🛣 Headlines About California Highways – December 2020

Ah, 2020. So nice to finally have you in the rearview mirror of history. You’ve left mayhem and destruction in your wake, and you’ve even sent debris ahead of you. We’ve had to send out significant crews to clean up the mess that you have left. Precious little good has come out of the 2020—a new president, some new vaccines, and the site redesign of California Highways. But the year has seen sickness and intense work to “flatten the curve”. This, in turn, curtailed vacations and roadtrips. We couldn’t get out there and visit the roads, and explore the history. But the workers on our highway—they are essential workers working on the road so we can get where we need to go. It is their hard work that makes these headlines possible.

To everyone reading this, may you have a happy and healthy new year. The periodic update for the California Highways is in the works as I post this. As they say, “watch this space”. So let’s look back at the headlines and post of interest for December 2020 … and toast to a much better 2021.

[Ħ Historical information | $ Paywalls and  ∅ other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; PE/Press Enterprise; LBPT/Long Beach Press Telegram; DB/Daily Breeze; LADN/Los Angeles Daily News; LAT/LA Times; RDI/Ridgecrest Daily Independent; VSG/Visalia Sun Gazette; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; EBT/East Bay Times; SACBEE/Sacramento Bee; SBJ/Sacramento Business Journal; TDT/Tahoe Daily Tribune; MIJ/Marin Independent-Journal; NVR/Napa Valley Register; PD/Press Democrat; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; ]

Highway Headlines

  • Granite Awarded $39 Million Highway Widening Project in Southern California. Granite (NYSE:GVA) announced it has been awarded the State Route 74 Ortega Highway Widening Project by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in Lake Elsinore, California. The $39 million contract is anticipated to be included in Granite’s fourth quarter 2020 backlog.
  • /PE 60 Freeway median work near Fontana, Jurupa Valley to be wrapped in 2021. Q: Gabro Gonzales recently noticed construction work being done in the median on the 60 Freeway around Fontana/Jurupa Valley near the Country Village exit. He said lights had been installed in the same area and he questioned why workers were now removing the concrete median and lights in the same area.
  • I-8/Imperial Closure Starts Dec. 3; to Last 6-8 Months. Construction crews will close the westbound Interstate 8/Imperial Avenue ramps on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 9 p.m., which will leave the eastbound and westbound I-8 ramps at Imperial closed for six to eight months for Stage 2 work on the I-8/Imperial interchange project, according to a press release from the state Department of Transportation.
  • The International Road Federation Announces Global Road Achievement Award. The International Road Federation (IRF) has announced that the “Pacific Coast Highway – South Los Angeles” Project performed for Caltrans by VSS International, Inc. of West Sacramento, CA, has won the 2020 Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA) in the category of “Asset Preservation & Maintenance Management.”  The award was presented to VSS International, Inc. on November 13th at the 2020 IRF Global R2T Conference. This award-winning section of the Pacific Coast Highway stretched 22 miles from Seal Beach north to Artesia Boulevard in Los Angeles County consisting of over 130 lane miles.
  • Ninth Circuit Clears Path for Contested Highway Project in Ancient Redwood Grove. The Ninth Circuit gave California a green light Wednesday to move forward with a contested highway project through a majestic grove of ancient redwood trees, reversing a lower court ruling that halted construction pending further environmental review. The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, has been trying for more than a decade to alter a 1.1-mile strip of Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County, about a 3 ½-hour drive north from San Francisco. Established in 1922, the park is home to redwood trees as old as 3,000 years old and soaring up to 300 feet and with diameters as wide as 18 feet.
  • /MIJ State allots key funds for Marin-Sonoma Narrows project. A years long project aiming to address one of the North Bay’s worst traffic bottlenecks is closer to completion after receiving $40 million from the state. The funds approved by the California Transportation Commission in a unanimous vote on Wednesday will go toward finishing the Marin-Sonoma “narrows” project on Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma where traffic clogs as the highway narrows from three to two lanes. The project will add a carpool lane in each direction along the 17-mile stretch of highway. An estimated 146,000 cars and 6,900 trucks used the section of highway daily prior to the pandemic.

