🛣️ Headlines about California Highways – July 2019

Ah, July. The middle of the year. The month started with Caltrans redesigning all their websites in response to AB 434, which required all state websites to be accessible. In doing so, a number of resources went permanently or temporarily unavailable. I was in the middle of a highway page update when this happened, so this made life fun. I will repeat the offer I made to Caltrans and the CTC then: If you have resources you can no longer make available due to AB 434, I will be glad to either host them here or help find a roadgeek website to host them, as roadgeek websites are not subject to AB 434. Of course, modulo the updates, I’ve been collecting headlines. Items marked with ✔ have already been incorporated into the highway page updates; 💲 indicates an annoying paywall may be in place (I don’t mark the LA Times, as I subscribe to the LA Times):

  • Actions taken by the Metro Board of Directors at their June meeting. Includes an update on projects connected to Measure R, as well as certification of the Final Environmental Impact for the Link Union Station project.
  • 💲 New Embarcadero Bridge over Lake Merritt channel finally opens. Two and a half years late, the replacement of Oakland’s Embarcadero bridge over the Lake Merritt Channel — linking Jack London Square and Brooklyn Basin — finally opened this week. Because the old bridge was seismically unsafe, the city opted to demolish it in 2015. An 18-foot wider, 6-foot taller bridge was built in its place. The new bridge features a 5-foot sidewalk on one side and a 12-foot sidewalk on the other side, as well as bike lanes on either side of the two-lane road. The bridge is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail — a 500-mile walking and cycling path in the works around the entire San Francisco Bay. Oakland Department of Transportation director Ryan Russo, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bridge Friday, touted the new bridge as complementing the housing development at Jack London Square and the 3,100-unit Brooklyn Basin complex — one phase of which will open later this summer.
  • San Rafael offramp project cost surges by $4.3M. The cost to replace an aging Highway 101 offramp that crosses San Rafael Creek went up by $4.3 million following issues with construction bidding, according to the California Department of Transportation. Caltrans plans to re-advertise the construction contract, delaying to 2020 the project that was supposed to begin construction this summer.
  • ✔ 💲 City blames poor Caltrans maintenance for CarMax fire, issues emergency resolution. A fire that burned 86 vehicles in a CarMax lot has sparked frustration among local leaders, who say the damage could have been prevented if Caltrans had better maintained the median where the fire began. The Bakersfield Fire Department has determined that the conditions of the grass and brush along Highway 99, where the fire began, allowed the fire to spread rapidly across the median, and eventually caused $2.1 million in damage to vehicles in the lot last week.
  • ✔ 💲 Carbon Canyon truck ban in the hands of Caltrans. Chino Hills and Brea have each adopted resolutions requesting Caltrans to ban large truck traffic from using Carbon Canyon Road. The cities submitted the resolutions to Caltrans June 19. State Route 142 extends from Chino Hills Parkway in Chino Hills to Valencia Avenue in Brea and is in the jurisdiction of Caltrans 8 and Caltrans 12.

  • Caltrans: Initial Fixes on RSR Bridge Due to Complete in July. It’s never good when crumbling concrete falls off an aging highway bridge, but particularly so on one that crosses a portion of San Francisco Bay, one of the busiest traffic corridors in the world. The structure in question is the 5½-mi.-long Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the northernmost of the Bay’s five crossing points. Opened in 1956, it utilizes two decks to carry traffic across Interstate 580 and connects San Rafael in the west to Richmond in the east.
  • More Than Half a Billion Dollars Allocated to Preserve and Upgrade Highways and Bridge.  The California Transportation Commission allocated more than $533 million for 120 State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) projects throughout California, including more than $229 million for 42 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Projects allocated SB 1 funds at the June CTC meeting will improve 11 bridges, more than 346 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 547 congestion reducing devices, and repair 155 culverts to prevent flooding on highways. [Calavaras County] Area state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • Shoulder Widening Project Begins on State Route 18. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin a safety operation on State Route 18 (SR-18) in and near the city of Adelanto from the United States Highway 395 (US-395) junction to 263rd East Street. This project will include the widening of existing shoulders to state standards and the installation of center line and shoulder rumble strips.
  • CTC July 2019 Allocation. The California Department of Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated more than $533 million for 120 State Highway Operation and Protection
    program (SHOPP) projects throughout California, including more than $229 million for fix it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of
    2017. The CTC Allocation of SB 1 Funds helps Caltrans stay on target to reach 2027 goals. Projects allocated SB 1 funds at the June CTC meeting will improve 11 bridges, more han 346 lane miles of pavement, upgraded 547 congestion reducing devices, and repair 55 culverts to prevent flooding on highways. [San Bernardino area] state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include: …
  • ✔ 💲 Relief coming on Richmond Bridge soon: Roadshow. Q: Do you have any update on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge emergency project? It would be great to know how long the lengthy commutes will last.
  • I-80 HOV lane in Fairfield to close partially. The High Occupancy Vehicle lane on westbound Interstate 80 will temporarily end at the Abernathy Road on-ramp starting on Monday, the state Department of Transportation announced. Caltrans crews are replacing concrete slab on the Dan Wilson Creek Bridge near the westbound I-80 Cordelia Truck Scales. The work, expected to continue to October, will reduce the number of lanes from six to five, Caltrans announced.
