🛣 Headlines About California Highways – October 2020

And with that, October is done. Only two months left in the strange year that is and soon will have been 2020. I think few don’t want 2020 to be overwith. Folks are counting the days. Me? I’m counting the headlines. Only two more headline posts left in the year. So while your little one are pestering you for candy because they aren’t out walking the streets, here are some headlines to keep you busy so you can tell them to come back later.

[💰 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; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; SONN/Sonoma News; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; PD/Press Democrat]

  • 💰/LAT Long Beach prepares to open a $1.47-billion bridge. Fog hovers just above the new Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach. Workers are scattered over a job site cluttered with traffic cones, construction vehicles and a few small cranes, and Duane Kenagy is giving a tour. Since signing on as executive director for the project in 2014, Kenagy has grown accustomed to playing docent to an international cast of visiting politicians, students, bureaucrats and media. Barring delays, the bridge will open Monday, and cars and trucks — by some estimates, 60,000 a day, now rattling across the old bridge just a few feet away — will sail over this gleaming new span connecting the 710 Freeway and downtown Long Beach to the nation’s busiest port complex.
  • The new long beach bridge: Gerald Desmond bridge is being replaced. The bridge has served its purpose. Half a century after it was built, the Gerald Desmond is still able to serve the City of Long Beach in southern California but it has come to be called “functionally obsolete” by engineers. The stress caused by the higher number of cars and trucks that have come to use it as a result of the port’s growing importance to the U.S. economy has taken its toll on the massive structure. In fact, 15% of all imports that arrive to the country as cargo travels across the bridge, which connects the city with Terminal Island where several of the port’s large tenants are located.
  • $1.47 Billion New Bridge, With 100-Year Lifespan, Opens In Long Beach. A new bridge that will connect Long Beach to the world officially opens Friday with a lyover of military planes, a boat parade, and a procession of zero-emission and low-emission cargo trucks. The six-lane, cable-stayed bridge replaces the Gerald Desmond Bridge and will be a major regional highway connector as well as improve the movement of cargo.
  • Metro Plans to Take Out 200+ Downey Homes to Widen 5 and 605 Freeways. The full details are not yet entirely clear, but Metro and Caltrans are finalizing plans to widen portions of the 605 and 5 Freeways – and the project will destroy hundreds of homes, primarily in the city of Downey. Metro calls the project the “I-605 Corridor Improvement Project” (605 CIP) though the project includes portions of other freeways: the 5, 10, 60, and 105. The project would touch on nine San Gabriel Valley cities – Baldwin Park, Downey, City of Industry, El Monte, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, and Whittier, as well the unincorporated county areas Avocado Heights, Rose Hills, West Whittier/Los Nietos.
  • 💰/SDUT Caltrans tries again to tame the roller coaster ride that is San Diego’s Route 52. In Southern California, where the car has long been king, completion of a new section of freeway can be cause for celebration. So it was on two summer days in 1987 and 1988, when officials held four-hour parties in the center of soon-to-open stretches of state Route 52 in Kearny Mesa. There were refreshments, live music, dancing, military exhibits, parades — mini-carnivals, minus the thrill rides.
  • Completion of Iconic New Bridge Celebrated in Long Beach. A sparkling parade of green trucks, a dramatic vintage aircraft flyover and fireboat sprays christened today’s ceremonial opening of the new bridge at the Port of Long Beach, reaffirming the region’s importance to international shipping and heralding in an iconic structure that dramatically shifts the Southern California skyline. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201002005503/en/

  • $11.1 Million Roadwork Project Underway On SR-79 Near Temecula. An $11.1 million pavement preservation project on state Route 79 near Temecula may force nighttime traffic delays over the next two weeks, officials advised. Caltrans District 8 issued a traffic alert advising that Sept. 28 through Oct. 9, nighttime grinding operations will take place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • T.Y. Lin International Wins 2016 ACEC California Honor Award for I-805 Carroll Canyon Road and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Extension Project in San Diego. T.Y. Lin International (TYLI), a globally recognized full-service infrastructure consulting firm, announces that the I-805 Carroll Canyon Road and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Extension Project in San Diego, California, has won a 2016 Engineering Excellence Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC California). The project involved the extension of Carroll Canyon Road under Interstate 805, the construction of new HOV lanes in each direction along the interstate highway from I-5 to Carroll Canyon Road, and the construction of a northbound Direct Access Ramp (DAR) from the Carroll Canyon Road Extension to the HOV lanes. As Structures Lead on the Carroll Canyon Road Extension and the construction of the DAR to the HOV lanes, TYLI provided type selection and preparation of Plans, Specifications, and Estimates (PS&E). Structures include a 1600-foot-long viaduct with an elevated intersection, three additional bridges, and six specially designed retaining walls.