  • Echo Summit Work Completed (FB).. Caltrans has acknowledged the completion of the U.S. Highway 50 Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct Replacement Project with a virtual ribbon cutting. We want to thank El Dorado County, the City of South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Chamber and South Lake Tahoe CHP for their support of this project. We also want to thank the visitors, businesses and residents of the South Lake Tahoe area for their patience and understanding of the need for this project, which replaced a bridge built in 1939 …
  • Highway 395 Icon Closes for Good. A must-stop for thousands of travelers on Highway 395, to and from the Eastern Sierra, has closed its doors for good. Astroburger, at Four Corners (Kramer Junction) will be raised [sic – Ed] for a new ARCO station. Although the building  had become dilapidated over the years with weeds in the parking lots, lack of signage, and unsure-of hours, it still drew a crowd on Sunday afternoons for visitors returning from mountain and or desert trips, enjoying Astroburger for the milkshakes and all- American fast food.
  • State invests $565 million in transportation improvements, awards $2 billion for future projects (Lake County). The California Transportation Commission on Thursday today allocated more than $565 million for current projects – and approved $2 billion in future improvements – to address transportation needs throughout the state. This continued investment will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes.
  • SANDAG to reissue RFP for Rancho Lilac management. The California Department of Transportation acquired the 902-acre Rancho Lilac property as mitigation for the widening of state Route 76, and the San Diego Association of Governments will issue a new request for proposals for the management of the Rancho Lilac land in Valley Center. Although SANDAG staff recommended approval of the proposal from the San Diego Habitat Conservancy, the SANDAG board voted 14-5 to seek a new request for proposals. The representatives from Carlsbad, Escondido, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego voted against the motion.
  • Highway 156 Castroville Boulevard interchange project gets $20 million from state. A first phase of the long-awaited Highway 156 corridor improvement project is now fully funded and ready for construction after being approved for $20 million in state gas tax funding by the California Transportation Commission. According to the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, the state transportation commission gave the thumbs up on Tuesday to allocating SB 1 trade corridor enhancement program funds for the $55.2 million Castroville Boulevard interchange project.
  • State Allocates Funding For Highway 4 Wagon Trail Improvements. Plans to construct what is referred to as the Highway 4 Wagon Trail Realignment Project, between Angels Camp and Copperopolis, have been under discussion since around 2007. Different scenarios have been reviewed over the years, and officials have been setting aside money, to both repair and realign the winding and dangerous stretch of Highway 4. As referenced in the name, it once served as a trail for covered wagons. Calaveras County Supervisor Dennis Mills reports that after four and a half hours of hearings yesterday, the California Transportation Commission awarded $5.9 million to move the project to construction.
  • /PD 40 million grant to cover final segment in Hwy 101 widening project in Sonoma, Marin counties. A state grant that represents the final piece of funding for the North Bay’s Highway 101 widening project is expected to fall into place this week. California transportation officials are scheduled to meet Wednesday to review a staff recommendation granting more than $40 million in gas tax revenues to Marin County to widen its final stretch of highway in the Sonoma-Marin Narrows north of Novato. If approved, it would mark the beginning of the end for the largest road project in the North Bay in a generation — the addition of a third lane in each direction from Windsor to Sausalito — at an estimated cost of more than $1.2 billion.
