🛣 Headlines about California Highways for May 2020

Yet another month has passed. Yet another month of working from home. I never would have thought that I would miss commuting on the 405, but I do. I’m still doing what I was doing when this mess started: recording more of my Uncle’s Blues and Folk LPs to MP3 for my iPod, and working on the highway pages (although this time, it is going through the May 2020 SHOPP, not a full update).

As for the headlines, I’m still collecting them, although there seem to be fewer of them. Here’s what I’ve gathered for May, but before I say “ready, set, …”, one last thing. Look at my highway pages. I’m still missing pictures of name signs, and of the people that were named. If you can help supply either of those, please send them along.

And now… 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]

  • SR 210 Lane Addition and Base Line Interchange Construction Alert – Week of May 4. Crews are taking advantage of reduced traffic volumes and maximizing project efficiency by beginning some closures earlier in the evening and reopening later in the morning.  Please note that during bridge demolition, city streets may be closed to traffic overnight, underneath SR 210. Detour signs will be posted in advance to direct motorists around the work areas.  Please be advised, this work may be loud and disruptive due to concrete demolition activity, lighting within the work area, flashing lights on equipment, back-up alarms, and related equipment noise.
  • 💰/SJMN S.F.: Hwy. 101 lanes open after Alemany deck replacement finishes. Caltrans crews taking advantage of light traffic during COVID-19 shelter orders have completed work earlier than scheduled on the U.S. Highway 101 Alemany Deck replacement project. All lanes on the freeway opened at 4:20 a.m. Saturday, and both directions on Alemany Boulevard eastbound reopened at midnight, according to Caltrans.
  • California coronavirus stay-home order cuts traffic, gas tax. California’s stay-at-home order could mean a loss of $370 million in funds that help pay for highway construction and maintenance as well as aid for transit, a new study from UC Davis’ Road Ecology Center reported Friday. Researchers found that vehicle miles driven have plunged more than 75 percent in the state since the coronavirus outbreak shut down much of California in mid-March.
  • ‘Pavement Preservation Project’ on State Route 3 in Trinity County Starts Tomorrow. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans District 2), in conjunction with Tullis Inc., is getting ready to begin the Rush Creek and Trinity Center Overlay Project on State Route 3 in Trinity County. The $3.2 million pavement preservation project will provide a hot mix asphalt overlay and replacement of asphalt concrete surfacing at two locations:
  • Covid-19 Spurs a Road Repair Boom—and Threatens a Bust. Until a few weeks ago, the California Department of Transportation was girding itself for a summer disaster. Come July, it was planning to shut down a congested stretch of Highway 101 between San Francisco and Silicon Valley for nearly three weeks to tear out and rebuild an aging, cracking bridge deck that carries the freeway over San Francisco’s Alemany Circle. It anticipated 6-mile-long backups and hour-long delays—and that’s if it could persuade one-third of drivers to skip the trip or at least avoid rush hour. Then, in early March, Covid-19 hit the United States. California issued a shelter-in-place order. And while most residents stayed home, the state’s Department of Transportation went to work.
  • SR 60 Swarm Pavement Rehabilitation Project Continues. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues work on the Pavement Rehabilitation Project on State Route 60 (SR-60), part of the 60 Swarm, to repair deteriorated pavement slabs.  The two right lanes on eastbound SR-60 from Archibald Avenue to Interstate 15 (I-15) will remain closed until the end of June to allow for accelerated pavement work. The closure will be monitored for traffic impacts and based on traffic volumes.
  • CTC: Active Transportation Program Application Deadlines Delayed, More Actions. At yesterday’s California Transportation Commission meeting, most of the agenda items focused on COVID-19 impacts on transportation, transportation funding, and responses from state agencies. Staff recommended delaying deadlines for several S.B. 1 programs to give cities time more time to apply for grants.
  • Supervisors to Consider Eminent Domain Action in Midtown Connector Project. The Madera County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing this week to consider an eminent domain action against an Oakhurst business owner in order to keep moving forward with the Oakhurst Midtown Connector project, which will create a new road linking the area near Yosemite High directly to Highway 41.
  • Five 101 Closures at Last Chance Grade Coming in May. Caltrans will be fully shutting down U.S. Highway 101 at Last Chance Grade overnight five times in May to conduct roadwork needed to stabilize the notorious stretch of road in Del Norte County. According to a Facebook post, the closures on May 11, 12 and 13 will take place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. On May 14 and May 15, the shutdowns are planned for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and from 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • 💰/SFC Report: State could lose $1.3 billion in gas tax revenue during coronavirus shutdown. California may lose $1.3 billion in gas tax revenue during the coronavirus shelter-in-place period, a side effect of the decline in driving, according to a scientist at UC Davis. The numbers appear in a new report from the university’s Road Ecology Center, which shows that drivers consumed 85.8 million gallons of gas during the second week of April, a steep drop from the 349 million gallons pumped in the first week of March.