  • Potholes And Road Damage: How The Census Impacts LA Freeway Commutes. Last year, Angelenos spent an average of 103 hours sitting in traffic, according to an analysis of congested cities worldwide produced by INRIX. As most commuters will tell you, L.A.’s freeways could use some work — looking at you, SR-110. The census may count people, but its data is also the basis for determining what type of road work is done, when and where. Think of it this way: The northern portion of the SR-110 freeway near Pasadena was built in 1938, before millions of residents called the area home. Highway planners had no way of anticipating how central it would be to L.A. more than 80 years later. Funding for improvements — like freeway expansion and repair — is allocated based on census data.
  • 💰/LAT ‘Trump’ spelled out on L.A. hillside a la the Hollywood sign. A large “Trump” sign that appeared overnight in the Sepulveda Pass hills near the 405 Freeway was promptly taken down by authorities Tuesday morning. The sign was made of large white capital letters similar to those of the iconic Hollywood sign and was reportedly spotted just before 7 a.m.
  • City of Downey Officially Opposes Full Metro 605/5 Freeway Widening Impacting Downey Homes. The city of Downey now officially opposes Metro’s plan to widen the 605 and 5 Freeways which would include demolishing hundreds of Downey homes. To briefly recap earlier SBLA coverage, Metro’s 605 Freeway Corridor Improvements Project (605CIP) includes widening of the 605 Freeway, as well as three miles of the 5 Freeway through the city of Downey. Nearly all along the 5 in Downey, single-family home backyards and side yards abutt freeway sound walls. In August, Metro announced that the 605CIP would take out 250+ properties in Downey. Though Metro refuses to state which properties will be taken, it is clear that Metro’s plan would be to demolish more than 200 homes in Downey.
  • Some Say Removal Of ‘Trump’ Sign Along LA Freeway Politically Motivated. The swift removal of a massive “Trump” sign in the style of the iconic Hollywood sign along the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass has some on social media calling foul. “What’s new in California, so typical! Same reason why I can’t have my Trump flag up in my neighborhood; I’m afraid of vandalism but five blocks over there’s 2 BLM signs that we’re all respectful of,” one Twitter user wrote.
  • Caltrans begins to repair fire-damaged State Route 38. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has initiated a $3.5 million director’s order to begin an emergency project to repair damages to State Route 38 as the result of El Dorado wildfire. The project limits are from Thurman Flats to Glass Road. The project has been awarded to Riverside Construction Company, Inc. and started on Friday, Oct. 2. The work will stabilize slopes, remove debris and hazardous/burned trees, excavate and clear culverts and inlet basins (post-fire debris flow basins), replace debris racks and include rock slope scaling. The schedule is 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it will require traffic control until the project is complete. The project is expected to be complete by late spring 2021, contingent on weather and any further damage to the facility.
  • Caltrans postpones resurfacing project at State Route 246 in Lompoc. Caltrans District 5 has postponed its four-day resurfacing project scheduled to fully close State Route 246 in Lompoc from Tuesday, Oct. 6, through Friday, Oct. 9. State Route 246 — from the separation with Highway 1 near North 12th Street — to Mission Gate Road will remain open until a new project start date is determined.
  • Gerald Desmond Bridge opening in California. A grand opening event has been held for the new Gerald Desmond Bridge in California. Located in Long Beach, this cable-stayed bridge provides an important transport route for one of the busiest US ports. The new bridge replaces a through-arch bridge that was built in 1968. A combined virtual and live grand opening was held to highlight the completion of the Gerald Desmond Bridge. This new bridge is around 610m in length, with a main span of around 305m and features two towers that are each 157m-high, making it the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the US and the first such bridge for vehicles in California. It features a 62.5m clearance above the channel, an increase of around 15m from the earlier bridge.
  • Half Moon Bay breaks ground on Highway 1 improvements. The city of Half Moon Bay broke ground Thursday on a traffic safety project along state Highway 1 that will realign its intersection with Main Street and Higgins Canyon Road. The intersection between Highway 1 and the two roads is currently regulated only by stop signs. The city’s project would convert those stop signs to traffic signals and add signalized pedestrian crossings and designated pavement markings for bicycles on southbound Main Street.