  • Caltrans: State Invests $565 Million in Transportation (Paso Robles). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Friday, Dec. 4, allocated more than $565 million for current projects — and approved $2 billion in future improvements — to address transportation needs throughout the state. This continued investment will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes. … A project approved in San Luis Obispo County includes: …
  • California Transportation Commission awards $516 million to local projects to fix bottlenecks and improve transit (Los Angeles). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Wednesday approved the award of $516 million in new SB-1 grants for Metro’s local transportation improvements, including: • $150 million in Solutions for Congested Corridors Program funds for the I-105 ExpressLanes Expansion. The project will build ExpressLanes on the 105 for 16 miles between the 405 and 605 — a very busy stretch of freeway used by many people to travel to and from LAX. There will be two ExpressLanes in each direction, including the existing HOV lane that will be converted to an ExpressLane. The project is expected to reduce daily vehicle delays in both the ExpressLanes and general purpose lanes — and shave minutes off travel time in all lanes.
  • Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads – Historic Highway 99 Association News. The Historic Highway 99 Association of California is getting ready to get going. Within the next week or so, it will be officially incorporated. It is currently looking for people to help with some of the administrative end, specifically with two board members and regional support. If you’re interested in bringing positive change to Historic US 99, why not check it out?
  • Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads – Save California LandmarksThere are many historic locations in California. Many of them are marked with plaques. Over time, these have been stolen or otherwise gone missing. A group, called the California Landmark Foundation, is working toward replacing those markers. They are looking for your help. https://savethelandmarks.org/.
  • Ħ Strawberry on the Lincoln Highway. These wonderful photos show Strawberry’s two locations. The location of the Strawberry House has been a source of confusion for me. The secret is realizing there were a total of four Strawberry Houses over the years. Irad Barry built the first roadhouse in 1858 along what is now Highway 50. There is a state rock monument describing the first location just west of the gas station. It was here that a second larger lodge was built and stood until a fire destroyed it in 1867.  The photo above shows the huge structure.
  • Ħ A crossroads on the northern route of the Lincoln Highway, Part 5. The 1913 route of Lincoln Highway from the Second Summit outside Verdi to Truckee is likely some of the least visited sections of the old road. This route was active with transcontinental drivers until 1926 when the Truckee River’s new route was completed. That Truckee River route is the path that Highway 40 took, and Interstate 80 follows today. The Dog Valley route soon lost most of it’s its traffic and became what it is today, a back road, little traveled, filled with history.
  • Ħ Colfax, Placer County, 1870s. This is a fabulous photo from the Placer County Museums showing a portion of the business district of Colfax taken in the 1870s, during the town’s heyday.
  • Bay Area scores $407 million in SB1 transportation dollars for 11 projects. Bay Area highway, transit and goods-movement projects this week earned more than $400 million in new funding as the California Transportation Commission (CTC) finalized a new round of awards through a trio of competitive statewide programs established by the Senate Bill 1 transportation investment package signed into law in 2017.  MTC will work with Caltrans, BART and county transportation agencies to deliver 11 crucial projects around the Bay Area, which together earned about 20 percent of the total $2.046 billion awarded by the CTC through the Solutions for Congested Corridors, Trade Corridor Enhancement and Local Partnership programs.
  • Solano receives $147M in SB 1 funds for 2 I-80 projects. Eighteen miles of Express Lanes will be added to westbound Interstate 80 from Travis Boulevard to the Interstate 505 exit, work that is expected to start in 2021. The $275 million project includes $123 million in Senate Bill 1 funding that was recently awarded, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission announced. Supervisor Jim Spering, who sits on the commission board and the Solano Transportation Authority board, called the project critical in alleviating commuter congestion.
  • /PD Highway 101 Narrows project awarded $40 million for final leg between Sonoma, Marin counties. State transportation officials on Wednesday awarded more than $40 million to Marin County to complete the last segment of the Highway 101 Sonoma-Marin Narrows lane-widening project. The grant will go toward constructing a third lane in both directions of the highway from Novato to just south of the Sonoma-Marin county line. The project is estimated to cost almost $136 million and begin in the spring, with a three-year buildout.