  • Full Closure of US Route 395 at State Route 58 (Kramer Junction) for 5 days.  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, will be closing US Route 395 (US-395) at Kramer Junction for five days to allow BNSF workers to replace concrete panels, rails and re-ballast the tracks crossing US-395 immediately north of the intersection of State Route 58 (SR-58). The railroad work is a portion of the completion work for the Kramer Junction project which began in late 2017 to realign Old State Route 58 to the new expressway east and west of “Four Corners” in San Bernardino County.
  • Caltrans Highway 74 Raised Median Safety Project continues between Valle Vista and the I-215. Caltrans subcontractors are continuing their work on the state Route 74 Raised Median Safety Project constructing medians from Ramona Expressway in Valle Vista to Interstate 215 in Menifee. The two projects, totaling $33 million, began 2019 with contractors Autobahn Construction from the city of Orange and Granite Construction Company. Autobahn’s work on the $13.1 million safety in Hemet and Valle Vista continues on the raised curb median with access just west of Acacia Avenue to Ramona Expressway.
  • Detour Ahead: Imperial Ave. Interchange Work Starting. Road construction has already begun on the Interstate 8/Imperial Avenue interchange in El Centro and the effects of that work were already being felt by motorists, explained an official with Imperial County Transportation Commission. “The construction started on May 5 but Caltrans already installed barriers on the north side of I-8 alongside the road,” said Mark Baza, executive director of ICTC. “The California Highway Patrol will be out there monitoring the situation and speeds will be reduced to 60 miles per hour in the vicinity of the area.”
  • 💰/SFC Speedy contractor finishes SF freeway project early, pockets $8 million. Renowned contractor C.C. Myers, of MacArthur Maze repair fame, has done it again — this time making millions for delivering the Alemany overpass rebuild ahead of schedule.  Myers, now doing business as Myers & Sons, was the prime contractor on the just-completed $37 million rebuild of the Alemany Boulevard overpass on Highway 101 in San Francisco.
  • Petaluma infrastructure work fasttracked in shutdown. Several big public works projects have progressed in the Petaluma area despite the coronavirus shutdown. In some cases, work has even sped up as crews take advantage of fewer cars on the roads during the shelter in place order. Most public works functions, including road work, keeping water and sewer pipes flowing and operating transit systems, were deemed essential in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order and allowed to continue with workers taking extra safety precautions.
  • CTC Approves SHOPP, Including Funding Specifically for Complete Streets. The California Transportation Commission today adopted the 2020 State Highway Operations and Protection Program. The $20 billion program will include a $100 million set-aside for Complete Streets elements on existing SHOPP projects. This is a major change in how SHOPP projects are usually funded. In addition to the unusual “reservation” for complete streets, this is the first SHOPP that is “entirely driven by performance measures,” according to Caltrans staff. The projects in it must be consistent with state plans that outline priorities for funding, including the Asset Management Plan, the Highway System Management Plan, district performance plans, and annual performance benchmarks for meeting state goals on a variety of measures.
  • Worker Safety Project to Begin on State Routes 3 and 299 in Trinity County on June 1st. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans District 2), in conjunction with Tullis Inc., is preparing to start work on the Trinity Worker Safety Project on State Routes 3 and 299 in Trinity County. The $2.3 million project is making worker safety improvements at 12 locations along these two routes. Work planned for the project includes:
  • Interchange planning still ongoing. The last time the Ceres City Council took action on advancing the Mitchell/Service Highway 99 interchange was one year ago. Where is the project today? In a nutshell, still in the planning stages. But news of the state’s prediction of a $54 billion budget shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year has officials worrying about the prospects for funding.
  • (UPDATED) The Planning Commission Approved a $1.5M Trail Through Manila, But Critics Say They May Appeal. The tiny community of Manila, which lies scattered across the Samoa Peninsula between coastal sand dunes and the shores of Humboldt Bay, gets sliced right down the middle by State Route 255. There’s a 55-miles-per-hour speed limit on this straightaway, which is also known as New Navy Base Road, but speeding is so common that locals often post handmade signs urging people to slow down.
  • Caltrans, SANDAG enter next stage of I-5 construction. Caltrans and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Build North Coast Corridor (NCC) crews have entered the next stage of Interstate 5 (I-5) construction. Last week, crews began shifting construction operations from the I-5 median to the outside shoulders in both north and southbound directions between Birmingham Drive in the City of Encinitas and Palomar Airport Road in the City of Carlsbad.
