🛣 Headlines About California Highways for April 2020

Yup, I haven’t written on my blog for most of April. April has been a strange month, to say the least. You would think being “safer at home” — and having no theatre to go to — would give me more time, but I’ve been really busy. I’ve been working from home full time, and also working on a big update to the highway pages covering December through April, including reviewing all the headlines, going through the legislative stuff, going through the CTC stuff (including the 2020 STIP), and adding more memorial information. You can look for it to drop in a week or two, after I go through these headlines.

As I’ve been collecting them, my impression has been that there has been less news and more quiet work. Most of the articles I’ve been seeing have been on the impact of COVID-19 on transit systems, and how it has lightened traffic (which are not collectable headlines for this list). Certainly, CTC and transit organization meetings have gone virtual, and the legislature has been on medical recess. But there has still been news, and folks like Tom have been keeping busy. Which, of course, means I’m keeping busy as well, going through them.

One last note: You saw my mention about the memorial information. I’m looking in particular for pictures of highway name signs (i.e., if a highway is named something, a picture showing that particular name on a sign — not just as a destination city), and in some cases, pictures of the people named. When I do upload the updates, look at the updated pages to see if you might have any photos to go with my missing information.

Now, as always… ready, set, discuss.

[💰 Paywalls and 🚫 other annoying restrictions: LAT/LA Times; SJMN/Mercury News; OCR/Orange County Register; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; PE/Press Enterprise; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; NVR/Napa Valley Register]

  • Sterling Awarded $20.3 Million Project by CalTrans. Sterling Construction Company, Inc. (NasdaqGS: STRL) (“Sterling” or “the Company”) today announced that its subsidiary, Myers & Sons Construction, LLC (“Myers”) was selected by the California Department of Transportation (“CalTrans”) for a bridge project in San Francisco. The $20.3 million project entails replacing bridge decks, concrete barriers, and railings, along with installation of carbon fiber wrap around the existing bridge columns at the Alemany Circle Undercrossing. The job is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
  • OLANCHA-CARTAGO 4-LANE PROJECT UPDATE. Caltrans is in the final stages of design and right-of-way acquisition for the Olancha-Cartago 4-Lane project. The project will upgrade 12.6 miles of the current two-lane highway to a four-lane access-controlled expressway. The new alignment will begin four miles south of Olancha to four miles north of Cartago and will close the gap between the existing four-lane sections to the north and the south.
  • COVID-19 Lessons for Congestion Pricing – The Eno Center for Transportation. Travel within major U.S. metropolitan areas has all but stopped with at least 20 percent of the population under virtual lockdown. Various anecdotes and new analyses show that with so little movement, once-ubiquitous traffic congestion is all but eliminated. It may thus seem like the wrong time for cities and regions to continue to pursue congestion pricing strategies. Prior to the current public health crisis, serious proposals and studies were underway in places like San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. New York is set to roll out the first congestion pricing program in the U.S. next year. Decongesting Manhattan is the primary goal with the revenue being allocated toward the beleaguered Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in the anticipation that better service will attract more riders. We know traffic will come back to New York post-coronavirus, especially if commuters adopt new fears of shared transportation modes. Possible shifts toward driving would only compound the beating transit agencies are taking during the shutdown due to lost revenues.
  • 💰/SJMN Crews pick up the pace on Bay Area express lane projects. Q: Interstate 880 through Hayward. Potholes galore and bumps. Why can’t they repave the freeway while there are very few cars on the road? … Also, Highway 101 has a lot of potholes. … Is Caltrans speeding up any construction now that they could close down a lane or two with little effect all day, compared to a previously normal time? … Are there projects that could be accelerated to take advantage of the light traffic during the COVID-19 shutdown, like Highway 101 at Alemany Circle?
  • Cranes Key to Giving Ventura Freeway Its New Look. The California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) $55 million Interstate 5 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lane project between State Route 134 (the Ventura Freeway) and Magnolia Boulevard is expected to be substantially completed this Spring. “This is one of several projects that make up Caltrans’ ongoing $1.3 billion I-5 North improvements on I-5 (the Golden State Freeway) between SR-134 and State Route 118,” said Michael Comeaux, public information officer, Caltrans — District 7. “This project is widening I-5 to add 2.7 miles of HOV lanes in each direction in Glendale and Burbank, where I-5 had four lanes in each direction at the outset of the project. Upon completion, I-5 will have one HOV lane plus four regular freeway lanes in each direction.”
  • Northbound 101 near Orcutt project to begin Monday. The northbound US Highway 101 on and off ramps will undergo roadwork to accommodate a new signalized intersection at Clark Avenue near Orcutt beginning Monday, April 6.
  • 💰/NVR Napa creates $500 million long-range transportation list. A 30-year, more than $500 million Napa County transportation list with 77 projects is a road map to the area’s roads of the future, as well as its bike paths and transit service. The Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) has honed a list detailing how to spend anticipated federal, state, regional and local transportation revenues through 2050. Projects range from major Highway 29 improvements to an Oxbow Preserve pedestrian bridge in the city of Napa.

