🛣 Headlines About California Highways – May 2019

Another month has come and gone, and already we are almost half-way through the year. But it hasn’t been an “April Showers bring May Flowers” month, as we’ve seen more rain and more snow, and one of the coolest Memorial Days in a while. But one thing is constant: Highway headlines!

  • Caltrans Delays Major East Bay Project After Local Backlash. After major pushback from Emeryville, Oakland, and Alameda County officials, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has delayed a major construction project that would tear down the “MacArthur Maze,” a series of overpasses connecting the I-80, I-580, and I-880 freeways near the eastern entrance to the Bay Bridge. Adding to their frustration, city officials say the purpose of the project isn’t clear, while other capital improvement projects on nearby state highways languish.
  • Caltrans announces year-long Palmdale Road construction project. The California Department of Transportation announced the beginning of a year-long construction safety project along State Route 18 or Palmdale Road. Caltrans officials said the raised curb median project will begin the first week in May on Palmdale Road from Cobalt Road to Highway 395 in Victorville. The project will affect those traveling to and from Silverado High School, located near the corner of Cobalt and Palmdale roads, and Cobalt Institute of Math and Science, located west of the SHS.
  • Cities along 710 not happy money is flowing to car-centric projects. Three cities ready to receive a portion of almost $1 billion in lieu of a north 710 Freeway extension are unhappy with the process, want more cooperation from Metro and are concerned their suggestions are being ignored. A letter signed by the city managers of Alhambra, Pasadena and South Pasadena to the Los Angels County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board accuses its staff of only accepting projects that enhance the movement of automobiles, namely adding lanes to regional thoroughfares in an area between El Sereno and Pasadena, from Valley Boulevard to the 210 Freeway just west of Fremont and Pasadena avenues.
  • The First Cable-Stayed Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge in California Rides Gracefully Over a Freeway. The Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge was opened in the city of Cupertino in California’s Santa Clara County, which encompasses much of the region popularly known as Silicon Valley. The 503-foot (153.3-meter)-long bridge, which crosses over Interstate 280 and connects the north and south sections of the Stevens Creek Trail, has the distinction of being the Golden State’s first cable-stayed bridge for bicycle and pedestrian traffic that is located above a freeway.
  • Caltrans inspecting troubled stretch of I-80 freeway after concrete falls. Caltrans crews are inspecting an elevated section of Interstate 80 where a chunk of concrete broke off Tuesday night, falling 25 feet onto a street in SoMa. The stretch of freeway that links the Bay Bridge to the Highway 101 split has dogged city and state officials for years. Officers who manage police parking lots adjacent to the Hall of Justice say that they have found large pieces of debris and bolts on the ground but that their complaints to Caltrans have gone largely unaddressed.
  • Caltrans to inspect I-80 where concrete chunk fell off near Bay Bridge. Caltrans will inspect a portion of Interstate 80 where a fist-sized chunk of concrete fell to the street below, according to the agency. The chunks of concrete fell in a stretch of I-80 in San Francisco at Harriet Street, approaching the Bay Bridge, Tuesday, according to Caltrans. No injuries or property damage was reported.

  • Parsons’ artificial intelligence solution to improve I-405 mobility in Los Angeles. Parsons has been contracted by Caltrans District 7 to develop a decision support system using artificial intelligence that will help relieve hot spot congestion areas and improve travel reliability along the I-405 Sepulveda Pass corridor in Los Angeles, CA. The I-405 Sepulveda Pass corridor is the most congested highway segment in the United States. To help relieve congestion and mitigate impacts caused by traffic events, Parsons will work with Caltrans District 7 Traffic Operations and Los Angeles City Department of Transportation (LADOT) to explore utilization of corridor management concepts and implement the decision support system along the I­‑405 corridor from I‑10 to SR 101, which will coordinate freeways with local arterials and improve mobility for commuters.