  • CoastLines: San Clemente’s Historic Claim to Fame as a Highway Speed Trap. Unless you’re an old-timer, you likely have no idea what San Clemente was famous for long before President Richard Nixon moved into town in 1969, putting us on the international map. The sleepy beach town, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, was known nationwide as a speed trap, notorious for the town’s traffic cop pulling over motorists along old Highway 101 before there was a freeway.
  • Fact check: ‘Trump’ sign near highway violated California regulations. The claim: Officials in California took down a ‘Trump’ sign because it ‘might distract drivers’ Viral photos of large letters on a mountain that spell out “TRUMP” – similar in style to the iconic Hollywood sign – caused controversy on social media as users suggested there were political motives behind the sign’s removal. The posts claim that California officials took it down because it “might distract drivers” but disregard other large billboards on LA freeways.
  • Interstate 15 Corridor Operations Project. Status: Pre-Construction. Location: Western Riverside County. Type of Project: Highways. Location: Southbound Interstate 15, Cajalco Road southbound on-ramp to the Weirick Road southbound off-ramp. Construction: Anticipated from 2023 to 2025. Investment: Estimated $27 million for construction
  • Update on I-605 Corridor Improvement Project’s planning studies. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been receiving questions about the I-605 Corridor Improvement Project. In particular, many of the questions concern whether properties would need to be acquired and demolished to build the project. Before going any further, we want to be abundantly clear: Metro has made no decisions about this project, which is still in the early planning stages. Nor have any decisions been made about property acquisitions. The project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (DEIS/R) will be released in early 2021 and will provide the communities along this corridor with information about the project’s benefits and impacts — as well as ways to potentially avoid or mitigate those impacts.
  • The I-405 Improvement Project Is Nearly 40% Complete. With construction nearly 40 percent complete, the $1.9 billion I-405 Improvement Project has reached a significant milestone. Construction on the project began in 2018 and includes adding one regular lane in each direction between Euclid Street and I-605, and a second lane in each direction in the center of the freeway from SR-73 to I-605 that will combine with the existing carpool lanes to form the 405 Express Lanes. In addition, 18 bridges are being built, widened or replaced as part of the project, which will speed up travel times on I-405 between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles County line.
  • A 1923 alignment of the Lincoln Highway found. Traveling east on Highway 50, just past Pacific House in El Dorado County, is this welcome sign for the Eldorado National Forest. You can see in the background a frontage road that seems to disappear into the present freeway at both ends.
  • 💰/SDUT The second port of entry at Otay Mesa is starting to take shape. If things go according to plan, the long-awaited second port of entry in Otay Mesa could begin operations by the end of 2024. While the project has been under way on the U.S. side for seven years, with the construction of state Route 11 connecting to the new port of entry, news came last week from south of the border of a move that could speed up development.
  • 💰/PD Highway 1 realignment on Sonoma Coast at Gleason Beach headed for mid-2021 construction start. After 13 years of planning, designing, researching environmental considerations and negotiating rights-of-way, Caltrans is angling to start construction next year on a new stretch of Highway 1 along the central Sonoma Coast. The agency plans to shift a nearly 3/4-mile length of roadway 400 feet inland at its farthest point, away from the edge of a rapidly deteriorating bluff that plunges into the Pacific Ocean. A large portion would be elevated above Scotty Creek and adjacent wetlands, becoming the largest man-made structure on the Sonoma County coast.
  • ‘Largest Of Its Kind In The World’: Plans For 101 Freeway Wildlife Crossing In Agoura Hills Released. A planned wildlife crossing across the 101 Freeway between Agoura Hills and Calabasas, which will eventually be the largest of its kind in the world, is scheduled to break ground in 2021, according to new plans released Wednesday. The crossing is being built to give wildlife a way to traverse the 101 Freeway, and avoid being struck by any of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that pass through the area daily. Several mountain lions over the years have been struck and killed while trying to cross the region’s freeways.
  • Summerland highway project to start Nov. 1. The second portion of a five-segment construction project to add peak-period carpool lanes along Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Carpinteira is set to begin on the evening of Nov. 1. In addition to the new freeway lanes, the Highway 101: Summerland project will include new bridges and undercrossings at Evans Avenue and Sheffield Drive, along with highway ramp and drainage improvements, according to Caltrans officials.
