🛣 October 2019 Headlines about California Highways

No, you shouldn’t be spooked by this . But it has been fire season, and there have been brush fires all over the state, impacting the highways and roads. I ran into this last Monday, as I drove past the Getty fire. But it has affected numerous routes, from the 128 and 101 up North, to the 118, 23, 60, and 57 here in the south. So stay safe if you’re on the roads. Here are your headlines from October. Ready, set, discuss.

P.S.: I have started work on the highway page updates. I’m going through the August headlines now, so it will be a bit.

  • Andew Maloney Memorial Highway. Caltrans District 10 Director Dan McElhinney, Assemblymember Adam Gray, and CalFire 71 join the Maloney family during a special ceremony and unveiling of new signs for the SR-165 Andrew Maloney Memorial Highway in Los Banos.
  • Transportation chiefs brief Marin group on Highway 37 plans. Bay Area transportation officials gathered in Marin this week to update efforts to ensure that Highway 37 doesn’t flood again this winter — and in the future. “I think we all feel the fire under our feet,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, who organized the Thursday town hall meeting in Novato. “Tonight, we actually have some good news to deliver.”
  • Mother Lodes for the Roads: $137 Metro Millions for Pasadena. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) board approved Sept. 26, funding for $136,850,000-worth of traffic improvements in Pasadena. The appropriation was part of an overall $297 million appropriated for San Gabriel Valley-area transportation initiatives. The funds were tied up in the 710 freeway extension project. Its demise resulted in their reallocation to mobility improvement projects aimed at resolving the same traffic problems the original project was proposed to fix. The process of finding new uses for what were Measure R funds started back in May 2017 with a Metro Board motion. Planning, study and environmental review were all part of the road to paving for the roads.
  • Caltrans Contemplates Overhaul of Pasadena’s Freeway, the SR-110 Arroyo Seco Parkway. Caltrans will lay out changes it is considering to make to the SR-110 Arroyo Seco Parkway at a scoping meeting today. “We’re inviting the public to come in and listen to the various alternatives that we have, proposed to increase motorist safety along the Arroyo Seco Parkway,” said Eric Menjivar, public information officer, Caltrans District 7. The meeting will explore five alternatives, one of which is to do nothing. The second alternative would make lane 3 a permanent shoulder, “to be used as part-time travel during peak periods when volumes are high,” said Caltrans. “Dynamic message signs” (DMS) would convey the lane/shoulder’s changed status.
  • 5 Freeway’s Empire Avenue Interchange Opens In Burbank. The Monday morning commute on the 5 Freeway through Burbank took one step forward and three steps back. The newly-constructed Empire Avenue interchange opened early Monday morning, which is good news for commuters who have been suffering through years of road work on the 5 Freeway.
  • SANDAG Shifts Funds To Fast Track Transit, Highway Projects. Board members of the San Diego Association of Governments on Friday approved funding to kick start two freeway widenings that agency leaders warn could violate state climate laws. Staffers at the San Diego Association of Governments had proposed fast-tracking the planning, design and environmental clearance of more than two dozen projects, including a number of “complete corridor” studies on how to improve road, transit and bike mobility along a given highway corridor. The goal is to get more projects closer to being ready for construction so they can compete for state and federal grant dollars.

  • Caltrans will host public house to discuss bridge replacement on SR 99. Caltrans District 2 will be holding a public open house at the Tehama County Veterans Memorial building to discuss the upcoming replacement of Champlin Slough Bridge on Highway 99. The public house will be at 7980 Sherwood Boulevard in Los Molinos from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. Representatives from Caltrans will be on hand to offer information and answer questions about the upcoming project to replace the Champlin Slough Bridge located on State Route 99 approximately 3 miles south of Los Molinos.
  • First Street Offramp To Close In Napa For Roundabout Construction. Caltrans announced the upcoming closure of the northbound state Highway 29 offramp to First Street in Napa. The ramp will close Monday, Oct. 7 to accommodate construction on one of three roundabouts west of downtown Napa, a Caltrans spokesperson said Thursday. The offramp will remain closed through the end of November, Caltrans District 4 Spokeswoman Janis Mara said.