  • California Transportation Commission Approves $40.1 Million For Marin-Sonoma Narrows Project. A vote early Wednesday evening approved a North Bay highway construction project that will receive a major funding boost to ease traffic along one of the most congested corridors in the entire Bay Area. Highway 101 just north of Novato is one of the worst freeway choke points in the region. The freeway is six lanes through most of Marin, but suddenly shrinks to four, creating a nightmare for merging traffic. The California Transportation Commission approved $40.1 million for the final highway segment of the Marin-Sonoma Narrows Project at a meeting Wednesday evening.
  • California Transportation Commission Approves $40 Million For Novato Narrows Project. The California Transportation Commission approved an additional $40 million dollars in funding for the Novato narrows widening project on Highway 101. The project will add a carpool lane in each direction of the 17-mile long stretch of freeway, and these funds will be for the completion of the final 6 miles of the project near the Marin-Sonoma County border. Once completed, the carpool lane will continue uninterrupted from Santa Rosa to just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • San Mateo County Highway 101 Express Lanes Project set to finish late 2022. The San Mateo County Highway 101 Express Lanes Project is on schedule to be completed and open in late 2022, but drivers will still see overnight lanes closures in 2021, transportation officials said.
  • Caltrans awards contract to widen State Route 74 Ortega Highway. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has awarded Granite Construction the contract to widen the State Route 74 Ortega Highway in Lake Elsinore, California. The US $39m project will see the widening of the State Route 74 from Lake Elsinore to the Riverside County/Orange County line. This is in order to enhance the safety of this busy route between the cities of Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano.
  • Caltrans seeks public comment on State Route 49 safety assessment report, proposed improvements. Caltrans released its State Route 49 Safety Assessment Report a month ago and will continue to seek public comment and questions about the findings and proposed improvements until Friday, Dec. 11. “We encourage members of the public to review the assessment and provide feedback about proposed safety solutions,” said Mike Luken, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency. “Your comments greatly inform the various agencies collaborating to deliver transportation projects and safety enhancements along the corridor.”
  • Bay Area transportation receives $407 million to fund 11 projects. On Thursday, the Bay Area received a total of $407 million from the California Transportation Commission, or CTC, to fund 11 projects. Some of the projects that will be funded with $123 million from the CTC include the construction of express lanes to improve mobility along Interstate 80 through the heart of Solano County, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or MTC, press release. Another $25 million will be allocated to complete the Interstate 680 Southbound Express Lanes project in Alameda County, the press release adds.
  • /EBT $120 million project to improve Oakland, Alameda traffic. A plan that has been decades in the works to reconfigure the ramps of Interstate 880 in Oakland’s Chinatown — and which thousands of Alameda commuters use daily — to help ease traffic congestion is moving forward. Known as the Oakland Alameda Access Project, the plans for around Interstate 880 include the creation of a right-turn-only lane onto Fifth Street at the exit of the Posey Tube, which carries traffic from Alameda into Oakland, to provide almost direct access to the freeway both north and south.
  • /EBT Fremont to permanently close part of Morrison Canyon Road to cars over safety concerns. A portion of Morrison Canyon Road, a narrow and steep rural route in the Fremont hills that commuters seized upon in recent years to bypass highway traffic, will be permanently closed to cars, the Fremont City Council decided unanimously this month. The move comes more than two years after the council approved a temporary closure of the same stretch of road in the name of safety, as there are frequently conflicts for space on the road, involving bicyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists. Some hillside residents who live above the portion that will be closed opposed the decision, as they use Morrison Canyon to more quickly get into the city center. They also claim the closure will slow emergency response to their homes.
  • Caltrans Appoints Tony Tavares To Caltrans District 7 Director. An engineer and project management professional with over 30 years of experience at Caltrans was appointed Tuesday as director of the department’s District 7, which consists of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Tony Tavares will oversee the freeway and highway system in those two counties as well as the nearly 3,000 employees who design, construct, preserve and plan the system and administer its programs, according to Eric Menjivar of Caltrans.
  • A Guide to Different Types of Traffic Markers. When driving on the highway, it’s common to pass through construction zones filled with orange markers telling you where to go. Since traffic cones are all over our streets, it’s easy to not give them much thought. But these useful markers create visual and spatial barriers along roads in dangerous areas to help keep us drivers safer.