  • California Transportation Commission Invests More Than $830 Million in Highway and Rail Projects, Improves Pedestrian and Bicycle Access. The California Transportation Commission today approved more than $830 million to repair highways and bridges and improve the state’s growing network of pedestrian, bicycle and mass transit routes. This investment includes more than $600 million in allocations for State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) projects, Caltrans’ “fix-it-first” program aimed at preserving the condition of the State Highway System. “We are advancing projects that will keep our economy moving and improve access for all Californians,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “This includes improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians, expanding public transportation and helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Projects approved in Caltrans District 1 include…
  • Paso Robles CA Wellsona Road, Hwy 101 underpass approved. A long-anticipated fix for a dangerous northern San Luis Obispo County intersection is moving forward — although it’s still a couple of years away from construction. The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a freeway agreement with the state, advancing a $12.2 million Caltrans project to build an underpass at the Wellsona Road-Highway 101 intersection between Paso Robles and San Miguel.
  • SLO County approves $12 million fix for Highway 101 at Wellsona Road. This week, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an agreement with the state to build an underpass at the Wellsona Road-Highway 101, according to news reports. Over the years, the intersection just north of Paso Robles has been host to numerous fatal vehicle accidents. Caltrans, which proposed the improvement in 2017, says the underpass is now fully funded, and construction could begin in 2022. The project is expected to cost $12.2 million.
  • Next phase of I-80/I-680/Highway 12 project ready to begin. A virtual ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Thursday to mark the start of work on Package 2A of the Interstate-80/Interstate-680/Highway 12 Interchange Project. The next phase, the second of seven, is designed to improve “the distribution of three major freeway movements at this interchange by configuring the ramps and access to local streets for operational efficiency and safety and congestion relief,” the state Department of Transportation announced.
  • New I-5 Exit Lane Opens Wednesday, Could Reduce Traffic in UCSD Area. The new exit-only lane allows motorists to enter the freeway from Genesee Avenue and continue directly to the La Jolla Village Drive off-ramp without having to merge with freeway traffic. The approximately half-mile auxiliary lane is intended to improve traffic flow, reduce travel delays and increase overall safety in the area. Prior to its completion, the heavily trafficked southbound I-5 off-ramp to La Jolla Village Drive often caused congestion on the freeway, posing a safety risk to motorists.
  • Oakland: New park opens alongside Bay Bridge. The Bay Area has a new shoreline park. Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline opened to the public on Wednesday, showcasing views of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline. A 600-foot-long observation pier has been built atop six piles from the original Bay Bridge. Benches, tables, and light stands along the pier use steel from the old bridge.
  • 💰/SJMN Fourth lane opening Thursday on north Interstate 680. Q: The badly needed fourth lane on north Interstate 680 through the Sunol Grade seems ready to open, but will it be a toll lane like on I-880?
  • Caltrans, area elected officials break ground on major interchange project in Fairfield. Work officially got underway Thursday on the estimated $77 million interchange project where the 80 and 680 interstates and Highway 12 converge in Fairfield, a two-year effort that is expected to improve traffic flow by configuring ramps and access to local streets. Local elected officials and Caltrans Bay Area leaders gathered for a 10 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony, some via Zoom, others in person, near the Cordelia RV Center, a stone’s throw from eastbound I-80, as cars, trucks and semi-tractor trailers roared by in the distance.
  • Highway 101 was deadliest road in Santa Barbara County from 2010 to 2018, data show. Highway 101 was the deadliest road in Santa Barbara County between 2010 and 2018, and nearly one-third of all fatal automobile collisions in the county involved alcohol, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In that time period, 80 of the county’s 262 fatal collisions, or 31%, involved alcohol and accounted for the deaths of 93 people, according to the data, which include collisions with police-reported alcohol involvement or a positive alcohol test result.
  • Placer County approves Resort Triangle Transportation Plan. Placer County took a step forward Tuesday on sustainable transportation in eastern Placer with the Board of Supervisors unanimously voting in support of the Resort Triangle Transportation Plan. The plan is intended to provide a unified local vision for North Lake Tahoe’s three main transportation corridors — state Routes 28, 89 and 267 and adjacent communities, which make up the area’s “Resort Triangle” between Placer’s lakeside communities, mountain resorts and the Town of Truckee.
  • 💰/SDUT San Diegans can give input on I-15/SR 78 projects Thursday. Improvements to the Interstate 15 and state Route 78 interchange are still five years away and will depend on funding, but members of the public can begin weighing in on the proposal Thursday night in a virtual meeting.
    The meeting hosted by the San Diego Association of Governments can be accessed at https://sandag.mysocialpinpoint.com/1578 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Details about the project can be found at http://bit.ly/sr78project.