  • State Route 84 Real McCoy Ferry Closed Due To Structural Failure. The ferry over the Cach Slough at State Route 84, also called the Real McCoy Ferry, has suffered a structural failure and will be out of commission until the later part of November. Drivers are urged to use the SR-84 Miner’s Slough Bridge to the north of Ryer Island to get to Ryer Island, according to a statement from Caltrans on Monday.
  • Barrier Installation to Begin This Week For New Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Bike/Ped Path. Crews will begin work this week to install the moveable concrete barrier that will separate the two westbound traffic lanes on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from a new bicycle/pedestrian path expected to open later this fall. Installation work is scheduled to begin this evening, and will take place in the overnight hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. This work will restrict westbound traffic across the bridge to the far left lane each weeknight through October. The four-mile-long bridge path will connect to another new bicycle/pedestrian path that runs along the north side of Interstate 580 in Richmond and is protected from freeway traffic by a permanent concrete barrier. Together, these bi-directional paths stretch for almost six miles from Castro Street in Richmond to East Francisco Blvd. in San Rafael, providing the first-ever route for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling between Marin County and the East Bay. These new paths are a key link in the planned 500-mile Bay Trail network.
  • Southern California traffic: Caltrans 5 Freeway expansion project on schedule to alleviate gridlock by 2021. Most drivers in Southern California bold enough to brave the 5 Freeway during rush hour will tell you it’s always terrible, but Caltrans hopes to help alleviate the gridlock by  2021. Transportation officials said Tuesday that the expansion of the Santa Ana Freeway was coming to the rescue.
  • Highway 68 Corridor Improvement Project may include roundabouts. Details on a Highway 68 Corridor Improvement Project are being released as Caltrans prepares to present its plan to the public. A possibility is placing one or multiple roundabouts at intersections between Josselyn Canyon Road and San Benancio Road. Caltrans says this has been discussed so far for each of the nine intersections involved with this project.
  • New ramps will come — someday — at Highway 4: Roadshow. Q: What in the world caused Caltrans to design the Highway 4 interchange at Balfour Road with the ridiculous exit and access? When exiting Highway 4 going south, there is only one left-turn lane at the light but two right-turn lanes. The majority of traffic is making the left turn, except those that now turn right to cut through neighborhoods after turning right on the red to avoid waiting for the green light or even to make a U-turn at the Eagle Rock Way light. There should be two left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane. It’s too late now, but to access Highway 4 from Balfour going east one has to make a left turn at a left-turn light and go over an overpass. Why didn’t they just cut a right-turn lane that would have been simpler and less costly to build?
  • Mountain View OK’s El Camino Real bike lanes, crosswalks. One of the busiest streets in Mountain View is expected to get a much-needed facelift in the coming years. On Tuesday night, the Mountain View City Council unanimously approved an estimated $81 million improvement plan for El Camino Real featuring protected bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks and three new crosswalks with signals. Although the upgrades are expected to take years to complete, the council’s decision marks the first step toward making the safety improvements that elected officials and city staff have spent years discussing.
  • Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike lane barrier installation begins. Construction crews were set to begin work Tuesday night on installing a movable barrier on the upper span of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The barrier is part of a $20 million project to open the third westbound lane on the upper deck to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Transportation planners said the project would provide the first route for bicyclists and pedestrians between Marin and the East Bay. Dave Campbell, advocacy director for the Bike East Bay nonprofit organization, said he believes the bi-directional path will be very popular given what other Bay Area bridges have experienced when opening bike lanes.
  • Final Phase Begins On Construction Of Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Bike/Pedestrian Path. Cyclists and walkers will soon join the hundreds of thousands of cars that cross the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge each day. Crews have begun the last phase of construction of the new bicycle/pedestrian bridge path on the bridges’s upper deck. Work begins Tuesday night on a moveable concrete barrier separating the westbound lanes on the upper deck. Crews will work during the overnight hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. each weeknight through October.
  • Smile — Posey Tube looks brand new: Roadshow. Q: I complained to you about the grimy walls in the Posey and Webster tubes between Alameda and Oakland. In spite of faithfully reading your column, I did not see a reply. But last week the walls in the Posey tube were clean and gleaming. Your friends at Caltrans must have got the word from you. Anyway, I give you the credit. Now for the Webster tube.
