on Watmaugh Road over Sonoma Creek is all but settled, according to the county’s department of Transportation and Public Works. And, despite a lingering hope that the 1929 bridge’s historic status might save it from the wrecking ball, the county expects to move forward with the bridge replacement project beginning in 2021.
  • Pasadena Now » Assemblymember Holden’s Legislation to Remove 710 North Project Area from Freeway Code Passes First Policy Committee. Assemblymember Chris Holden’s legislation to remove the 710 North Project Area between Interstate 210 and Interstate 10 from the California State Freeway and Expressway code, Assembly Bill 29, passed the Assembly Transportation Committee today on a unanimous vote. “Fixing our state’s highway code to reflect the new reality is the logical next step to bury the tunnel idea once and for all,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. The legislation aims to quell lingering concerns about Caltrans’ Final Environmental Impact Report and a 2017 Los Angeles Metro motion to move away from the tunnel concept for largely financial reasons. The reasoning for both decisions may leave the tunnel solution open to future consideration.
  • $4.3 Million Mariposa County Drainage Project Along State Route 41 Approved by CTC Along with More than $90 Million for other SB 1 Projects to Improve the State Highways and Reduce Congestion. Caltrans announced last week the California Transportation Commission allocated $758.1 million for 91 State Highway Operation and Protection Program  projects throughout California, including $90.4 million for 26 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding allows crews to improve 21 bridges and more than 189 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 292 congestion reducing devices, and repair or replace 81 culverts to prevent flooding on highways. Mariposa County Area state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • Why is State Route 2 Still Closed Near Mt. Wilson? At approximately 12 noon on Friday, February 15 a slide occurred on State Route 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) near Mt. Wilson in the Angeles National Forest, approximately 16 miles north of La Canada Flintridge and I-210. The roadway has remained closed to allow a contractor to remove the slide debris and stabilize the slope. The closure is in both directions between Mt. Wilson / Red Box Rd. and 300 feet west of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Rd. in the San Gabriel Mountains. But why has the road remained closed for this long?
  • Troubled Richmond-San Rafael Bridge suffers another failure. The troubled Richmond-San Rafael Bridge suffered yet another failure Monday morning, just as crews embarked on a three-month repair of 61 joints that date back to the 1950s, officials said. Reports of a pothole on the left westbound lane of the upper deck sent transportation officials scrambling around 9 a.m. after concrete had peeled off the deck to expose rebar underneath, said John Goodwin, spokesman for the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • Large pothole on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge causes traffic delays.  A large pothole on the westbound span of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge caused headaches for commuters for more than two hours Monday morning. Officer Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol said the size of the pothole in the left lane was “substantial enough” to prompt closure of the lane. The CHP received the initial report of the damaged asphalt at about 8 a.m., and Caltrans crews filled in the hole by 10:30 a.m., Barclay said. All lanes are now open, according to the CHP.
  • More problems arise on the aging Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  More troubles plague the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, a structure that experts say was built at a time when road builders were more concerned with maximizing the number of miles they constructed than the longevity of the bridge.  Just as repair crews began fixing the 61 oher expansion joints on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Caltrans was called out to inspect a mean looking pothole. Caltrans closed one of the westbound lanes to do a temporary quick fix just after 9 a.m. Monday. It was completed before noon, but will be followed by a more permanent fix Monday night.
  • How Annoyed Hollywood Concertgoers Sparked The Idea For Freeway Soundwalls.  The tall, beige, unremarkable-looking concrete barriers that stand between freeways and neighborhoods are, in fact, doing something remarkable. They’re called soundwalls, and they’re protecting ears from an unending cacophony of traffic that’s more than just a nuisance. Freeway noise can lead to hearing impairment, anxiety, sleep disturbance and hypertension.
  • I-105 ExpressLanes Project: Upcoming Meetings and Events. In addition to the  survey , the outreach team for the I-105 ExpressLanes Project will be present at community events, including those listed below. Please check back periodically for additional community events featuring information on the I-105 ExpressLanes Project.
  • Periodic freeway closures planned in Fountain Valley as part of 405 widening project. Northbound lanes on the 405 Freeway will be periodically cordoned off overnight in Fountain Valley during the next two weeks to accommodate construction work, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority. Starting as early as Monday night, northbound lanes will be blocked between Brookhurst and Magnolia streets, as will the northbound on-ramps from Brookhurst.