  • Transportation Commission Allocates More than $530M for State’s Highways, Bridges. The California Transportation Commission allocated more than $533 million for 120 State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) projects throughout California, including more than $229 million for 42 fix-it-first projects funded by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Projects allocated SB 1 funds at the June CTC meeting will improve 11 bridges, more than 346 lane miles of pavement, upgrade 547 congestion reducing devices, and repair 155 culverts to prevent flooding on highways. [Los Angeles] Area state highway projects allocated SB 1 funds include:
  • US 395 Projects in Inyo, Mono, and Kern Counties. Caltrans has begun construction on several projects in Inyo, Mono, and Eastern Kern Counties. In Inyo County, the South Lone Pine CAPM project on US Highway 395 between Lone Pine and East Inyo Street is underway. The project will remove the existing pavement and will place a new asphalt surface. Construction on this project began in May and should be completed by the end of August 2019. This $5,781,015 project was awarded to Granite Construction Company from Bakersfield, CA. During weekday-daylight hours, traffic may encounter various lane closures.
  • Route 210 Freeway in Fontana will receive improvements thanks to gas tax money. Funds for improvements along the Route 210 Freeway in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga have been allocated by the state thanks to the increase in the gasoline tax which was approved by the Legislature two years ago, officials said. The $4.4 million traffic management systems project will help reduce congestion and improve operation efficiency by installing closed circuit TV cameras and a new communication conduit to connect to vehicle detection equipment. This project will stretch from East Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga to west of Beech Avenue in Fontana, and on Interstate 15 at the 210/I-15 separation in the local area.
  • 710 Freeway Fighters Leave Lasting Legacy. Every few miles along the drive up the Long Beach Freeway, cars pass underneath huge, green highway signs that span the roadway’s lanes: “Interstate 710 North,” they say. “Pasadena.” But Interstate 710 does not go to Pasadena. And therein lies a saga. You know it already. A determined group of citizens and municipal leaders fought an improbable, multi-generational battle to protect their beloved, 3.42 square-mile domestic oasis from a steamroller of self-proclaimed modernity. The institutional effort to extend I-710 through the heart of South Pasadena was defeated.
  • Project to Install Safety Median on Highway 74 Starts Monday. A project to install a roughly five-mile median on state Route 74 through Hemet and Valle Vista will get underway Monday, and motorists were advised to expect delays in the construction zone. The $13.1 million Route 74 Raised Curb Median Safety Project will involve placing a divider between the east- and westbound sides of the four-lane road, which is also known as Florida Avenue. According to Caltrans, one lane on each side of the state highway, between West Acacia Avenue and the Ramona Expressway, will be closed to traffic at intervals over the yearlong project, which is slated to wrap up next summer.
  • Marin County, cities receive $6.2 million for road projects. Marin County communities are set to begin work repaving and repairing local roadways after receiving a $6.2 million funding boost this week. The Transportation Authority of Marin Board of Commissioners recently authorized the disbursement of nearly $6.2 million in funding to Marin’s 11 cities and the county government as of July 1. Marin County, San Rafael and Novato walked away with the largest amounts at $2.1 million, $1.2 million and $1.1 million respectively.
  • Raised Curb Median and Reconfiguration of Left Turn Pockets Project on SR-18. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin a safety operation on State Route 18 (SR-18) in Victorville from Cobalt Road to the United States Highway 395 (US-395). This $15 million project will construct a raised curb median and include the reconfiguration of left turn pockets to enhance safety and help eliminate cross median collisions. Beginning July 15 lanes will be reduced from two lanes to one lane in each direction from US-395 to Cobalt Road. Speed reductions will be posted to reduce the speed limit to 10 miles per hour in the work zone. Construction will take place Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Businesses will remain open during construction.
  • Clear path ahead for Highway 17 animal corridor, with $5 million campaign complete. The first animal corridor to bridge Highway 17 is on track to be completed in 2022 as the last piece of financing for the $12 million project fell into place this week. Land Trust Santa Cruz County announced completion of a $5 million fundraising campaign Tuesday, $3 million of which was raised in support of the plan to tunnel beneath Highway 17’s most dangerous stretch of roadway for mountain lions and other critters.
  • Caltrans to repave HWY 1 between Cayucos and Harmony. Caltrans will continue a resurfacing project on the ramps and shoulders of Highway 1 from Cayucos to Harmony Valley Road. The surface repaving project will be on Highway 1 from south of 13th Street in Cayucos to Harmony Valley Road.
  • The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim. THE CALIFORNIA COAST GREW AND PROSPERED during a remarkable moment in history when the sea was at its tamest. But the mighty Pacific, unbeknownst to all, was nearing its final years of a calm but unusual cycle that had lulled dreaming settlers into a false sense of endless summer. Elsewhere, Miami has been drowning, Louisiana shrinking, North Carolina’s beaches disappearing like a time lapse with no ending. While other regions grappled with destructive waves and rising seas, the West Coast for decades was spared by a rare confluence of favorable winds and cooler water. This “sea level rise suppression,” as scientists call it, went largely undetected. Blinded from the consequences of a warming planet, Californians kept building right to the water’s edge.
  • Why animals are getting their own freeway overpasses in California, the West; more planned. Forget those dangerous dashes across busy highways: If animals had their own Waze app directing them to the nearest wildlife bridge or underpass, fewer would end up dead on the side of the road and a lot more would be bonding with their mates and sharing a healthy meal. While no such app exists, the proliferation of animal-friendly passages in car-choked Southern California is becoming a new reality, prompting humans to direct creatures to take animal-only highways and to build more of them, enabling smarter animal transportation just like those app-monitoring motorists who find new side-street shortcuts.