  • Highway 101 widening begins in Petaluma. Wielding ornamental gold-colored shovels, Sonoma County transportation officials Wednesday broke ground on a 3.3-mile Highway 101 widening project through the heart of Petaluma. The ceremony marked the symbolic beginning of the end for the largest transportation project north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a two-decade-long effort to add carpool lanes and decrease congestion along Sonoma County’s main artery. Since 2001, work has progressed in stages as funding for the $1.2 billion project came in fits and starts, leaving just the Petaluma segment as the last gap from Windsor to the Marin County line.
  • Support for Rainier extension despite funding gap. The Rainier crosstown connector will cost the city of Petaluma nearly $80 million, according to the latest estimate. The city has already invested $13 million in the initial phases of the roadway, and estimates show it would need an additional $66.4 million to extend Rainier Avenue across Highway 101, the SMART tracks and the Petaluma River.
  • Editorial: It was a terrible idea to build a new freeway in Los Angeles County. Now it’s on hold for good. Could the era of building new freeways in California be over? Last month, the California Department of Transportation agreed to shelve plans for the first new freeway in Los Angeles County in more than a quarter-century. The 63-mile High Desert Corridor freeway was designed as a new route, up to eight lanes wide, to speed travelers and trade between Palmdale and San Bernardino County’s Apple Valley.
  • State Route 111 is expected to open sometime Friday night on October 11. It has been a week since crews closed a portion of State Route 111 (SR-111) just south of Davis and Gillespie roads, about five miles north of Niland. The work is on track to re-open the highway Friday night, October 11. The Union Pacific Railroad is also working at the Niland Geyser location and may fully close local roads with minimal notice. For information, contact Lupe Valdez at (562) 566-4612 or by email to lcvaldez@up.com.
  • O.C. freeway work halted after discovery of bones believed to be those of a Native American. The San Diego Freeway widening project has hit a snag after human remains believed to be of Native American descent were found during excavations, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority said Wednesday. Construction workers found the bones on Sept. 25, said Eric Carpenter of the OCTA. Agency officials are prohibited by law from providing a location or description of a grave or sacred places, Carpenter said.
  • ‘Another slap in the face’ : Tulare Highway 99 widening canceled. Plans to widen Highway 99 through Tulare and parts of Madera County have been scrapped — for now. The California Department of Transportation announced plans to delete the projects in a 2020 draft report. The Tulare project would expand the 99 from four to six lanes — three on each side — between Prosperity Avenue and Avenue 200, near the International Agri-Center.
  • Caltrans begins removal of hazardous trees along Lake County highways. Caltrans reported that it has begun the process of removing hazardous trees along several state highways that run through Lake County. Caltrans said it has identified dead and dying trees that are hazardous and pose a significant threat to the safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, impacting the safety of the traveling public along Routes 20, 29, 53 and 175. Most of the identified trees were damaged by the Valley fire in 2015, Caltrans said.
  • Was this new highway to the Inland Empire LA’s first ‘freeway’?. In early 1934, the Los Angeles Times trumpeted a soon-to-be-completed roadway — “The West’s first metropolitan super highway” — that would sharply reduce the driving time from Pomona and the Inland Empire to downtown Los Angeles. Wait a minute — anyone with knowledge of Southern California freeway history surely knows it was the Pasadena Freeway (then the Arroyo Seco Parkway) that is credited as the first of today’s maelstrom of freeways when it opened in 1940.
  • Highway 46 route was a shortcut from Paso Robles to valley. Folks can become jaded to the algebra of life. Air-conditioned steel compartments streak across asphalt at 102.66 feet per second, when the speedometer reads 70 mph. That is about 2 1/2 -school-bus lengths, or the height of a nine-story building, in one second.
  • SLO County to lose road repair money for Highway 46 widening. Work to widen the last remaining two-lane stretch of Highway 46 East likely won’t happen as scheduled after Gov. Gavin Newsom directed some money collected through gasoline taxes away from road repairs to rail projects instead, according to a Caltrans proposal. Under an executive order Newsom signed last month, the state’s transportation department must “reduce congestion through innovative strategies designed to encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.”