  • Can Confluence Park begin to grow again?. Fenced off,  damaged and surrounded by traffic lanes, it’s hard to imagine Confluence Park as an inviting green space. Now the Mountains Conservation & Recreation Authority is studying how the park could spread out – like it was always supposed to. The existing part of Confluence Park – Phase One – looks nothing like a park. It’s located in the north corner of San Fernando Road and Figueroa Street, bounded to the north by the 5 Freeway and the Home Depot parking lot and on the south by the Cypress Park traffic circle. The parkland was purchased in 2003, and an $800,000, computer-controlled “dancing fountain” was put in a few years later.
  • Caltrans announces closure plans on State Route 126 in Ventura County. Fenced off,  damaged and surrounded by traffic lanes, it’s hard to imagine Confluence Park as an inviting green space. Now the Mountains Conservation & Recreation Authority is studying how the park could spread out – like it was always supposed to. The existing part of Confluence Park – Phase One – looks nothing like a park. It’s located in the north corner of San Fernando Road and Figueroa Street, bounded to the north by the 5 Freeway and the Home Depot parking lot and on the south by the Cypress Park traffic circle. The parkland was purchased in 2003, and an $800,000, computer-controlled “dancing fountain” was put in a few years later.
  • Cache Creek Bridge Replacement. Caltrans is hosting a public information meeting for the Cache Creek Bridge Replacement project. This project will replace the eastbound and westbound Cache Creek bridges which are located on State Route 58 in Kern County approximately 5 miles east of Tehachapi.
  • 405 freeway travel times continue to slow. Five years ago this month, a northbound carpool lane opened on the 405 freeway, between the 10 and 101 freeways, widening 10 miles of the interstate. It took half a decade to construct and cost more than $1 billion. Since then, average northbound drive times through the Sepulveda Pass have increased at all hours of the day, according to data from traffic analyst Inrix.
  • Caltrans to start work on retaining walls along Highway 4 near Big Trees. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will start spring construction on retaining walls along State Route 4 (SR-4) near Calaveras Big Trees State Park this week. Work is scheduled to be done mostly in the day. One-way traffic control will be used and motorists should expect 10-minute delays.
  • County Supervisors Reject SANDAG ‘5 Big Moves’ Plan. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to recommend opposing any modifications to the current plan for transportation in the region, effectively rejecting a proposal to link Imperial Beach with Oceanside by a cross-county high-speed rail. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) unveiled what it is calling “5 Big Moves” Friday.
  • It’s Not Just You, LA’s Freeways Have Gotten Slower Since 2015. Feeling like your commute is taking longer than ever? It probably is. Earlier this month, we took at look at which freeway in L.A. is the slowest. Hint: it’s not all of them. Now we have the stats on which freeways have gotten progressively slower over the past five years, thanks to USC’s Crosstown data project.
  • Wider Highway 101 in California redwood grove is blocked by judge. A longtime state proposal to widen a 1-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 101 in Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County to make room for bigger trucks has hit a roadblock in federal court, where a judge says Caltrans lacks adequate plans to protect ancient redwoods that soar 300 feet above the highway.
  • Caltrans reducing I-5 speed Anderson to Redding for construction.  As construction continues to widen Interstate 5 between Anderson and Redding, speed limits in the stretch have been reduced to 55 mph. The goal of the reduced speed limit is to promote safety for both workers and drivers during the complex stage of construction, according to a press release issued Tuesday by Caltrans. Drivers are asked to slow to the speed at designated areas marked by signage. California Highway Patrol vehicles will be on site around construction zones and will site those who do not comply. Fines are increased for tickets in construction zones.
  • PD Editorial: Infrastructure deal is a long way from finish line. It would be excellent if President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer could agree upon an ambitious $2 trillion program to repair and improve the nation’s highways, bridges, ports and transit systems. The country needs it. California needs it. Sonoma County needs it. But some political bridges will need to be built before any concrete can be poured.