  • Complete Streets Bill Passes Assembly Transportation Committee. Moses Trujillo pretty much won the vote before the discussion even started. Testifying to the Assembly Transportation Committee in support of Senator Scott Wiener’s complete streets bill, he told them: “My mom won’t let me walk to school alone, even though I’m going to be in the fifth grade,” he said, “because it’s too dangerous.” That’s because to get to school, which is near his home in Berkeley, he has to cross State Highway 13, also known as Ashby Avenue. That street, which runs next to his school playground, is “basically a four-lane highway,” he said. “Often cars are weaving, paying more attention to getting somewhere than to people trying to cross the street.”
  • Project to Install Safety Median on Highway 74 Starts. A project to install a roughly five-mile median on state Route 74 through Hemet and Valle Vista will begin Monday, and motorists were advised to expect delays in the construction zone. The $13.1 million Route 74 Raised Curb Median Safety Project will involve placing a divider between the eastbound and westbound sides of the four- lane road, which is also known as Florida Avenue.
  • Marin transportation agency allocates $20M for projects. The Transportation Authority of Marin allocated more than $20 million on Monday to revamp several of the county’s major thoroughfares. Among the projects that received funding are congestion improvements on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and a proposal to build a direct connector from northbound Highway 101 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. At its meeting in San Rafael, the transportation authority’s board voted unanimously to allocate the $20.2 million in Measure A and Measure AA sales tax revenues to Novato, San Rafael, Marin County and others to either begin initial studies or construction of the various projects.
  • LA River’s Atwater Village-Griffith Park bridge taking shape. Drivers crawling up the 5 freeway near Atwater Village may have noticed a giant white beam sticking out of the Los Angeles River. That large white structure is part of a bridge that, when complete, will connect pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians traveling between Atwater Village and Griffith Park. Construction on the North Atwater Bridge began in the spring of 2018, and now the bridge’s larger pieces are starting to materialize in the river bed.
  • State Route 99 project gets $48.1m in SB1 funds. A State Route 99 project between Kingsburg and Selma just received $48.1 million in Senate Bill 1 dollars, according to a July 2 press release from the California Transportation Commission. The pavement preservation project will replace 16.6 lane miles of State Route 99 from SR-201 in Kingsburg to south of Second Street in Selma. It is a $50.4 million pavement project but Caltrans allocated $48.1 million.
  • Highway 20 traffic calming project seeks public comment on interactive map. Community members are invited to participate in a project that’s looking at traffic calming measures on Highway 20 in four Northshore communities, with an interactive map offered as a way for area residents to record their concerns. The Lake Area Planning Council and the Sacramento-based firm W-Trans are working on the Highway 20 project as well as one for the 11th Street corridor in Lakeport. Initial meetings on both projects took place in May, as Lake County News has reported.
  • Project to install safety median on Highway 74 starts. A project to install a roughly five-mile median on state Route 74 through Hemet and Valle Vista began on Monday, July 8, and motorists were advised to expect delays in the construction zone. The $13.1 million Route 74 Raised Curb Median Safety Project will involve placing a divider between the eastbound and westbound sides of the four-lane road, which is also known as Florida Avenue.
  • Agencies aim to improve San Mateo County coastside communication. After a power outage and what many described as a communication breakdown led to hours of gridlock on the San Mateo County coastside in March, utility companies and state agencies have taken steps to prevent such occurrences from happening again.  On March 12, a power outage necessitated the closure of the Tom Lantos tunnels because the overhead jet fans, needed to maintain air quality and prevent fires, could not operate. That forced many residents in and around Half Moon Bay to return home via State Route 92 instead, but there was a lane closure on that highway at the same time due to pre-planned tree trimming. As a result, motorists reported sitting in traffic for up to four hours that day. There was widespread frustration about the tunnels being closed for eight hours and many wondered why Caltrans and Pacific Gas and Electric were unable to communicate with one another and put the tree trimming on pause at the time. There was also frustration that SMC Alert, the county’s emergency alert system, failed to notify users when the tunnels on Highway 1 just south of Pacifica reopened.
  • Dollars for decongestion: Placer County receives grant to develop transportation plan. Placer County is looking to tackle traffic congestion along State Routes 28, 267 and 89, which make up the Resort Triangle area. The county was recently awarded a $600,000 grant from Caltrans through California’s gas tax, to develop a Resort Triangle Transportation Plan. Once completed the plan will provide a path to address traffic congestion, transportation demand, parking management, and ways to reduce the number of vehicle trips drivers are taking. “One of the elements of the grant is to really look at transportation demand management,” said Stephanie Holloway, senior civil engineer for Placer County. “How we get people out of their cars and into alternative modes.”
  • ✔ 💲 Toll lanes likely coming to 91, 60, 215 freeways in Riverside County – Press Enterprise. Love them or hate them, more miles of toll lanes are probably coming to Riverside County. A road-building agency is poised to launch a $1.4 million engineering study to examine what it would take to extend Corona’s 91 Freeway toll lanes east to downtown Riverside, and to add toll lanes on the 60 and 215 freeways in Jurupa Valley, Riverside and Moreno Valley. They wouldn’t be built tomorrow or next year. But the Riverside County Transportation Commission’s analysis would set the stage for a potential roll-out during the 2020s.