  • Barstow awaits a new First Avenue Bridge. Replacement of the aging First Avenue Bridge is being postponed, again. “Unfortunately, the entire project is moving at a glacial pace,” said Brad Merrell, Barstow city engineer. “It’s been one issue after another for this project.” Plans originally called for the three-section bridge, which is nearly 90 years old, to be replaced starting in early 2017. At the time, Merrell said an environmental review that took longer than expected would delay the project until 2018.
  • American Canyon continues pursuit of annexation to create Highway 29 bypass. American Canyon is continuing efforts to annex 87 acres on its northeast edge, in part to someday extend Newell Drive to Highway 29 and take some of the city traffic off the congested highway. This land is north of the planned Watson Ranch, which is to have 1,250 homes, parks, a hotel, stores, a school and a town center on almost 300 acres. That kind of expected growth makes the Newell Drive extension a priority.
  • Transportation Commission approves more than $90 Million to improve highways and reduce congestion. Caltrans announced the California Transportation Commission allocated $758.1 million for 91 State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects throughout California, including $90.4 million for 26 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding allows crews to improve 21 bridges and more than 189 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 292 congestion reducing devices, and repair or replace 81 culverts to prevent flooding on highways. Lake County Area state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • Over $12 Million Approved for Road Projects in Humboldt and Del Norte. Caltrans announced the California Transportation Commission allocated $758.1 million for 91 State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects throughout California, including $90.4 million for 26 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This funding allows crews to improve 21 bridges and more than 189 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 292 congestion reducing devices, and repair or replace 81 culverts to prevent flooding on highways. Humboldt and Del Norte County Area state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • SLOCOG staff recommends closing the El Campo intersection. The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) staff is recommending that four intersections between Traffic Way and Los Berros Road along Highway 101 should close. At a packed public outreach meeting on March 21, staff discussed the results of the second phase of the board’s $30,000 two-step assessment process to understand the implications of restricting left turns on this stretch of the highway.
  • More FasTrak lanes on Bay Bridge under consideration. Q: Why doesn’t Caltrans open more than three FasTrak lanes on the Bay Bridge approach on weekends? I work in San Francisco on weekends and they are always horribly backed up.
  • Squirrels blamed for huge hole in California road. A huge sinkhole that forced the closure of a California road has been blamed on squirrels. Ten miles of Gilman Springs Road, in Riverside County, was closed Tuesday morning because the pavement in the eastbound lane had collapsed. The two-lane road is a popular freeway bypass. The California Highway Patrol’s San Gorgonio Pass office said Wednesday in a Facebook post that the contractor had dug up the damaged area and filled the hole with concrete. The contractor planned to repave the road and paint stripes Wednesday night, with reopening expected Thursday morning, the CHP said.
  • Some major Southern California roads close for repairs after winter storm damage. Major highways are closing for emergency repairs after a series of winter storms caused damage, according to the California Department of Transportation. Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Pacific Coast Highway and Grand View Drive is closing at 10 p.m. Friday and will reopen at 5 a.m. Monday. Workers are repairing an eroded embankment along Topanga Creek, Caltrans officials said in a news release this week.
  • Actions taken today by the Metro Board of Directors and New Blue update. The Metro Board of Director’s meeting for March has concluded. A few items of interest: …
  • California’s Historic Highways: History of the West Lilac Road Bridge. Nearly 700-feet long and rising 122 feet above the Interstate-15 north of Escondido, the West Lilac Road Overcrossing provides a dramatic connection between the communities surrounding Valley Center and Bonsall. It may be one the best known bridges in the county, but it often provokes the question: Why was a structure of this magnitude built in such a sparsely populated, semi-rural location?
  • California hiked its gas tax for road repairs, yet ‘poor’ bridges have multiplied, data show.  When large chunks of concrete fell from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in February, temporarily closing the major traffic artery across San Francisco Bay, motorists were reminded of longstanding concerns over California’s aging road system that drove the state to raise the gas tax in 2017 to pay for repairs. The state has spent $121 million of the gas-tax revenue on bridge and culvert projects so far, completing the repair or replacement of 89 bridges. But some elected officials are saying work isn’t happening quickly enough as new data from the Federal Highway Administration show the number of California bridges in “poor” condition has continued to increase since the tax hike.

Gribblenation (nee Sure Why Not?) Blog (Tom Fearer)

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