  • Monterey Road work set for summer. Expect daytime construction delays on Gilroy’s second busiest street this summer, when a repaving and rehabilitation project along Monterey Street between First and Eighth streets will begin, lasting through the end of the year.  Motorists already are dealing with the months-long project along the length of First Street. The new project will include new pavement, striping, sidewalk ramps and protection of existing utilities through the heart of Gilroy’s downtown retail district.
  • Caltrans plans Highways 12/113 roundabout meeting. An informational meeting about the Highways 12 and 113 roundabout project – located between Suisun City and Rio Vista – has been scheduled for May 16. State Department of Transportation officials will conduct the meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 1 Main St., in Rio Vista. It will include a video and other visual displays about the project.
  • Caltrans investing $4.4B in Southern California rail, transit and freight mobility projects. California is investing more than $4.4 billion in regional rail, transit and freight mobility projects in Southern California, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) noted recently, as it celebrated the 80-year anniversary of Los Angeles Union Station. “The story of Union Station as a major transportation hub for 75,000 people a day is even more exciting as we look toward the future and build for tomorrow,” Caltrans Director Laurie Berman said on May 3. “As a state, we’re proud to recognize the historic past of this station and proudly work with our partners as we build for the future.”
  • A Great Big Freeway — Thanks to Induced Demand. Los Angeles is getting what it paid for when it widened 10 miles of its most infamous freeways — another lane of traffic. The extra lane of the I-405 between the 10 and the 101 freeways that opened in May, 2014, to supposedly alleviate congestion actually ended up adding a minute of travel time for drivers of the 10-mile stretch — and new data shows congestion is even worse.
  • SR-180 Kings Canyon Expressway Detour Map. Construction Alert: Rio Vista Avenue will be closed with detours in place at Oliver Avenue and Trimmer Springs Road to construct new intersections on the SR-180 Kings Canyon Expressway near Centerville, in Fresno County. Motorists are advised to use detours and may experience slight delays through the 4.5-mile Construction Zone. Trucks must use Belmont and Academy Avenues.
  • I-405 Improvement Project Wins Three Awards. The I-405 Improvement Project was recently honored with three Excellence in Public Information and Communications (EPIC) awards from the California Association of Public Information Officials, also known as CAPIO.
  • Help Transform Beach Boulevard. If you’ve lived or worked in Orange County for any length of time, chances are good that you’ve traveled Beach Boulevard. This major north-south thoroughfare crosses all the county’s major freeways – SR-91, I-5, SR-22, I-405 – on its way from La Habra to Huntington Beach, passing through the cities of La Mirada, Fullerton, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Stanton, and Westminster. It’s packed with retailers and businesses and entertainment centers such as Knott’s Berry Farm. If you could improve Beach Boulevard, what would you do? Would you make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel the road? Add more transit? Synchronize the lights for less stop, more go?
  • Highway 101, El Campo Road interchange project near Arroyo Grande put on hold. Just over a month after San Luis Obispo County leaders voted to restrict left turns at a dangerous Arroyo Grande intersection, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has put a stop to the proposed project due to recently filed legal challenge. At a San Luis Obispo Council of Governments board meeting last month, a plan was drafted to limit left turns at the interchange.
  • Caltrans begins widening on Hwy. 101 onramp near Tiburon, Mill Valley. Caltrans crews began construction this week at a busy freeway interchange that connects Tiburon and Mill Valley as part of a project aimed at reducing congestion in the area. Using bulldozers, workers leveled a swath of open space next to the northbound Highway 101 onramp from Tiburon Boulevard. Plans call for adding a second lane there and installing metering lights to improve the efficiency of cars merging onto the highway.
  • I-5 from Redding to Anderson will be widened. What you need to know. A project years in the making received a grand kickoff Thursday morning at the Shasta Gateway outlets in Anderson. Work started earlier this spring to widen Interstate 5 between Redding and Anderson, a three-year, $161 million project that will expand the freeway from four to six lanes, adding one additional northbound and southbound lane.