  • State Route 120 Union Road Interchange Improvement Project | Caltrans. The City of Manteca (City), in cooperation with the City of Manteca Redevelopment Agency, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG), proposes to reconfigure the existing State Route (SR) 120/Union Road interchange to provide sufficient capacity to serve the project design year traffic volumes. A diverging diamond interchange configuration has been selected based on additional engineering analysis and environmental revalidation.
  • SR-108/Mackey Ranch Road Roundabout. D10 Director Dan McElhinney (left) & Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians in California Tribal Chairman Lloyd Mathiesen partner with their teams to discuss expediting SR-108/Mackey Ranch Road safety roundabout – a Tribe project near Jamestown – to earlier completion in 2020. (Note: This is actually on Route 49)
  • LTBP InfoBridge – Data. Bridge Selection and Data Presentation.
  • Santa Barbara Road Project Site. Information on projects in the Santa Barbara 101 Corridor: Santa Barbara to Mussel Shoals.
  • (For NY State Links) Forgotten Railways, Roads & Places: The Ghosts of New York City’s Expressway System. While this blog is about New York City, I preface it with how I came to have an interest in the Interstate Highway System. As a child growing up outside of Chicago, I lived by two interstates, I-55 and I-355. I knew they had to be related somehow; what are the odds that roads with such similar numbers intersected by accident? I thankfully found out all one would need to know about the Interstate Highway System and US Routes in general from late-90’s and early 00’s websites like AARoads.com, Kurumi’s 3-digit interstates page, and the International House of ZZYZX. Each had some very highly detailed information on what I was looking for, and would be the catalyst into the beginnings of my roadgeekery. Indeed, I-355 was a child interstate of I-55, in that it spurred off from 55 in a much shorter route than it’s parent. I was further interested in roads that were proposed, but never built, such as Chicago’s Crosstown Expy, as well as completely decommissioned routes.
  • In Love With The 2: An ode to a Northeast L.A. freeway. There is nothing more pure for a seasoned Los Angeles driver than swooping up and over on the most glorious freeway ever constructed – the State Route 2 (SR2), or known to us in Northeast Los Angeles who love it, The 2. The 2. The Glendale Freeway. The Beloved 2. The 2 Above Them All. The Freeway That Always Makes You Wish You Had a Convertible. The 2 That Takes You Away.
  • The ups and downs of a tiny California desert town. Taking a road trip down Route 66, it’s possible you’ll skip the town of Amboy, California entirely. Amboy is so tiny that if you blink, you might actually miss it. But don’t, as this historic little town has a lot more to it than you think. The classic neon sign stands like a beacon in the middle of the desert, calling over travelers looking for a break from the dusty road as well as those seeking a bit of Route 66 kitsch. Even on a summer day, with temperatures well above 100 degrees, the historic Roy’s Motel and Cafe—the main attraction of Amboy—is full of cars, motorcycles, and tour buses. You can find crowds of people enjoying a cold Route 66-branded root beer, posing for a photo with the restored neon sign, and standing on the iconic highway.
  • Funding enables California DOT to extend life of 18 bridges on I-5, SR 152. Construction recently began on improvements to State Route 152 and Interstate 5 in California’s Merced County under funds provided by Senate Bill 1, which allow for work to keep 18 bridges functioning throughout the state. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) estimates the roads see around 65,000 vehicles each day, including a sizable amount of heavy truck traffic. The $4.7 million project has been awarded to Myers and Sons Construction. Crews will replace joint seals, repair and restore the roadway, and improve traffic safety.
  • 710 Proposal Moves Two Steps Closer to Extinction. With the state legislature approaching a Friday recess, two bills that would move the long-controversial 710 Freeway proposal closer to its official, final doom advanced this past week in Sacramento. The bills, sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Holden and Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, both cleared committee hurdles, moving a step closer to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. But that final step remains a ways away. Holden and Portantino both represent South Pasadena. Holden’s legislation – Assembly Bill 29 – unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Transportation on Tuesday. It next moves on to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which is chaired by Portantino. Portantino’s bill – Senate Bill 7 – passed the Assembly Transportation Committee.
  • Officials to talk about Highway 395 widening. California transportation officials are hosting a meeting 6-7 p.m. Tuesday in Walker to discuss widening of the shoulders along Highway 395. The California Department of Transportation is holding the meeting at 442 Mule Deer Road. Representatives from Caltrans and contractor Road & Highway Builders will be available to discuss construction activities, proposed traffic delays, and miscellaneous project information.
  • Caltrans District Workers Interchange. Twitter report on the installation of the sign.
  • Installation of a Rock-fall Barrier on SR-330. Installation of a Rock-fall Barrier on SR-330 to begin this week!
  • Echo Summit Viaduct Website. Learn more about U.S. Highway 50 roadwork 7 miles from South Lake Tahoe.