  • New detours begin Thursday for Napa roundabouts. Caltrans will both close and open freeway on-ramps and off-ramps at First Street and Highway 29 on Thursday as part of the roundabout construction project, the city of Napa said. Caltrans will shut the Highway 29 northbound First Street off-ramp in the morning, then open the newly constructed freeway on-ramp from westbound First Street that has been closed since mid-summer, said Eric Whan, the city’s deputy public works director.
  • Gavin Newsom wants CA to use gas tax money for rail projects. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is directing some money collected through gasoline taxes away from road repairs in favor of rail projects, according to a 200-page proposal from the state’s transportation department. Under an executive order Newsom signed last month, Caltrans must “reduce congestion through innovative strategies designed to encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.” The plan Caltrans released last week includes money generated through Senate Bill 1 — a 2017 state law allowing California to raise gas taxes for 10 years in order to fund transportation projects.
  • Discovery of Native American burial site pauses renovation on section of 405 Freeway. Centuries before the advent of housing tracts and highways, Native Americans were making Orange County their home. On occasion, a reminder of their early ancestors’ presence taps modern civilization on the shoulder, as it did Sept. 25 when a construction crew unearthed bones next to the 405 Freeway. The find brought excavation to a screeching halt alongside the overpass – one of 18 slated for widening in the $1.9 billion improvement project. “Work remains stopped in the area while all established procedures are followed,” Orange County Transportation Authority spokesman Eric Carpenter said.
  • Highway 99 expansion funding cuts elicit angry reactions. Proposed funding cuts affecting expansion projects on Highway 99 have Central Valley politicians riled up. Caltrans has proposed at least delaying and possibly canceling a couple of projects along the highway — in Madera and Tulare Counties. Construction projects dot Highway 99 in the Valley — from improvements to bridges and overpasses funded by almost 18 cents a gallon in gas taxes added since November 2017, to an expansion in Madera County between Avenues 12 and 17.
  • Newsom, Caltrans look to strip Highway 99 expansion funds. Highway 99 expansion projects in Madera and Tulare counties are set to be dissolved following an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom diverting billions in highway spending. The order, signed by Newsom in late September, focused on redirecting $5 billion in highway-centric transportation funding toward rail projects with the overarching goal of reducing greenhouse gasses and cutting fuel consumption. The order was paired with a draft CalTrans report issued at the outset of October that explicitly placed the two projects on the chopping block.
  • Freeway closures to allow for pavement and ramp repairs. Caltrans announced the expansion of two freeway projects that could impact your drive this weekend.  The first project will focus on repairing the pavement at County Lines Road on-ramp in Yucaipa. During this time, the on-ramp will be closed on the following dates and times.
  • Travel through the Badlands east of Moreno Valley has long been rough. With Caltrans’ major project underway to add truck lanes to both east and west-bound lanes of the 60 Freeway through the Badlands, it’s time we take a look at travel through that area over the past 100 or so years. The Badlands gets its name simply because it is bad land – that is, it’s not good for farming, stock raising, traveling or most other uses. In the days of horse and wagon, getting through someplace like the Badlands was time-consuming and often dangerous.
  • Opinion: Are California transportation officials pulling a bait and switch on gas tax funds?. What really irks people about politicians is when they sell them one thing and deliver something else. It’s called bait and switch. It breeds cynicism and mistrust of government. It becomes even harder for citizens to follow wannabe political leaders. Voters say a pox on all career politicians. It leads to the election of outsider demagogues like Donald Trump. A current episode in Sacramento may or may not fall to the level of bait and switch. It’s murky. But there’s a stench that’s drawing attention.
  • Highway 111 near Niland closed due to geyser. Caltrans in San Diego and Imperial Counties say the natural occurring geyser located just east of Highway 111, has increased in size in the last year.  The hot spring is now inching closer to the highway, forcing Caltrans to close it down for repairs. It’s a closure locals are not too happy about.
  • Phase 1 of Highway 132 project in Modesto won’t move needle. Construction of the first phase of a project that will connect Highway 99 and Interstate 580 via a newly aligned Route 132 will start in November. The initial phase will be an expressway between 99 and Dakota Avenue. Currently on Highway 132, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., daily commuters to and from the Bay Area jam the roadway, slowing traffic to a crawl for much of its length.