  • 101 construction inches closer to completion. If you’ve driven through Salinas over the past year, you’ve likely run into construction on US Highway 101. The multi-year, multi-million dollar project inches closer to the finish line. It’s a project that’s been driving many people crazy for months. The dust and loud noises overnight have been a nuisance for people who live along the corridor and they’re excited for the new road to be finished. “They’ve been doing this highway improvement project. the result has been great. freshly paved lanes, wider lanes, good on ramps and off ramps,” says Salinas resident Don Clary.
  • U.S. House approves Route 66 centennial bill, which awaits president’s signature. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate version of the Route 66 Centennial Commission Act, advancing it to the office of President Donald Trump for his signature. Bill Thomas, chairman of the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership that shepherded the bill, said in a news release Tuesday the House suspended its regular rules to advance the bill, S.1014. If signed into law, 15 commissioners will be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Secretary of Transportation, Senate and House majority leaders and governors of the eight states Route 66 traverses.
  • I-5 San Elijo Lagoon Highway Bridge Foundation Now Complete. On December 4, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Build North Coast Corridor (NCC) crews performed the final concrete pour to complete the underground foundation for the new Interstate 5 (I-5) bridge at the San Elijo Lagoon in the City of Encinitas. The bridge reconstruction will help relieve traffic congestion, improve lagoon tidal flows, and create new bike and pedestrian paths when complete in late 2021. “Throughout the course of this regionally significant transportation project, the efforts to reestablish the health of the San Elijo Lagoon is an achievement with regional environmental benefits,” said Gustavo Dallarda, Caltrans District 11 Director. “In this time of COVID restrictions, the men and women of Caltrans and our contractors remain committed to safety and delivering this truly exceptional project.”
  • Days of toll takers on Bay Area bridges are over. The days of seeing toll-takers on Bay Area bridges are apparently over.  At the start of the pandemic, the few toll collectors who were left were replaced with FasTrak lanes as a safety precaution. Now, the Bay Area Toll Authority says the workers won’t return, even after the pandemic is over.
  • My Word | Supervisors: Save Richardson Grove, save your county (Opinion). On Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will consider our county’s official position on realigning the road through Richardson Grove State Park (RGSP). This Caltrans project would create, for the first time ever, a North-South route for giant Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) trucks, coinciding with another major realignment on Highway 199, along the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Together they would create a new circuit linking Interstate 5, Highway 299 to Redding, Highway 101 north and south, and 199 to Grants Pass.
  • /NVR Project to relieve congestion at Highways 29/221 could go to bid next year. Soscol Junction, the biggest local highway congestion-relieving project in years, just received a crucial financial boost. The California Transportation Commission last week approved $25 million for Soscol Junction. That’s the final funding piece needed for this $64 million undertaking where Highway 29 and Highway 221 meet, south of the city of Napa near the Grape Crusher statue. “It’s a huge day,” Napa Valley Transportation Authority Executive Director Kate Miller said.
  • Caltrans awards CM/GC contract of Segment 4C of Highway 101 in Santa Barbara. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has awarded Granite Construction Segment 4C (Summerland) of the Highway 101 Santa Barbara to Carpinteria Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) project. The Highway 101 Segment 4C Santa Barbara to Carpinteria project is the final phase of a larger program to increase safety, mobility, and provide congestion relief along US Route 101 in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. Segment 4C adds 1.7 miles of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in Santa Barbara County to reduce traffic congestion between Santa Barbara and Ventura.
  • /SJMN Gulp! Fixing 101-880 mess could cost $1 billion: Roadshow. Q: The worst interchange in the region is at Highway 101 and Interstate 880 in San Jose. Merging off one highway or onto the other is a nightmare with lanes ending and many cars and trucks merging. I have almost gotten into several accidents there. Are there any plans to rebuild it?