  • UPDATE: Coastal Commission Asks Staff to Postpone Safety Corridor Hearing to Allow Local Input. On the heels of the California Coastal Commission’s request to staff to delay a hearing on Caltrans’ U.S. Highway 101 Safety Corridor improvement plan, Caltrans released a statement this afternoon indicating it hopes delaying the hearing by two months will not impact its construction timeline. “If the Commission were to delay their meeting on this subject until August the goal of beginning construction by summer 2020 is likely still reachable but it will certainly cut things close,” reads the statement, which is copied in its entirety below the original post.
  • How Are We Building the New Valley View Ave. Bridge Over I-5?. Reconstruction of the Valley View Ave. Interchange at I-5 (Santa Ana Freeway) is in progress where the cities of Santa Fe Springs, Cerritos, and La Mirada border each other. This bridge and interchange are the last of six segments on the I-5 South corridor, where we are widening I-5 from I-605 (San Gabriel River Freeway) to the Orange County line. We are adding two lanes in each direction of I-5, rebuilding a total of 14 bridges and pedestrian overpasses, and reconstructing six freeway interchanges.  The new Valley View Ave. Bridge is a central component of the final segment. We are widening the bridge from four to six lanes. But, what type of bridge is it and what is the rebuilding process?
  • How California Is Fixing Angeles Crest Highway After Its Worst Landslide in Decades. The rock was pressed into existence at least half a billion years ago deep underground. Eons of tectonic transit ended here in southern California sometime in the late Cenozoic with it lodged in the violent seam between the Pacific and North American plates. Those crushing forces lofted the ancient mass thousands of feet into the sky as the San Gabriel Mountains. And in February, about ten million pounds of it came crashing down on Angeles Crest Highway, where it finally became Christopher Harris’ problem.
  • I-5 South Temporarily Closed as GSA Opens New Roadway to El Chaparral. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will realign the southbound Interstate 5 (I-5) freeway to a newly constructed roadway on May 14, 2019 as part of Phase 3 of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry (LPOE) Modernization and Expansion project. This stage of the project opens the four westernmost lanes of the newly constructed I-5 southbound freeway just south of the Camino De La Plaza Bridge. Additional lanes will open June 2019.
  • Damaged Highway To Be Available To Motorists Memorial Day Weekend. A damaged stretch of state Route 74 between Hemet and Mountain Center will be available to motorists 18 hours a day for all of Memorial Day weekend in an effort accommodate holiday travel, according to Caltrans. The agency announced that the 15-mile segment will be accessible from 6 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, May 25, Sunday, May 26, and Monday, May 27.
  • Auto Travel to Donner Lake on the Lincoln Highway. Before there were cars and big-rig tractor-trailers speeding more than 65 mph on Interstate 80, the first transcontinental highway was the Lincoln Highway, commemoratingPresident Abraham Lincoln. Today, much of this historic 100–year-old road is accessible,however, it was replaced in 1926 by U.S. Highway 40. If a traveler gets off the interstate’sbeaten path, segments can be visited.
  • Full closure planned for Highway 395 near Kramer Junction. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close both directions of Highway 395, just north of Kramer Junction to construct a bridge deck as part of the State Route 58 Realignment Project. The closures will take place Monday, May 13 and Thursday, May 16 from 3:00 am., to 5:00 am.
  • New Charcot Avenue overpass could ease I-880 woes: Roadshow. Q: Of all the eligible projects to receive money from Santa Clara County’s Measure B  sales tax, the one that will receive $37 million over the next few years is the Charcot overcrossing of Interstate 880 in North San Jose. Looking at all the congested freeways and interchanges, I’m surprised that this project is prioritized by the Valley Transportation Authority. It seems such a weird and misplaced allocation of taxpayer money.
  • Will the Bay Bridge’s surge pricing come to other bridges?. Q: Has any other area had luck in managing traffic with surge pricing for bridge tolls? The San Mateo Bridge is super congested between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.  Perhaps a discounted rate for crossing before 6 a.m. might help manage traffic patterns. I hope I don’t have to get going that early on my commute, though.