  • Five Bridges Reopen, But Caltrans Continues Work on State Rte. 192. Caltrans has re-opened the following bridges on State Route 192 that were damaged in the Montecito Debris Flow in January 2018: San Ysidro Creek Bridge (PM 9.6) Romero Canyon Creek Bridge (PM 10.9) Toro Creek Bridge (PM 12.1) Toro Canyon Creek Bridge (PM 12.5) Arroyo Paredon Creek Bridge (PM 15.4)
  • Caltrans plans to pull funding on last stage of Highway 46 widening just outside Kern County. The widening of the last two-lane stretch of road on Highway 46 between Bakersfield and the Central Coast could be put on hold if a Caltrans proposal is approved. Last week, the state transportation department released a plan to divert $32 million from Highway 46 and 99 improvements into an uncommitted reserve that would fund light rail and other projects connected to climate change goals established by Gov. Gavin Newsom in an executive order.
  • Cunningham opposes potential funding cuts for widening Antelope Grade on Highway 46. Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) is disappointed with Caltrans’ proposal to cut funding from highway widening projects through the state—specifically, the widening of Antelope Grade on Highway 46. “I’ve seen, in the three years I’ve been on this job, that we pay gas taxes and it is a constant fight to get some of that back. We have roads and highways that are state and locally maintained that our tax dollars go toward maintaining. It feeds the entire state,” Cunningham told New Times.
  • Bill to Eliminate 710 Freeway Tunnel Signed Into Law. With a signature on Assembly Bill 29 authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Governor Gavin Newsom relegated the concept of a 710 Freeway tunnel beneath Pasadena to the archives of history. “This is a historic moment for the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles ending this 70-year-old battle,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden who represents Pasadena and South Pasadena that lie in the 710 North Corridor. “Now is the time for the region to lead the way in implementing transportation solutions that move us past a car-centric approach to reduce pollution and improve health and safety.”
  • Sleepy State Interregional Transportation Plan Sparks Passionate Response. Normally the California Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP) is a business-as-usual plan to pour money into highways, with a bit set aside for regional rail projects, and its draft release is widely ignored. But the Draft 2020 ITIP released by Caltrans last week [PDF] evoked a different reaction. The Sacramento and Fresno Bees reported that it would shift gas tax funding from highways to rail in line with the Executive Order signed by Governor Newsom a few weeks ago, and other media outlets picked that up and ran downhill with it. Various outlets quoted local leaders as fuming mad: Assemblymember Jim Patterson said he was outraged at this “bait and switch,” and Tulare County supervisor Kuyler Crocker called it a “slap in the face.” Madera County Supervisor Rob Poythress went further, saying the governor’s executive order was akin to a “re-education camp that I hear about in other countries.”
  • VICTORY – After Decades of Fighting: LEGISLATION IS NOW SIGNED INTO LAW THAT KILLS THE THE ‘710-EXTENSION’. The Governor signed two bills Saturday night that virtually everyone agrees will put the final stake in the heart of the proposed 710 North extension through South Pasadena, a threat that has hung over the city and defined its politics for over six decades. Governor Newsom signed both Sen. Anthony Portantino’s SB 7 and Assemblymember Chris Holden’s AB 29. Both formally remove the section of Route 710 between Alhambra Avenue and California Blvd. from the state’s freeway and express system as of Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Caltrans makes lane switches, ramp detours for Napa’s roundabouts. Caltrans began shifting traffic Friday afternoon to newly constructed lanes that are part of the Napa roundabout project at First Street and Highway 29. The switch was to have happened Thursday, but was delayed while guard rails were installed on the new approach to the freeway overpass, said John Ferons, a senior civil engineer with the City of Napa.
  • Nearly 75% of Sonoma County voters support renewing road sales tax, according to poll. Roughly three of four voters would vote to renew Sonoma County’s quarter-cent sales tax that pays for local roads and transportation infrastructure if the measure was placed on the November 2020 ballot, according to polling results released Monday. The county transportation authority paid for the poll to explore if it has backing countywide to seek renewal of the sales tax four years before it sunsets in April 2025.