  • /MIJ Marin highway connector project nears environmental review. Transportation officials in Marin are preparing to begin the environmental review process for a project that aims to ease commute traffic with a connector ramp between Highway 101 and eastbound Interstate 580. The project, which the Transportation Authority of Marin authorized last year, calls for building a partially raised ramp to relieve the congestion that backs up as drivers traverse city streets to access Interstate 580. To reach the interstate, drivers going north on Highway 101 must exit the freeway at East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Larkspur or the Bellam Boulevard offramp in San Rafael.
  • Virtual Public Meeting to Provide Update on Caltrans-led Highway 9 Projects on Dec. 16. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson will host Caltrans and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission for a virtual community meeting from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on December 16 to share progress on the Caltrans-led State Route 9 Felton Pedestrian Safety Project. The project will enhance pedestrian access from Graham Hill Road to the San Lorenzo Valley Schools Complex in Felton along the Highway. A Project Initiation Document (PID) has been completed which establishes a well-defined purpose-and-need statement, proposed project scope tied to a reliable cost estimate and schedule. A PID is required by Caltrans for most projects on their right-of-way before beginning the environmental review and design phases. The environmental review phase has been initiated for this project.
  • CT News 2020, Issue 2 | Caltrans. Rock berm to the rescue on Tioga Pass ⁃ Between a rock and a river: The Ferguson Project ⁃ Are days numbered for longtime SR 140 detour? ⁃ Burbank Historical Society preserves bridge bits ⁃ State Routes 243 and 74 photo gallery. Note: Your humble editor has been interviewed for a future issue. The link to past issues of this publication, which I never knew about, is: https://dot.ca.gov/ctnews/archive .
  • /SJMN Why did they forget the other half of 580-680 interchange?. Q: Going from Interstate 680 to 580 is nice because they did a flyover, but they forgot about going from west 580 to south 680, which is terrible.
  • California invests in transportation improvements, awards $2B for future projects. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) recently allocated more than $565 million for current projects—and approved $2 billion in future improvements—to address transportation needs throughout the state. This continued investment will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle, and pedestrian routes.
  • Court Deals EPIC a Setback in Richardson Grove Ruling. On December 2, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous lower court decision to halt Caltrans plans to adjust the alignment of Hwy 101 through Richardson Grove to allow STAA trucks to travel through the area. STAA trucks have a longer cab length and are banned from the Grove which means that trucks of that class from the Bay Area seeking to go north of the area must go up I-5 and cross at Hwy 299 rather than come up 101. Trucks heading south on 101 have to cross over 299 and go south on I-5 rather than continue on 101. The court agreed with Caltrans that it had conducted appropriate environmental reviews. It noted that no old growth redwoods would be removed under the plan. It told the lower court it had erred.
  • Caltrans posts Rio Vista bridge work schedule. Partial nighttime closures are expected on the Rio Vista bridge starting next week, the state Department of Transportation announced. The work will occur from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday into Tuesday and Tuesday into Wednesday.
  • Caltrans, SANDAG Host Virtual Groundbreaking for SR-125, SR-905 Connector Project. San Diego leaders hosted a remote groundbreaking celebration Thursday to mark the start of construction on the final connector between State Routes 125 and 905. Crews have begun work on the connector that will bridge southbound SR-125 to westbound SR-905, which, when finished, “will complete SR-125,” said Caltrans District 11 Director Gustavo Dallarda. Dallarda also said the project’s completion will bring a “binational vision for a vibrant region” by better connecting East County and East Chula Vista to Otay Mesa and the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • SR 54, I-805 Interchange To Close This Weekend For Construction. At 8 p.m. Friday night Caltrans and San Diego Association of Governments crews will begin a weekend-long closure on the westbound State Route 54 to southbound Interstate 805 connector ramp, the Reo Drive on-ramp to westbound SR 54 and up to three inside lanes in both directions of I-805. Crews will be upgrading bridge bearing pads on the connector ramp. These improvements are intended to prolong the life of the connector and are a part of the continued investment in South County infrastructure as part of the I-805 South Corridor Enhancement Projects.