  • The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay. Ever wonder why getting around the South Bay depends mostly on the use of surface streets? A few freeways impact the area: the 405, the 91, the 110 and the 105. But large swaths remain freeway-less. It seems like a miscalculation and lack of foresight, this failure to link a primo business and retail hub more directly with the freeway system. The truth is, the California State Division of Highways was on top of the situation, having already begun to look at possible freeway routes in the early 1960s. One alarmist article on the Torrance Herald front page of Oct. 17, 1963 announced that state officials were considering running a freeway right down the Lomita Blvd. right of way in Torrance and Lomita:
  • Newsom signs bill to name Route 128 as a Scenic Highway. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 998 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, into law. This bill makes State Route 128 eligible to be designated as an official “Scenic Highway,” which will increase local economic activity in the North Bay and parts of Northern California, and bring newfound appreciation to the beauty of the route.
  • Caltrans Accelerates Bridge Repairs on State Route 152 & Interstate 5 in Merced County Due to SB 1 Funds. Caltrans will improve and extend the service life of 18 bridges on Interstate 5 and State Route 152 in Merced County, due to the funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. “I-5 and SR-152 are vital roadways for industrial, agricultural, commercial, and recreational purposes in Merced County. This SB 1 funded project will save taxpayers millions of dollars in costly repairs in the future, provide motorists with a smooth commute, and ensure the Central Valley’s agricultural industry has sustainable routes to keep business booming.”
  • Caltrans making State Route 12 improvements in Solano County this week. Caltrans is scheduled to perform overnight paving work on State Route 12 to repair the road in two Solano County locations Wednesday through Saturday, agency officials announced. The work is part of an ongoing paving project in this area that will continue through October.
  • Installation of Rock Fall Barrier on State Route 330 to Begin.  The California Department of Transportation will begin a rock fall barrier project on State Route 330 near Running Springs tomorrow. The $5 million contract was awarded to Spectrum Construction Group, Inc. from Irvine. This project will remove rock debris from the slope, excavate and reduce slope size and install two rock-fall barriers at postmiles 37 and 39.
  • Aspen/Walker Shoulder Widening Project. Caltrans would like to invite the public to a construction project meeting on Tuesday, July 16th from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Antelope Valley Community Center located at 442 Mule Deer Road, in Walker, CA. Representatives from Caltrans and Road & Highway Builders, LLC will be available to discuss construction activities, proposed traffic delays, and miscellaneous project information.
  • Active Projects | State Route 99/120 Interchange Connector Reconstruction. SJCOG Active Projects.
  • First ‘Texas U-Turn’ in California to open at port’s bridge project. An innovative traffic feature of the new bridge under construction at the Port of Long Beach is scheduled to open early on Saturday, July 20, enabling trucks and other vehicles to make a safe and free-flowing U-turn at the west end of the project. The “port access undercrossing” is a second tunnel near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and State Route 47 (SR-47) on Terminal Island. This “Texas U-turn,” so named because it’s a common feature at intersections in the Lone Star state, enables vehicles traveling on one side of a one-way frontage road to make a U-turn onto the opposite frontage road without stopping at a traffic signal.
  • American Canyon sued by environmental group over Highway 29 plan. A lawsuit claims American Canyon’s ideas to transform car-centric Broadway – aka Highway 29 – into a pedestrian-and-cyclist-friendly main drag with more residences and businesses has flaws that need mending. City officials at a June 18 City Council meeting praised the Broadway District Specific Plan. They talked about creating over two decades a coherent, appealing look amid what is now a hodgepodge of highway-fronting developments and vacant lots.
  • Prepare to be perplexed: New diverging diamond interchanges coming to California. A new kind of freeway interchange is coming to California — possibly to Berkeley, in time — and it’s likely to make drivers scratch their heads in confusion. It’s called a diverging diamond. To enter the freeway, the cutting-edge interchange requires drivers to veer at a 45-degree angle across the center divide, switching sides with opposing traffic and briefly motoring across as if they are in England.
  • Two new lanes coming to a Madera County stretch of Highway 99. Nearly $90 million and a decade later: a section of Highway 99 in Madera County will finally get a makeover many say is overdue. Construction starts Aug. 5 to add a lane on the northbound side, as well as the southbound side, between Avenue 12 and Avenue 17. The work is set to happen at night to avoid commuters. It’s slated to end summer 2020.
  • Landscape Architecture Programs.. Note: This link is here to remind me to revisit the links and fix broken Caltrans links on my stypes page.
  • Idyllwild prized its isolation. Now, with the roads into town wrecked, it feels all alone. In this mountain community with the dreamy self-image, politics once focused on things like excessive flyovers by commercial airliners, the proliferation of stray pets and the alleged unfairness of a grocery store’s DVD kiosk competing with the town’s beloved video store. Idyllwild’s causes celebres tended toward high passion, but usually without a life-altering wallop. That changed in a seeming instant five months ago, when record-setting rainfall washed away one main road to the community and left another severely damaged and available only part of each day.
  • Building a park or housing on those 710 Freeway stubs are off the table for now. Representatives of cities affected by the recent decision to kill the extension of the 710 Freeway voiced concerns Friday about plans to close the Alhambra freeway “stub” at the 10 Freeway. Alhambra has envisioned reclaiming the 51 acres of concrete freeway lanes from the 10 Freeway north to Valley Boulevard and transforming them into a regional park. But neighbors say without the roadway extensions already provided, traffic would be redirected into their cities, making congestion worse.