  • 60-year-old I-10, surrounding routes undergo renovations. After nearly a year of construction on Interstate 10 through Redlands, the end is in sight. The $26.1 million I-10 Pavement Rehabilitation Project in Redlands started in June 2018 and is expected to be complete next month. Repairs between Orange and Ford streets were needed to improve operational efficiency and ride quality, requiring intermittent ramp closures, shoulder closures, temporary lane re-configurations and nighttime lane closures.
  • Highway 17 safety improvements expected to start in 2020. Highway 17 drivers will see changes on the road start to take shape in 2020 and 2021. Funds from Senate Bill 1 will go to road safety and improvement projects on part of the freeway stretching from San Jose to Santa Cruz County. SB 1, authored by State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, will provide funding to fix California’s transportation system, including local streets and roads and state highways.
  • San Marino residents to Metro: Here’s your $32 million back, we don’t want your road projects. The city of San Marino is considering returning $32 million in grants earmarked for street improvements and awarded by Metro as alternatives to extending the 710 Freeway after many residents said the city should not be hoodwinked into projects which would bring in outsiders and degrade their quality of life.
  • California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Twitter: “The Commission has adopted the MPO component of the 2019 Active Transportation program. $174.8 million will fund 59 projects in all ten large Metropolitan Planning Organizations.”.
  • El Campo crossing in Arroyo Grande must close. A lawsuit filed by a winery company that put on hold the El Campo and U.S. 101 safety improvements that were to start this week came as an unexpected and crushing disappointment to us. Vintage Wine Estates, new parent of Laetitia Winery, filed the lawsuit last week blocking construction of safety improvements at El Campo Road, Tower Road (Laetitia’s entrance) and two other crossings of U.S. 101.
  • East Palo Alto celebrates grand opening of U.S. Highway 101 overpass. Saturday’s rainy weather did not deter East Palo Alto families and community leaders from commemorating a newly constructed overpass, which joins the east and west sides of the city separated by U.S. Highway 101. The overpass, connecting at Newell Road and Clarke Avenue, was designed to unite East Palo Alto neighborhoods and improve access for residents to schools, shops and parks, city officials said.
  • Palm Drive has a new traffic signal and it may activate by Friday. Anyone venturing in and out of Desert Hot Springs by way of Palm Drive should have noticed a traffic signal being installed at Camino Aventura. As per usual whenever new signals pop up, the question needs to be asked: When will it activate? According to city spokeswoman Doria Wilms, it could be activated as early as the end of this week. It’s part of an overall Palm Drive improvement project and Wilms said “there will be many other signals” down the line.
  • Toro Creek Bridge on State Route 192 Closed for Work. The Toro Creek Bridge (PM 12.14) will be closed 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, May 17, for work on the bridge deck. The work will continue 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, May 20, through Friday, May 24. The closure will extend from Cravens Lane to Toro Creek Road with access to this closed area maintained for local residents.
  • Big highways blah? Don’t dis them. Why and when to travel interstates–happily. When we think about road trips — and, now that schools are out or mostly so, we may be — we rarely think about the road itself, especially the big, rumbling, boring interstates that lace together our country. Why should we? They’re the method, not the merriment.
  • Project to remove left turns at El Campo Rd./Hwy 101 to proceed. Caltrans says a project to eliminate left turns on Highway 101 at El Campo Rd. and three other intersections between Arroyo Grande and Nipomo will proceed after a judge lifted a temporary stay of the project. That stay was put in place last week after Vintage Wine Estates, which owns Laetitia Vineyard and Winery, filed a legal challenge to stop the project.
  • Highway 43 to be closed until September. Highway 43 (Enos Lane) will be closed this week north of Highway 119 as part of construction on the State Route 119 / State Route 43 roundabout project. Caltrans announced Monday the closure, from Highway 119 to Raceway Boulevard (the entrance to the Kern County Raceway Park) will go into effect Thursday and continue into September.