  • 💰/SJMN Repairs coming to Interstate 280 next week: Roadshow. Q: It has now been a couple of years since the large gas and vehicle registration tax kicked in, with the main selling point being that our horrible roads would finally get repaired. Yet many of our most widely used roads in the Bay Area are still horrible. Like 19th Avenue through San Francisco, the Santa Clara County side of Highway 17, and Interstate 280 from Highway 101 in San Jose to Redwood City. Why aren’t you regularly advocating for getting the state to fulfill the promise made to the public regarding use of those tax dollars?
  • Caltrans work to start on SR 99. State Route 99 between Kingsburg and Selma is about to have a rehabilitation project get underway, according to a press release from the California Department of Transportation. Caltrans, in cooperation with Granite Construction, said the project will start with night work between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting April 5, and will transition to daywork as the project progresses.
  • Upcoming Series of Full Closures of SR-12 for Mokelumne River Bridge Repairs. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is planning a series of 55-hour, full highway closures of eastbound and westbound State Route 12 (SR-12) between SR-160 and Interstate 5 (I-5) for repair work on the Mokelumne River Bridge located at the San Joaquin/ Sacramento County line.
  • Comment period to open next week for bridge replacement project. The public comment period for a proposal to replace the San Jose Creek Bridge on Highway 101 near State Route 217 in Goleta will open next week. The bridge replacement is aimed to ensure reliability of the highway would be designed as a single-span bridge that would meet current standards. The proposed project also includes a standard bicycle pedestrian path on the north side of the 217, according to Caltrans officials.
  • Port of Entry Project Will Be ‘Clean, Green and Smart’. As part of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) state Route 11 (SR-11)/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, crews from Skanska US Civil are constructing the final segment of the future toll road SR-11 and the southbound connector ramps, linking southbound State Route 125 (SR-125) to eastbound SR-11 and eastbound state Route 905 (SR-905).
  • Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier work continues during pandemic. Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier is being deemed essential under the state and local “shelter in place” orders and will continue during the pandemic, according to the bridge district. “The net will save about 30 lives a year, so it qualifies as an exempt project under the orders,” said Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, public affairs manager for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
  • MND for South Eel River Bridge on Route 162. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is proposing a seismic project to provide State Route 162 Postmile 8.2 with an earthquake-resistant bridge structure capable of resisting a maximum credible earthquake. Three alternatives are in consideration for the South Eel River Bridge Project. …
  • Change in I-805 HOV Lane Striping.. Caltrans is modifying the northbound Interstate 805 (I-805) High Occupancy Lanes (HOV) striping between State Route 94 and the Palomar Avenue Direct Access Ramp starting Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The southbound lanes were modified late last year.
  • 💰/SACBEE Coronavirus traffic reductions speed up CA road construction. As state and local officials extend stay-at-home orders, road construction crews across California are taking advantage of reduced traffic to speed up projects. Contractors said they are working during the day instead of at night, extending work hours and closing longer stretches of road at a time under temporary agreements with the state Department of Transportation and local agencies.
  • Public Comment Period Begins Next Week for US Highway 101 San Jose Creek Bridge Replacement Project. Caltrans District 5 will accept public comments on a proposal to replace the San Jose Creek Bridge on US Highway 101 near the Junction with State Route 217 in the City of Goleta. This bridge replacement will ensure the reliability of the highway and would be designed as a single-span that would meet current bridge standards. This project would also include a standard bicycle pedestrian path on the northbound side of State Route 217.
  • Highway 36 project to begin April 13. Caltrans District 2/North Region Construction and Steve Manning Construction will begin construction of the Morgan Summit Project on April 13. The approximately $6.4 million curve realignment project will improve State Route 36 near the town of Mineral, from 0.10 miles to 1.50 miles east of State Route 89, near the south entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park. And it will take an estimated 95 working days to complete.