  • Caltrans making State Route 12 improvements in Solano County this week. Caltrans is scheduled to perform overnight paving work on State Route 12 to repair the road in two Solano County locations Wednesday through Saturday, agency officials announced. The work is part of an ongoing paving project in this area that will continue through October. The work will require temporary overnight lane closures with one-way traffic controls, they said. It will be performed in two locations: Between Shiloh Road in Solano County and Walters Road in Suisun, and between Church Road and Currie Road in Rio Vista.
  • City Says SR-241 Proposals are Out of Bounds. The city of San Clemente and the Reserve Maintenance Corporation have filed a joint motion seeking to prove the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) lack the authority to override state law in their intentions to extend SR-241 Highway through San Clemente or north of the city.
  • Caltrans to close 3 ramps to Hwy 101, detours on W. Laurel, N. Main. Get ready for gridlock, Salinas.  Three Highway 101 ramps in Salinas will be closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including the southbound on- and off-ramps from North Main Street for repairs, according to the California Department of Transportation.  The closures, which also include the southbound East Market Street off-ramp, will be staggered starting Tuesday, but all three closures will overlap between Aug. 2 and 12, said Jim Shivers, spokesman for Caltrans District 5.
  • The 60 Freeway will be closed for 15 weekends starting next week. A major freeway artery will undergo repairs for 15 weekends over the next four months. Multiple freeway projects start Monday, affecting drivers who take State Route 60. According to the California Department of Transportation, closures on the 60 Freeway from Ontario to Riverside will start July 22 and last through mid-November.
  • Caltrans: Long-term traffic switch on Hwy. 99. Long-term changes are coming to Highway 99 in Bakersfield beginning Sunday night, according to Caltrans. The traffic switches are part of the Bakersfield 99 Rehab project that’s expected to last at least a year. Caltrans says these are the changes that drivers can expect: The left-most (No. 1) lane of northbound Highway 99 will be diverted onto the southbound Highway 99 side of the center median. This will occur between Palm Avenue and Olive Drive beginning Sunday, July 21.
  • Summer 2019 Mile Marker. Topics: Director’s Message. Mile Markers. Drone Fleet. Fish Passages. New Laws. Equipment Uptime. Federal Redistribution. Project Spotlight. Movable Bridges. Mileposts. Wildlife Corridors. Early Warning System. Fog Alerts. Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety. From the Archives.
  • 💲 Fix complete for falling concrete on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. There will be no more steel plates to slow motorists on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge: Caltrans officials said the work to replace 31 aging steel joints and the crumbling concrete around them was completed early Tuesday morning. Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority undertook the repairs after motorists reported chunks of falling concrete at least four times within a span of two months from February to April. The pieces were described as being as large as baseballs or even footballs. Some damaged cars but no injuries were caused by the concrete.
  • County faces protests of Hwy. 101 rezoning plans. Faced with a need to increase San Benito County coffers, officials are considering the creation of commercial zones at four intersections along Highway 101. The County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider zoning changes along the state highway between Aromas and San Juan Bautista in August, following a Planning Commission recommendation in May. The four commercial “nodes,” as they are called, are located along the highway at Betabel Road and Highway 129/Searle Road in San Juan Bautista, and Rocks Ranch and 101 Livestock Market in Aromas.
  • New roundabouts in SLO CA proposed to improve traffic flow. A total of seven new roundabouts could be added to the San Luis Obispo area over the next few years — and at least some residents living just south of the city are none too pleased about a potential one on Highway 227. Plans for roundabouts call for six new traffic circles within SLO’s limits to add to the existing four roundabouts citywide.
  • Route 60 Bridge Replacement as part of “Swarm”. SB1 Bridge Replacement Project on Route 60 (FB Post). Pipeline Ave, Monte Vista Ave, Benson Ave.
  • Caltrans using goats to control non-native plants on Highway 1. Caltrans is using goats to aid in controlling weeds within a 20-acre site adjacent to Highway 1 just north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Instead of relying on herbicides, Caltrans is taking a more sustainable approach to revitalizing the native coastal prairie adjacent to the recent highway realignment project that was completed in 2017. On Monday July 15, two double decker trucks unloaded about 300 animals to help remove invasive non-native weeds such as bur clover, mustard, and thistle. The animals are confined to selected grazing areas by temporary fencing which is moved every few days. These goats will graze at a rate of approximately one acre per day, for the next three weeks. This project will also help to reduce the use of herbicides.
  • Construction barrier could take Hwy 99 drivers on a long diversion. Be careful: The ongoing construction along Highway 99 could take you on a longer ride than you intend. Commuters taking the freeway northbound from Stockdale Highway or points south to any of the city’s northernmost off-ramps will want to stay out of the No. 1, “fast” lane, lest they miss their exit and find themselves forced to drive all the way to Porterville Highway.
  • Tahoe Roads column: Update on summer construction at Lake Tahoe. This edition will provide an update on Caltrans’ three U.S. Highway 50 projects in the Tahoe basin: The “Y” to Trout Creek water-quality improvement project, the viaduct replacement project on Echo Summit and the new three-legged roundabout in Meyers. Construction crews lost about two weeks of work time due to late-season storms. Now, all projects are in full-swing and trying to make up for lost time.
  • HISTORY: Going to Donner Lake … on the Lincoln Highway. Before there were whizzing cars and big-rig tractor-trailers speeding 65 mph (and higher) on Interstate 80, the first transcontinental highway was the Lincoln Highway, commemorating the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln. Today much of this historic 100-plus year-old road is accessible, however it was replaced in 1926 by U.S. Highway 40. If a traveler gets off the interstate’s beaten path, segments can be visited.