  • Caltrans Awards $40.5M to Local Agencies for Statewide Transportation Projects. Caltrans has awarded $40.5 million to local agencies for transportation projects statewide. The grant money will be used for planning on projects that will reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change. Among projects awarded funding are: …
  • I-10 Pavement Rehabilitation Project Draft IS_EA. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to rehabilitate the existing asphalt concrete (AC) pavement on Interstate 10 (I-10) from West of the SR-177/I-10 Separation, at Post Mile (PM) R104.9, to 1.05 miles west of the Wiley’s Well Road Overcrossing (PM R134.0) in the County of Riverside. Rehabilitation activities include removal and replacement of existing inside and outside shoulders, guardrails, rumble strips, drainage inlets, and dikes, and installation of oversized drains. The proposed project will also involve upgrades to ramp facilities for ADA compliance, installation of two temporary detour lanes in the existing median, extension of existing rock slope protection (RSP) at 44 bridge locations, and hydroseeding the median for erosion control and vegetation restoration.
  • Caltrans, contractor agree to pay $50K to TRPA for Emerald Bay construction violations. Regulators have reached a settlement agreement with the state transportation department and its contractor over violations, some of which were captured on video and sparked public outrage, that occurred in 2018 near one of the most iconic parts of Lake Tahoe. But the man who filed the complaint that led to the corrective action says it fails to go far enough. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board signed off on a settlement agreement with Caltrans and Stewart Engineering Inc., Wednesday over mistakes made during a road stabilization project on California Route 89 in Emerald Bay last May.
  • Caltrans grapples with Coastal Commission delay of 101 corridor project. Caltrans’ decade-long plan to revamp U.S. Highway 101 for “safety improvements” could hit a speed bump in state funding, an official said following the state Coastal Commission’s decision to delay consideration of the project until the commission’s August meeting in Eureka.  When the Coastal Commission convenes at the Wharfinger Building in August, local residents will have the chance to comment on some of the project’s more controversial elements, including its potential traffic impacts and how much the plan incorporates impending sea-level rise into its proposed highway renovations.
  • Transit agencies in Orange, Riverside counties headed for showdown over 241, 91 toll lane connection. Caltrans recently received a 23-page letter from Riverside County transportation officials about all the things they think are wrong with plans for bridges that would let toll road drivers bypass lanes of traffic to get between the 241 and 91 freeways. The state agency and toll road officials say they’re taking seriously those concerns – also shared by Orange County’s transit agency – as they decide whether to start designing the $180 million ramps, but “as of now we are moving forward with the project,” Caltrans spokesman David Matza said.
  • Caltrans awards $40.5 million to local agencies for transportation projects. Here in Sonoma County, we could really use some of that money, specifically to FIX Coast Highway One. Now there are TWO slides into the sea that require detours, bright lights, and one-lane passage. Last year CalTrans met with coast communities to discuss the proposed repairs, what EIRs would be required, where the new road would be routed, etc. In the meantime, there have only been bandaids to keep Highway from slipping further into the sea.
  • Highway 49 in Mariposa County Now Open from Bear Valley to Coulterville. Caltrans has completed repairs and opened northbound and southbound State Route 49 (SR-49) from Bear Valley Road to SR-132 in Coulterville.  The closure began on Monday, April 29, 2019.  The shoulders of SR-49 at multiple locations (including the entire roadside embankment) were shifting away from the highway.
  • Sonoma Coast erosion forces Highway 1 lane closure, with a long-term fix years out. A stretch of southbound Highway 1 on the Sonoma Coast at risk of failure from coastal erosion for two decades has finally been abandoned — the cracked and sagging western-most lane shut down for good last week. Abundant winter rainfall and regular wave action undercutting the deteriorating bluffs at Gleason Beach have finally made the affected lane too dangerous for traffic, triggering the emergency closure and switch to a single, shared lane all travelers, Caltrans said.