  • Opinion: Governor’s Veto of Complete Streets Bill Stinks. Governor Newsom seems to have accepted Caltrans’ assertions that S.B. 127 would cost too much money to implement, and he vetoed the bill along with a stack of others late Saturday as his deadline to take action approached. In his veto message, he claims he “fully” supports “improving facilities to increase walking, biking, and public transit,” but he balked at the bill’s “prescriptive and costly approach.”
  • State Route 88 in Alpine County Dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. A specified portion of State Route 88 in Alpine County has been designated as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway. Today, Alpine County officials joined with Washoe tribe members, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials, numerous state and county elected officials and surviving family members of veterans from Alpine County to officially unveil two memorial signs renaming the route to the “Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway”.
  • Newsom’s Pen Puts ‘Final Nail’ in 710 Plan. It’s official … or so most everybody is saying. The 710 has been 86’d. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law over the weekend a pair of bills — one authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, the other by state Sen. Anthony Portantino — that officially take the proposed 710 freeway extension off the state’s highway grid as of Jan. 1, 2024 and put to rest decades of local opposition to the 710 controversial proposal. The extension would have been a connector from Alhambra to Pasadena, with a tunnel running through South Pas.
  • Legislative Update: New Laws on Transportation Policy, Funding, Planning. Among the hundreds of new laws signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in the weeks leading up to Sunday’s deadline were a few related to transportation. Below we highlight the relevant ones. But Newsom also vetoed a few hundred others, notable among those the Complete Streets bill. His final legislative message claimed the bills he vetoed would have cost a total of $1.2 billion annually – does that include the absurd Caltrans estimate that S.B. 127 would have cost as much as $1 billion a year? If so, that’s not a very impressive achievement, especially given unanswered questions about that estimate.
  • Alhambra-to-Pasadena 710 Freeway is really, really dead now. A new state law officially ends the possibility of extending the 710 Freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena and sets the course for rules governing Caltrans-owned properties and development along the freeway’s once designated path in Pasadena. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 7, authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge, into law Sunday. The bill has several features that work together to squash the possibility of extending the freeway past its terminus in Alhambra:
  • Lane of Highway 13 in Oakland to close through December. The right-hand northbound lane of Highway 13 in the Oakland hills will be closed off and on for about a mile starting next week for work that could run almost to the end of the year. Starting Oct. 22, city crews will be fixing an old sewer main that runs alongside the freeway. Workers will be on the easement next to the northbound side of Highway 13 between Interstate 580 and Carson Street, at times blocking the righthand lane with heavy equipment, according to a news release. That lane — one of two on the northbound side — may be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until late December.
  • The Loma Prieta Earthquake and the Freeway Wars. Then-San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos was a declared foe of the the city’s Embarcadero and Central Freeways long before the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake struck them each a debilitating blow. He was among the legions who felt the imposing structure along the Embarcadero walled off the city’s residents from their waterfront, casting shadows onto adjoining businesses and turning the area into what he described as a ‘slum.’ “The Ferry Building was shuttered,”Agnos remembered of the era. “It was an empty abandoned building.”
  • Beach Boulevard Corridor Study.  A study to “Transform Beach” into a cohesive modern transportation facility is being conducted by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the State of California Department of Transportation District 12 (Caltrans). The Beach Boulevard Corridor Study of the 21-mile-long stretch of State Route 39 (Beach Boulevard) is assessing existing conditions, forecasting projections of future growth, and developing solutions ranging from enhanced pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities to improved signal synchronization. Once complete, OCTA and Caltrans will provide local agencies along Beach Boulevard with improvement alternatives that will guide and enhance local planning initiatives. The initiatives will support the future development and formation of a collaborative and seamless transportation corridor from the coast to Whittier Boulevard.
  • Route 2 Reopens.. THE GATES ARE OPEN! After months of hard work to clear a slide from a winter storm, pave the highway shoulder, & install a rock fence… Caltrans has officially OPENED ANGELES CREST HIGHWAY to motorists and cyclists! Expect intermittent closures as we complete the retaining wall.
  • Caltrans begins Highway 99 Cosumnes River Bridge replacement. The California Department of Transportation and Granite Construction Inc. broke ground last week on a three-year, $158 million bridge project on State Route 99 south of Elk Grove. The project will replace the SR 99 bridges over the Cosumnes River. North of the river, crews will also build a new overpass so that both northbound and southbound traffic on SR 99 will cross over the railroad tracks.