  • Union City plans to take over land for major connector road. Union City is moving forward with a long-stalled controversial major roadway project that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, despite continued criticism that it will create more traffic congestion and pose major environmental risks. City staff are working to acquire 36 acres of state-owned land within its borders, with plans to eventually sell much of it to a housing developer to help finance part of the project previously known as the East-West Connector.
  • Inside the Icon: Cabrillo Bridge – San Diego Magazine – August 2019 – San Diego, California. If You Build It … they will cross it. That was the premise for erecting Cabrillo Bridge as a dramatic 916-foot-long entry into Balboa Park for the 1915 Panama–California Exposition. Construction started in December 1912 and was carried out mostly by hand. Over a million board feet of redwood was used and 270,000 tons of concrete poured—the equivalent of about 425 Christ the Redeemer statues. It was declared complete on April 13, 1914, when San Diego Mayor Charles F. O’Neill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, then assistant secretary of the Navy, made the inaugural drive over. The bridge was reserved only for pedestrians in its first two years, but special exceptions were made for dignitaries.
  • Inside the Icon: State Route 163 – San Diego Magazine – March 2016 – San Diego, California. Power to the People. Though the north-south freeway was the dream of San Diegans for nearly 15 years, a city charter provision mandates that citizens vote anytime Balboa Park land is developed for non-park purposes. The March 1941 vote resulted in an 8-1 win, allowing for a 200-foot-wide course through Cabrillo Canyon to be used for the freeway.
  • Are Any New Freeways Coming to L.A.? Caltrans Answers. A: Caltrans says that after eight decades of building freeways here, they are finished. There’s currently a tiny expansion of the 71 underway at the southeastern edge of Los Angeles County and an outside chance of a new route connecting Lancaster and Victorville but it looks like the last ribbon of L.A. freeway asphalt has finally been laid. No more reprieve from driving the 405 (aka the world’s largest parking lot.)
  • Walter Frago and Roger Gore Freeway Dedication. Today, a Freeway Memorial Dedication Ceremony was held for fallen Officers Walter Frago and Roger Gore. Gore, Frago, and fellow Officers George Alleyn and James Pence, all lost their lives during a shooting on April 6, 1970.
  • Emergency work planned for State Route 74 starting Monday. The State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced that the agency will begin emergency slope stabilization on State Route 74 (SR-74) — also known as the Ortega Highway — in Lake Elsinore near post mile marker 9.4 on Monday, July 29 at 6 a.m.
  • State Route 99 to be widened. A highway project nine years in the planning was begun Saturday with a groundbreaking at Rotary Park, overlooking State Route 99, which within a year is scheduled to be two lanes wider and much improved. The year-long construction phase, which highway officials say will improve traffic flow through the heart of Madera and surrounding communities, will add two lanes to the freeway between Avenues 12 and 17, rehabilitate some 24 existing lane miles with continuously reinforced concrete pavement, upgrade the Almond Avenue on-ramp, construct 3,500 feet of drainage systems with 70 new drainage inlets, construct five maintenance vehicle pullouts, construct 1,950 feet of sound wall and 25,000 feet of sound barrier.
  • Bill could require bike lanes on state-owned roads. A bill working its way through the California State Legislature could require bike lanes and other “active transportation” amenities to be built on state-owned roads. Senate Bill 127 states that “any capital improvement project located in an active transportation place type on a state highway or a local street crossing a state highway that is funded through the program, shall include new pedestrian and bicycle facilities, or improve existing facilities, as part of the project.”
  • Big I-5 construction project in Sacramento to disrupt traffic. South Sacramento commuters, get ready to adjust your morning work-drive start time. Caltrans will announce next week the start of a massive, several-year-long reconstruction project on Interstate 5 through south Sacramento – one that both the state and some local commuters say is overdue. The $370 million project, which includes replacing the road surface, will take three years and involve extensive lane closures at times, prompting traffic congestion and detours, officials said. Project finish date is set for late 2022.
  • Highway 46 widening gets major funding, including a full interchange at the Cholame “Y”. A fix to a notorious rural San Luis Obispo County intersection has received funding by the state. The $197 million will continue the widening of Highway 46 and will fund a full-freeway interchange between 46 and Highway 41 at the Cholame “Y” intersection — the place where actor James Dean died in an car collision in 1955.
  • Caltrans increases traffic line width with high-profile striping on state highway system. Motorists across the state of California will notice a new generation of road striping on highways, freeways, and interstates that is wider, brighter, and long-lasting. The California DOT (Caltrans) has increased the width of all 4-in.-wide longitudinal traffic lines to 6-in.-wide high-profile striping on the state highway system. The new 6-in.-wide, highly reflective road striping debuted in 2017 as part of the “Across the Top” I-80 project in Sacramento. Crews made various improvements across a 10-mile section of I-80, and the $136 million project was an ideal project to test the new striping since the interstate is heavily traveled and a main route to the capital city. Caltrans was able to see if the materials could sustain the wear and tear of heavy traffic, and monitor the durability and effectiveness of the new striping.
  • The Unfinished History of U.S. Freeway Revolts. In 1955, the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads released the “Yellow Book”—a national blueprint to build out the 41,000-mile Interstate Highway System. The series of maps laid out the proposed routes for this massive project, which was set to be completed by 1969. In the beginning, things went smoothly enough: Highway engineers encountered little opposition from communities in the rural areas. But then builders tried to expand the network into major cities—and the age of the freeway revolts began.