  • OCTA and RCTC Partner on 91 Corridor Operations Project. The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), in partnership with OCTA, Caltrans, the Transportation Corridor Agencies, and the City of Corona, is building the 91 Corridor Operations Project which will add a lane to westbound SR-91 for approximately two miles between the Green River Road on-ramp and the southbound SR-241 connector. Construction is underway on the new lane, which will help relieve westbound traffic congestion through this heavily traveled corridor and is expected to open in late 2021.
  • OCTA Receives $140 Million from CTC for SR-55 Improvement Project. OCTA has been awarded $140 million in competitive state transportation funding to support the SR-55 Improvement Project between I-5 and I-405 in central Orange County. The funding comes from the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which awarded $115 million from the SB1 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program and $25 million from the SB1 Local Partnership Competitive Program.
  • Fundraising Time – Ridge Route Preservation Organization. It is that time of year again and we need your help. We are looking to raise some funds to cover basic operating expenses, such as our PO BOX and website. At this time, we would like to raise $300, which will cover us for a while. Once the current crisis is over, we will be able to do more fundraising through our CUTRR events, which will help not only keep those events going, but help with our fight to get the road open and maintained.
  • Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads – T.M. Schultze Photography. I recently discovered a treasure trove of photography for US 80 and more. T.M. Schultze is based in the San Diego area and has a big interest in old highways, as well as rock art, scenery, and more. He has quite a passion for the art and I strongly recommend checking this site out.
  • California Roads (Alps Roads Update). My first of the 2014-era updates features old US 99 through California and the various roads nearby. My main site has the full info or you can click through all the pages linked from my California page. In this case, comments and corrections are VERY welcome, because I am touching on a historic corridor and I know there are experts out there with more to add. Please don’t hesitate to write!
  • McClure Tunnel to close for upgrades. The McClure Tunnel and several nearby ramps will temporarily close in January to facilitate upgrades to the freeway. According to The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the work zone runs from Lincoln Blvd. to the Broadway Pedestrian bridge with closures expected to start on Jan. 4. Ramp closures associated with the project will occur mostly overnight between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. and the tunnel itself will be closed for a week from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday. Workers will be installing new lights, a high friction road surface, speed warning system and the county’s first queue warning system.
  • Freeway ramps to close for McClure Tunnel upgrade. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has announced a project to upgrade the tunnel lighting system and install a queue warning system at the McClure Tunnel on Interstate 10 (I-10) and State Route 1 (SR-1) in the city of Santa Monica. Overnight full closures of the McClure Tunnel and nearby ramps will occur during construction. The project will include the following:
  • /NVR Napa County says ‘yes’ to Soscol Ferry Road roundabout. Soscol Ferry Road and Devlin Road meet on the outskirts of the airport industrial area at a busy intersection that Napa County wants to see become a roundabout sooner rather than later. The long-time plan had been to install a traffic signal at the intersection. But Napa County Public Works Director Steven Lederer said this will no longer work. The reason is the planned, $64 million Soscol Junction, which is a separate project to be built a few hundred feet away by Caltrans and the Napa Valley Transportation Authority starting in 2022.
  • Supervisors approve use of eminent domain to carry out Wagon Trail project. At a Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 8, the board held a public hearing and unanimously approved a resolution of necessity to acquire property interests through eminent domain in order to carry out the State Route 4 Wagon Trail Project. The Wagon Trail project, which has formally been in the works since 2001, aims to realign and improve a roughly six-mile stretch of Highway 4 between Copperopolis and Angels Camp.
  • SigAlert: Big Rig Damages 5 Freeway Bridge In San Fernando. A big rig damaged a bridge on the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway in the San Fernando area, prompting the California Highway Patrol to shut down two lanes and issue a SigAlert Tuesday morning. The crash occurred shortly before 6 a.m., and cleanup work continued after 9 a.m., according to the CHP. Two right lanes of the southbound side of Golden State (5) Freeway were blocked near Sheldon Street in the San Fernando area so crews can clean up debris from the crash involving a big rig.