  • 💰/OCR Construction continues for OC Streetcar and freeway projects during coronavirus outbreak. Orange County’s transportation agency is pushing ahead with its construction projects – in some cases gaining speed while roads are unusually clear – but with precautions in place to protect workers during the coronavirus outbreak, officials said. In Santa Ana, workers are installing a water pipeline on 4th Street from Ross Street to Spurgeon Street to lay the ground for the OC Streetcar. Crews are also continuing their work to widen the 405 Freeway between the 605 Freeway and State Route 73.
  • Here’s What The Coronavirus Crisis Is Doing To LA’s Freeway Traffic. I’ve been reporting on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting transportation — including its impact on air quality issues caused by transportation. It’s abundantly clear that there are way fewer cars on Southern California freeways in the age of coronavirus. Now, about a month into our region’s official stay-at-home phase of the global health crisis, we are getting a better picture of the impact on traffic.
  • Quiet Roads Allow CalTrans To Accelerate 101 Alemany Project. A silver lining in the impacts of the Bay Area’s shelter in place order. Caltrans says a huge highway project that was expected to snarl traffic in San Francisco this summer is being moved up while the order is in place. The Highway 101 Alemany project is a massive transit project that was expected to highly-impact San Francisco’s commute. “There’s no other project like this, this is a heavily impactful one,” Caltrans Chief of Public Affairs Bart Ney said.
  • Prep work for U.S. 101 deck replacement to start Saturday. Starting Saturday night, Caltrans will close lanes of U.S. Highway 101 in preparation for work to replace and seismically retrofit the bridge deck at San Francisco’s Alemany Circle, near the junction with Interstate Highway 280. Motorists are advised to reduce speed and exercise caution approaching and passing the work zone. The preparation work for the bulk of the project involves layout for barrier removal, slab saw-cutting, median barrier saw-cutting and removing/replacing approach slabs.
  • California Highway Projects Speed Up With Drivers Off Roads. As state and local officials extend stay-at-home orders, road construction crews across California are taking advantage of reduced traffic to speed up projects. Contractors said they are working during the day instead of at night, extending work hours and closing longer stretches of road at a time under temporary agreements with the state Department of Transportation and local agencies. “There’s recognition that we can get more done with less traffic for sure, and that’s happening,” said Ed Herrnberger, an executive vice president at Teichert, a Sacramento-based construction company. “I’d say that’s consistent industrywide.”
  • These Bay Area bridges and overpasses have been deemed ‘structurally deficient’. Another year has passed, which means another detailed report from a trade association about the structurally deficient bridges of the United States is available to peruse on the internet. As is its annual tradition, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association released its “Bridge Report,” revealing plenty of interesting information about the state of California and the city and county of San Francisco. The ARTBA (which, should be noted, is a trade association with a vested interest in increased capital allocated to bridge repair projects) conducted its annual trawl of data released by the Federal Highway Administration to draw the aforementioned conclusions.
  • Moorpark 23 Freeway Repaving To Begin April 27 Using SB 1 Funds. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has announced a pavement rehabilitation project on State Route 23 from U.S. 101 in Thousand Oaks to State Route 118 in Moorpark, due to funds from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The $91 million project, including construction capital and support costs, will replace pavement on the outer two lanes from U.S. 101 to State Route 118 to provide a service life of 40 years. The on- and off-ramps, connectors and adjacent shoulders also will be rehabilitated, and slabs will be replaced where needed on the inner main lane in both directions. Existing curbs ramps will be enhanced to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), guardrails and signal lights will be upgraded, and approach slabs and bridge rails will be replaced at select locations. The project will improve 46.7 lane miles to provide a safer and smoother ride for motorists.
  • Delta bridges to see parts replacement, testing. Caltrans will begin work Monday on three bridges on Highway 160 along the Sacramento Delta. The work calls for intermittent daytime closures. All bridges remain safe for travel. A Caltrans contractor and structural engineers will replace bridge parts and conduct testing on the Isleton, Steamboat Slough and Paintersville bridges through September.