  • 💲 East Bay cities look to reinvent and reinvigorate aging, car-oriented corridors. A new look is coming to the old, midcentury boulevards that crisscross the Bay Area — gray gashes in the landscape designed for cars to cruise at 30 mph. Now, as the Bay Area’s population and economy surges, and demand grows for more housing, roads like San Pablo Avenue in the East Bay and El Camino Real on the Peninsula have become anachronisms. These stretches of asphalt predate the rise of interstate freeways. Their monotonous scenery of drive-throughs, strip malls and gas stations represents a way of life that faded out a long time ago.
  • Progress continues on fixing storm-damaged Highway 74 to Idyllwild. After months of emergency repairs, construction crews on Monday, July 29, began paving damaged sections of Highway 74 on the way to Idyllwild. But, while signaling significant progress for the heavily traveled road between Hemet and Mountain Center that was closed by a winter storm, the milestone doesn’t mean there will be any immediate change in the level of access provided to the beloved mountain resort.
  • Recap of July Metro Board meeting. The Metro Board of Directors held their July meeting last Thursday. Here’s a recap and here’s the agenda and here’s the video. Relevant item: PROGRAM ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR I-10 HOV LANES 2019-0466 PROJECT
  • Caltrans announces a three-year plan to fix Sacramento highways. The California Department of Transportation held a ceremony Tuesday commencing the start of a $370 million plan to help reconstruct Interstate 5, according to a release from the department. The goal of the project, which is being referred to as the SAC 5 Corridor Enhancement Project, is to reduce congestion on I-5, by installing 67 miles of new and rehabilitated lanes. The project will start a mile south of Elk Grove Boulevard and continue to the American River viaduct, just north of downtown Sacramento, as previously reported by The Sacramento Bee.
  • Kramer Junction Update. Facing Eastbound on the unfinished portion of the new alignment of CA-SR-58 at its junction with US-395 (Kramer Junction) in San Bernardino County. Shout out to the Contractors who were kind enough to allow me into the new bridge to shoot some photos! Lookin’ Great guys! Cheers to the end of two hour delays headed home!

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

    • Un-constructed California State Route 235. On my frequent travels through Stockton over the years on California State Route 99 and Interstate 5 I have noted the oddity of un-constructed California State Route 235.  CA 235 was meant to connect CA 99 to I-5 via what is now Hammer Lane.
    • Former California State Route 194 from Downieville to Saddleback Mountain. Back in 2017 I visited Downieville in Sierra County while driving California State Route 49 over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  While in Downieville I passed by the junction of what was former California State Route 194 on Saddleback Road.  The photo below is from an overlook where CA 194 would have terminated at CA 49 just west of Downieville.
    • US Route 395; Nevada State Line south to California State Route 14 (Adventure on El Camino Sierra). Since returning to the West Coast in 2016 I have spent a considerable amount of time out on the corridor of US Route 395 in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  US 395 from the Nevada State Line south to California State Route 14 consists of a section which was once part of  a road known as El Camino Sierra.
    • California State Route 147. Back in 2014 I drove a small portion of California State Route 147 along the eastern shore of Lake Almanor.
    • California State Route 104. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend I drove the entirety of California State Route 104 from CA 99 in Galt east to CA 88 in Martell.
    • California State Route 193. Over the Fourth of July Holiday weekend I drove the entirety of California State Route 193.
    • California State Route 244 and the un-built highways of Metro Sacramento (CA 65, CA 102, CA 143 and CA 148). This past Fourth of July Weekend I drove the entirety of the short California State Route 244 freeway in Sacramento.  CA 244 is a short segment of a freeway that was intended to reach US Route 50 and being a major connecting highway for Metro Sacramento.  This blog will examine the other planned highways of Metro Sacramento which were never fully completed or never built at all; CA 65 south of I-80, CA 102, CA 143 and CA 148.  Most un-built highways around Metro Sacramento are tied to Legislative hurdles dating back to 1975.
    • California State Route 160; the legacy of US Routes 40/50/99/99W/99E, Lincoln Highway, Victory Highway and CA 24. Over the Fourth of July Weekend I drove the entirety of both sections California State Route 160 on the North Sacramento Freeway and Sacrament/San Joaquin River Delta.  In addition, I drove the somewhat recently relinquished segment of CA 160 in downtown Sacramento.  CA 160 is made up of segments of historic highway corridors which once were parts of; the North Lincoln Highway, Victory Highway, US Route 40, US 50, US 99, US 99E and US 99W.
    • Signed County Route J4 and un-built California State Route 239. This past Fourth of July Weekend I drove most of Signed County Route J4 from California State Route 4 southeast towards Interstate 5.  J4 is a unique County Route which incorporates the corridor of un-built California State Route 239 in addition to small portions of the original alignments of US 48 and Lincoln Highway.
    • Chisholm Ferry/Bridge Location and early Legislative Route Number 10. This past month while viewing the site of Chisholm Ferry along the Kings River of Kings County I noticed that route being illustrated resembled an early Californian State Highway.  My suspicions proved correct as the location of Chisholm Ferry was part of the original alignment of Legislative Route Number 10; a precursor to California State Route 198.
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