  • Exploring the Lincoln Highway in El Dorado County, Part 1. The Lincoln Highway was America’s first transcontinental highway in 1913. You could cross the country following local roads, but piecing them together into one grand cross-country trip was difficult. What the Lincoln Highway did was put a route that you could follow on a map, and along with directional signs, you could head out from Times Square, New York, and follow the road all the way to the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
  • The Lincoln Highway in El Dorado County, Part 2, historic Trout Creek Bridge. We are continuing our California pioneer (southern route) Lincoln Highway tour, which starts at Stateline, Nevada, and now takes us west on Pioneer Trail or the Lincoln Highway back in 1913. You can read about the Stateline start of our adventure here.
  • The Lincoln Highway at Meyer’s, El Dorado County Part 3. Traveling from the Trout Creek Bridge, we are headed west towards the town of Meyer’s. Along the way, our Lincoln Highway map has a small truck icon along the road. Clicking the icon, we find that this was the route used in 1919 by the US Army convoy traveling from Washington DC to San Francisco.
  • Meyers Grade to Johnson’s Pass, Lincoln Highway in El Dorado County, Part 4. We have been discussing the route of the original 1913 Lincoln Highway through El Dorado County, and with our last post, we started the climb from the Lake Tahoe Valley floor up Meyers Grade towards Johnson’s Pass. The photo above shows an automobile making the climb from where I believe the present Highway 50 passes. There are only a few flat spots along the grade, and one such spot is where Meyer’s Grade Road passes over the present-day freeway. In the map below, we show where this photo, #1, was taken. When the present freeway was built, some of the original section of the last climb up to the pass was destroyed. We believe the car is where the present-day freeway passes.
  • The Lincoln Highway, EL Dorado County, Johnson’s Pass, Part 5. We continue our adventure up Meyer’s Grade near Lake Tahoe on the old Lincoln Highway. This climb was the last major difficulty for emigrants in the 1850s who had come to settle in California or gather its riches and head back home. Early automobiles would often break down under the climb’s strain, and reaching Johnson’s Pass was a major relief, as it was mostly downhill to Sacramento.
  • A Tale of Two Bridges: The I-405 Improvement Project Reaches New Milestones. With the recent completion and opening of two bridges, the I-405 Improvement Project reached two milestones in mid-October. Bushard Street opened to traffic on October 12 and McFadden Avenue followed four days later on October 16. The two bridges are among 18 to be built, widened or replaced as part of the project, which aims to reduce travel times on I-405 between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles County line.
  • (FB) Sign Replacement – I-710. July 2020. These Caltrans photos show the replacement of an entire sign bridge (and signs) on the Long Beach Fwy (I-710) approaching the Santa Ana Fwy (I-5); this widening project was one of my last design jobs before I retired in 2017. See captions for more info.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Trans-Sierra Highways; California State Route 108 over Sonora Pass. I made one final revision to the California State Route 108/Sonora Pass article. The last update greatly expanded the history of transportation over Sonora Pass in addition to the history of CA 108. This final revision includes a brand new photo log of the entire route of CA 108 from Sonora Junction west over Sonora Pass to Modesto..
  • California State Route 263; former US Route 99 in the Shasta River Canyon. Nestled below Interstate 5 in the Shasta River Canyon of Siskiyou County one can find a surprisingly scenic highway in the form of California State Route 263. California State Route 263 is also a relic of the 1931 alignment of US Route 99 north of the City of Yreka.
  • (FB) CA 200. CA 200 is a small 3 mile State Highway signed on North Bank Road within Humboldt County near the community of Arcata. CA 200 follows the north bank of the Mad River and serves as a connector route between US 101 east to CA 299.
  • (FB) CA 275. This past month the topic the shortest State Highway in California has come up a couple times. Popular notion has it that CA 275 is currently the shortest State Highway at 0.14 miles in length spanning the Tower Bridge. The true answer is CA 225 in the City of Santa Barbara which still exists on 0.081 miles on Castillo Street as part of an underpass. The present route of CA 225 can be seen in the Caltrans Postmile Tool as shown in photos 1 and 2. Photos 3 and 4 are CA 225 as it presently exists on Castillo Street. Note; there is a change in the pavement quality approaching the State Maintained part of CA 225. CA 225 does not have any current signage that appears in field.
  • California State Route 36. Through my travels this past decade one of the more frequent highways I’ve driven in Northern California has been California State Route 36.
  • Former US Route 99 in Red Bluff (the US Route 99 West and US Route 99 East split). In this article we look at the history of US Route 99 within the City of Red Bluff in Tehama County, California. Red Bluff is where US Route 99 split into East and West Routes through Sacramento Valley.
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