  • 💰/SFCHRON Coronavirus slows traffic, so Caltrans will partly close Highway 101 at Alemany to rebuild overpass. At a time when coronavirus concerns have led to the shutdown of all but essential construction in the Bay Area, Caltrans will start work on its $35 million rebuild of the Alemany Boulevard overpass at Highway 101 this week — three months ahead of schedule. The 18-day project to replace 800 feet of bridge deck roadway on 101 near Interstate 280 in San Francisco, which will require 80 to 100 on-site workers, is to begin Saturday.
  • Petaluma Argus-Courier Editorial: A more equitable fix for Highway 37. There was a time before the coronavirus pandemic dominated our thoughts, and there will be a time when this is all behind us. One major piece of our recovery should be an investment in infrastructure, which will provide jobs in the short term and help us move people and goods in the long term. In the North Bay, Highway 37 is perhaps the most important route that could benefit from an influx of new investment.
  • Transportation Improvement Projects Accelerated. During the coronavirus pandemic, construction is continuing on major OCTA construction projects and those in partnership with Caltrans. Public transportation projects are considered essential by the state. Projects include the I-405 Improvement Project, OC Streetcar, I-5 South (SR-73 to El Toro Road) and I-5 Central (SR-57 to SR-55).
  • Freeway in Burbank Reopens After Bridge Demolition – NBC Los Angeles. A section of a major Los Angeles-area freeway reopened Monday morning after a 36-hour weekend shutdown to demolish a bridge so that the artery can be widened. Traffic resumed flowing on Interstate 5 through Burbank at 2 a.m. although new lane restriping kept some lanes closed, said Michael Comeaux, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation. The Burbank Boulevard bridge was demolished by giant hydraulic hammers which broke off chunks that fell on a 2-foot-deep (0.61 meter) bed of sand placed underneath to prevent damage to freeway pavement.
  • Traffic shifting and ramp closures for I-5 Project. Major construction operations are scheduled to take place the week of April 27 for the Redding to Anderson Six Lane Expansion Project on Interstate 5 in Shasta County. Caltrans, J.F. Shea and other contractors will be working day and night in the south end of the project, by the Shasta Gateway and State Route 273 through early May. Traffic coming from Cottonwood will be shifted at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 26 to the median right before Exit 667A – SR273 North, and Exit 667B – Factory Outlet Drive/Deschutes Road. Traffic will be shifted into two northbound lanes. The speed limit is 55 mph through the construction zone.
  • Marin traffic agency: Virus might challenge road projects. The coronavirus pandemic is expected to strain timelines and funding availability for local transportation projects following a year of progress on projects, according to the Transportation Authority of Marin. “I think it’s safe to say revenue for this fiscal year will be down compared to the original projections,” said Anne Richman, the agency’s executive director. “I think for next fiscal year it’s possible they will be down.”
  • Construction of new Canyon Bridge begins with sizable funding from Caltrans. Anyone traveling over the Canyon Bridge beginning April 20 was aware that work has begun to remove the temporary bridge and replace it with a brand new two-lane bridge. The project is slated for completion by November 2021, with most of the cost being picked up by the California Department of Transportation, thanks to the diligence of the Public Works Department in securing the funding. Originally built in 1936, the bridge was scheduled for replacement with funds from the Caltrans Highway Bridge Program when the first landslide occurred in 2017. A second landslide required the new bridge to be relocated south of the original, thereby increasing costs with a re-design.
  • Notice of Preparation of Environmental Document for SR-60 and WLC Pkwy Interchange. The City of Moreno Valley (City), in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)proposes to reconstruct and improve the State Route (SR-60)/World Logistics Center Parkway (WLC Pkwy) interchange. This public notice is to inform the public of the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Assessment (EA). The public will have fromApril 24, 2020 through June 8, 2020to review and provide comments. You may submit your written comments toAntonia Toledo, Senior Environmental Planner,MS-820, Caltrans District 8, Division of Environmental Analysis, 464 W 4th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92401, or via e-mail to 0M590.Comments@dot.ca.gov.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer, mostly)


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