  • /SJMN No plans to widen Niles Canyon Road: Roadshow. Q: The thought of widening Niles Canyon Road through Fremont … those are fighting words. … Whoa there. A superhighway through Niles Canyon is a major no-no. It is a scenic route and along a major water source for Fremont. … I wish widening Niles Canyon were so, but unfortunately, I believe you’re mistaken about this.
  • /PE Construction to start on Corona’s McKinley Street bridge in 2021. Construction on a $111 million bridge that will separate cars and trains along Corona’s busiest thoroughfare could start in June. City officials say they have the cash they need to build a four-lane McKinley Street railroad overpass in east Corona, after snaring a $10.3 million grant from the California Transportation Commission this month. “I can’t be more thrilled,” Mayor Jacque Casillas said.
  • /LAT Activists wield bolt cutters in a tense L.A. neighborhood as poor families seize empty homes. Weary after months of sleeping on other peoples’ couches, Martha Escudero walked through the broken door of an empty home in El Sereno and started bringing it back to life. She fixed the garbage disposal, turned the garage into a classroom for her 11- and 8-year-old daughters and harvested squash and sweet potatoes from a vegetable garden she planted. Her homesteading, part of an organized effort by tenant activists in March, was illegal, but it worked. The L.A. Housing Authority this fall granted occupancy rights to the family of Escudero and others who had seized numerous homes that the state acquired as part of now-abandoned plans to extend the 710 Freeway.
  • Plan Bay Area 2050: Final Blueprint Analysis Released. MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) have released the Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint Outcomes — a major milestone in the development of Plan Bay Area 2050, the Bay Area’s long-range plan to guide the growth of the nine-county region for the next generation. The Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint, which is made up of the strategies, growth geographies, and regional growth forecast was approved by MTC and ABAG in September 2020. Building on analyses of the Draft Blueprint, the Final Blueprint includes a set of 35 revised and expanded strategies to tackle the Bay Area’s transportation, housing, economic and environmental challenges while creating a more resilient and equitable future for the Bay Area. These strategies are either public policies or sets of investments that can be implemented in the Bay Area over the next 30 years.
  • Windsor roundabout project wins $2.8 million state grant. An ongoing roundabout project that will help transform how people get around downtown Windsor near a future passenger rail stop was buoyed this month by a highly sought-after state grant worth $2.84 million. The transportation funding totals more than a third of the overall cost to build the traffic circle — the town’s third — at the intersection of Windsor and Windsor River roads, on the west side of Highway 101. The project makes way for rebuilt railroad tracks running through the middle, to serve SMART when it reaches town by the end of next year — just before the roundabout is due to be finished in January 2022.
  • Caltrans planning major renovations to Shandon rest area. The Shandon Roadside Rest Area will undergo a major Wastewater System Improvement Project beginning Monday, Jan. 4, according to Cal Trans. As a result of this project, the Shandon Rest Area and the electric vehicle charging station will be closed from Jan. 4 until June of 2021. This project will include upgrades to the existing advanced treatment wastewater disposal system and the installation of a cloud-based resource monitoring system.
  • Caltrans Charts Ambitious $155M Plan for Eureka’s Broadway. Broadway has long been an integral yet neglected part of Eureka. As a road that serves both as a state highway and as a city “Main Street,” it fills neither role satisfactorily. Half of all automobile accidents in Eureka happen on Broadway. This 3-mile stretch of road, which serves 35,000 vehicles daily, has been the site of regular fatal collisions, including three this year.
  • Trump Administration finalizes Shasta Dam raise plan to increase water storage for Californians and the environment. The Trump Administration today released the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet, or more than 200 billion gallons. This is enough water to support more than 6 million Californians annually. [Note: This action is notable because it will submerge some existant US 99 bridges]

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)


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