  • Funds approved to fix state route 116/121 intersection in Sonoma. The California Transportation Commission met on May 13, 2020, and approved the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) for 2020. This is the first-ever SHOPP that is entirely based on performance and focused outcomes. Included in the 2020 program is funding in the amount of $19M to complete improvements at theintersection of Highways 116 and 121 southwest of the City of Sonoma. The money will become available in 2022. Measure M, the ¼-cent sales tax for transportation, was used to leverage the state dollars in order to fully fund the improvements. Measure M is contributing $5M.
  • Solutions Developed to Improve Beach Boulevard Travel. Following the completion of a study by OCTA and Caltrans, cities along Beach Boulevard between La Habra and Huntington Beach will have fresh ideas to guide local planning initiatives regarding improvements to transit service, sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals.
  • Hwy 50 Y to Trout Creek. Striping and some punch-list items are all that remain on the Highway 50 Y to Trout Creek Project in the @City of South Lake Tahoe. This important water-quality improvement project also replaced sidewalks, increased the width of the highway for bike lanes and repaved the roadway. Work will be finished this summer! Learn more: http://tahoeroads.com/
  • 💰/SJMN Toll takers will temporarily return on Bay Area bridges. Q: The no-cash toll collection on Bay Area bridges seems to be working well.  Why don’t they make that permanent? They were planning on doing that some time, anyway.
  • New lane striping ahead for I-880 express lanes, fall opening draws closer. Work crews as early as next week will begin striping new lane configurations on Interstate 880 in Alameda County as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Caltrans gear up for the fall 2020 opening of new Express Lanes between Oakland and the Santa Clara County line. The five-week project will result in significant changes for drivers in the I-880 corridor. These will include the addition of double white lines (which cannot be lawfully crossed) in several segments, dashed lines in others, and the creation of new merge lanes in select locations.
  • $19M for Schellville roundabout. A long-awaited solution to traffic snarls in the Sonoma Valley is slowly coming closer to repair in the form of a roundabout where Arnold Drive and Highway 121 meet in Schellville. A $19 million grant to help see the project through was announced this week by state transportation officials.
  • SR-55 Improvements Will Relieve Congestion in Irvine, Santa Ana & Tustin. Expected to break ground in 2021, the SR-55 Improvement Project will reduce travel times between I-405 and I-5 through one of the most highly congested stretches of freeway in the county. Funded by OC Go (also known as Measure M), the $411 million project is expected to be completed in 2024 and will add one regular lane and one carpool lane in each direction of SR-55 through the cities of Irvine, Santa Ana and Tustin, along with auxiliary lanes between interchanges.
  • Granite Selected for Construction Manager/General Contractor Cosumnes Bridge Child Project 4 Project in California. Granite (NYSE:GVA) announced today that it has been awarded the Child Project 4 (CP4) portion of the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) contract of the Cosumnes Bridge Replacement Project by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in Sacramento County, California. This CM/GC contract is part of a phased delivery of the overall $158 million project. The $16 million project contract is included in Granite’s second quarter 2020 backlog.
  • Caltrans starts drainage system restoration project on State Route 36W. Caltrans District 2, in conjunction with Wylatti Resource Management Inc., has begun work on the Red Bluff Drainage Project on State Route 36W in western Tehama County. The $2 million project, which is funded in part by Senate Bill 1, is making drainage system improvements at 26 locations on SR 36W from about 1.5 miles east of the Shasta and Tehama counties line to about 3 miles west of Baker Road, according to a release issued by Caltrans.
  • Metro releases Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental assessment for I-105 ExpressLanes project. The Draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA), Project Report, Concept of Operations, and Traffic and Revenue Study for the I-105 ExpressLanes Project will be available for public review and comment on the project website beginning Friday, May 22, 2020, through Monday, July 6, 2020. The supporting Draft EIR/EA and Project Report technical studies as well as printed copies of the aforementioned reports are available upon request.
  • 🚫/TDT Caltrans completes work on US 50 in South Lake Tahoe. Traffic-interfering work is complete on a water quality and roadway improvement project on U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe, Caltrans announced Thursday. This $52.9 million project from the “Y” intersection at State Route 89 to the Trout Creek Bridge constructed new drainage systems to treat stormwater runoff before it enters Lake Tahoe and adjacent water bodies that discharge into the lake. The project also rebuilt the curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of this 2-mile section of Highway 50 (Lake Tahoe Boulevard) and increased the road width to provide for Class II bike lanes.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)