  • New Segment of SR-58 Opens Near Kramer Jct.. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be opening a portion of the new segment of State Route 58 (SR-58) near Kramer Junction this week. Beginning Thursday, October 24 at 8:00 p.m. traffic control with flagging will be in effect eastbound and westbound on SR-58; at Kern County Line spanning approximately one mile and again east of Kramer Junction for approximately one mile.
  • Caltrans Highway 74 raised median work extending from Hemet to Interstate 215. The California Department of Transportation raised curb median work well underway from Valle Vista to Hemet by its contractor Autobahn, the other half of the $20 million safety project contracted out to Granite Construction Co. will begin construction on State Route 74 from Acacia Avenue in Hemet to Interstate 215 beginning this week. Granite Construction Company will continue to excavate and haul dirt.
  • RTC seeks input on Highway 1 expansion projects. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission is seeking input on two upcoming Highway 1 expansion projects. The RTC held a community meeting Wednesday for the Highway 1 Auxiliary Lanes and Capitola Avenue Overcrossing project that extends from the Bay Avenue/Porter Street exit to the State Park Drive exit. The project aims to improve traffic on Highway 1 by adding auxiliary lanes from one on-ramp to the next off-ramp, and to improve bicycle and pedestrian travel routes on Capitola Avenue. The project is estimated to cost about $83.2 million and is planned to start construction in 2024 — if enough funds are available. About $72.3 million funds are still needed, according to the RTC.
  • SJCOG Board Meeting​ Is today at 4!. SJCOG Board Meeting​ Is today at 4! Agenda items include Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) Annual Report, and Draft 2020 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Proposal.
  • New Truckee River Bridge, Highway 89 Realignment Open to Traffic.  A long-anticipated new segment of State Route 89 in Tahoe City is now open to traffic. The new quarter-mile long segment includes a new 153-foot bridge crossing over the Truckee River, a roundabout on the south end next to the Tahoe City Transit Center and another roundabout on the north end near the Caltrans Maintenance Station, allowing a second entry/exit route for Lake Tahoe’s West Shore. The improvements are part of a $35 million construction project led by the Federal Highway Administration’s Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD). Additional project features include drainage improvements, rock retaining walls, bike paths, signing, striping, lighting, new sewer and gas lines, Tahoe City “gateway” signs, and landscaping with pollinator-friendly plants.
  • Path on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to Open Nov 16. The long-planned pedestrian and bicycle lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is set to open on Nov. 16, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The bi-directional pedestrian path will be located on the third lane of the upper span of the bridge and will provide the first bike path connection from Marin to the East Bay. The path will be separated from westbound traffic by a moveable barrier. The $20 million project’s planned opening date in May was delayed several months after falling concrete from the upper deck prompted months of emergency deck repairs by Caltrans.
  • The Old Road’s saga continues. Castaic Area Town Council officials have revisited a discussion about funding for The Old Road in an effort to address what officials consider a public-safety issue, due to recent traffic gridlock during emergencies.  However, support for The Old Road’s expansion was debated by Town Council members, who questioned the cost of the project and its funding source during their meeting earlier this month.
  • Solano Transportation Authority requesting money to fund I-80 widening project. The Solano Transportation Authority (STA) wants to make commuters’ trips on Interstate 80 easier. That was the crux of a Business Issues Forum hosted Wednesday morning at the Vacaville Opera House by the Fairfield-Suisun and Vacaville chambers of commerce. The project proposed by the STA is to create new managed lanes along I-80 in Solano County, but to get such a project done, the STA is requesting funds to make it a reality.
  • Plans for overpass, roundabouts at Highways 29/221 proceeding despite higher costs. A steep rise in the estimated cost for the proposed, congestion-busting Soscol Junction project isn’t sinking building plans. The estimated price has risen from $40 million to $64 million. Napa Valley Transportation Authority Executive Director Kate Miller said the plan is still to break ground in 2021. “This is just a critical priority for us,” Miller said on Tuesday. “We’re just going to do it. Some way or another, we’ll find a way.”

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


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