  • No more Theodore: Street, 60 Freeway signs in Moreno Valley will bear warehouse name. The name of a planned Moreno Valley warehouse complex will appear on new 60 Freeway exit signs after action by the Moreno Valley City Council on Tuesday, May 21. And the name of a city pioneer will soon disappear from the freeway corridor. Caltrans spokeswoman Jocelyn Whitfield said the new freeway signs likely will be put up in early 2020.
  • CalTrans updates Bodega Bay residents on Coast Hwy One and Gleason Beach slides. With over 4 – 6 Million visitors traveling through Bodega Bay on Highway 1, sections of the road have deteriorated so much that for the safety of motorists & bicyclists, two sections have immediately been reduced to a single lane.  Last night, May 24th, Caltrans showed up in force to discuss the repair projects and the sudden closures, concentrating on two areas directly impacting Highway 1 through Bodega Bay – Just South of Bay Hill Road& then at Gleason Beach. The meeting was well-attended with approximately 75 locals, standing room only. Caltrans listened to concerns and answered questions.
  • Overnight Project on Highway 101 Begins Tuesday. An overnight, overlay/paving project along U.S. Highway 101 from the northern city limits of Buellton to just past the State Route 101/154 separation will begin next Tuesday, May 28, Caltrans officials have announced today.
  • North Bay highway construction projects on 101, 37 roll toward congestion relief. Suzanne Smith has been executive director of Sonoma County Transportation Authority since October 1997. The agency coordinates regional, state and federal funding for transportation projects and manages Measure M, the county’s quarter-cent sales tax. Smith is set to speak at the Business Journal’s May 29 Building the North Bay conference. In this interview, Smith highlights some of the region’s big highway projects and their path toward reality soon. It has been edited for clarity.
  • Routes to Southern California resort get more storm damage.  Two highways leading to the Southern California mountain resort of Idyllwild have been further damaged by late-season May storms even as they are still undergoing repairs following a powerful winter downpour. The Press-Enterprise reports that Caltrans estimates it will be two more months before State Route 74 fully reopens, and there’s no projection for when an extensively damaged section of the 243 will reopen.
  • Working To Smooth A Bumpy Ride. Next week, Caltrans is set to begin a project that will smooth the current bumpy ride on a section of Highway 108. The six-month, $731,000 culvert replacement project will begin on Monday with funding coming from the approved SB 1 “Road Repair and Accountability Act,” or 12 cent a gallon gas tax.  In all, four culverts will be replaced, one near Donnell Lake and three others by the Tuolumne/Mono County line.
  • I-5 Empire Avenue interchange. Crews constructing the I-5 Empire Avenue interchange in #Burbank are also improving the “old” part of Empire Ave. to re-open it at Victory Place. “Old” Empire Ave. & Victory Place soon will be an intersection w/ stop signs in all 3 directions.
  • Prominent Santa Rosa citizens paved the way for the Golden Gate Bridge. It is hard to fathom, but there was a time when the Redwood Empire held an enormous clout over the development of transportation in the Bay Area. In 1920, Sonoma County ranked eighth in terms of agricultural production in the entire country. It was still 10th by 1935. When motor vehicles began to out-pace trains and boats, the prominent citizens of the North Bay looked for more efficient ways to transport produce to their constituents.
  • Repairs to Highways 74, 243 delayed by recent rainfall, Caltrans says. Work has been delayed on two critical cross-mountain roads, one linking Mountain Center with Hemet and the other with Interstate 10, due to recent storms that further damaged the already crumbling roadways shattered by heavy rains on Feb. 14. Caltrans officials said work on State Route 74 was delayed at least two months and reconstruction on State Route 243 has no time frame for completion. Initial estimates indicated Highway 74 would reopen by Memorial Day and Highway 243 perhaps by year’s end.

The following are this month’s post by Tom Fearer over on Gribblenation:

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