🛣 Headlines About California Highways – March 2021

Hard to believe, perhaps, but one quarter of 2021 is in the books. I had hope to get out a highway page update in March, but it is slower going than I expected. So I get to add one more headline post to the mix, slowing it down even further. On the plus side, the first of the Moderna shots has been achieved, bringing closer the day that I’ll go out for a roadtrip. So here are the headlines and other things of interest that I collected during the month of March. As I always say, “ready, set, discuss”.

[Ħ Historical information | Paywalls and other annoying restrictions: SDUT/San Diego Union Tribune; OCR/Orange County Register; VN/Valley News; 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; FB/Fresno Bee; MODBEE/Modesto Bee; MH/Monterey Herald; SONN/Sonoma News; SJMN/Mercury News; SFC/San Francisco Chronicle; SFG/SF Gate; 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; AC/Argus Courier; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; DNT/Del Norte Triplicate; NW/Newsweek; UKT/The Telegraph (UK) ]

  • Driving apps divert motorists to dangerous mountain road. The U.S. Forest Service warned people not to trust their driving apps and GPS devices after hearing from motorists the apps were diverting them to Salmon River Road. That happened after people posted on social media they were searching for alternative routes to a stretch of state Route 96 that is partially blocked by a mudslide.
  • /DNT Significant slide activity continues to hamper Last Chance Grade. U.S. Highway 101 was open to one-lane travel Tuesday night after another week of landslide activity blocked the road at Last Chance Grade. Crews have been working on the road since last week, when precipitation caused the hillside above the highway to crumble down, blocking both lanes for extended periods of time. As of Tuesday evening, crews warned motorists of possible 30-minute delays overnight, as well as three-hour delays scheduled between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to allow for removal and prevention work.
  • ‘The Big Sur we all dream about’: Why some residents are delighted that Highway 1 collapsed. In late January, an atmospheric river dumped heavy rains over the Dolan Fire scar, triggering a debris flow in Big Sur that overwhelmed drainage infrastructure and carried a giant chunk of Highway 1 thousands of feet down the cliff and into the sea. The dramatic slide left behind a 150-foot chasm where the road once was at mile marker 30, another beautiful stretch of California land reclaimed by the elements. Friends and family members living on opposite sides of the hole were separated. Residents living to the south were cut off from basic services, schools and jobs in the north. The postmaster had to start going the long way around, as did angry tourists attempting to visit from or return to LA. And yet, for some residents, this “disaster” was exactly what they had been waiting for.
  • State Route 84 Ferry Service Restarts After Temporary Closure. Caltrans has restarted the State Route 84 ferry service after the ferry boat – The Real McCoy II – passed its inspection required by the Coast Guard every five years. The ferry is classified as an extension of State Route 84. It provides service to Ryer Island residents and its visitors by crossing the Cache Slough to Rio Vista.
  • Did You Know That the 101 Freeway Widening Project Has an Aquatic Resource Biologist?. In this, the Journal’s third profile of the people who work behind the scenes in the biggest infrastructure project to hit Montecito in recent memory, we meet Sarah Sandstrom, Caltrans’ aquatic resource manager. According to Tim Gubbins, Caltrans District 5 Director, Sandstrom is a key player in the agency’s effort to protect the environment as it widens the 101 freeway. “Sarah is a highly educated and trained biologist,” Gubbins said. “She is a valued member of our biologist team and focuses her skills on helping our project meet high environmental standards and improve wetland and habitat areas as part of this larger congestion-relief project. Our construction projects benefit the larger community in many ways, and our work on improving wetlands and habitat areas near the freeway is important for all of us.”
  • PCH: Climate change threatens California’s ‘highway at the edge’. Soaring mountains on one side of the road and the Pacific Ocean on the other: It was 1956, and Gary Griggs was experiencing California State Route 1 for the first time. He was a child, but in the following decades he would drive this scenic stretch of road, called the Pacific Coast Highway, dozens of times. He also would learn how fragile it is. In 2017, Griggs consulted on a major repair to the highway as an erosion expert. Now, he says, the iconic road’s days may be numbered – at least in its current form.

  • COG and Caltrans reach milestone on Hwy 25 widening. The Council of San Benito County Governments (COG) Board of Directors on Feb. 18 unanimously approved an agreement with Caltrans to begin the environmental permit-seeking phase for the Highway 25 widening project. The approval was granted pending legal counsel’s review of the agreement. The agreement is for the first phase of the $241 million widening project—expanding the two-lane highway into a four-lane expressway from San Felipe Road to the Highway 25/156 intersection. The entire project will go to the Santa Clara County line. It outlines the responsibilities and roles of COG and Caltrans in regards to the project, which includes the local transportation agency paying 50% of the estimated $10 million costs for the environmental work.
  • /SJMN Caltrans completes $19 million improvement to Highway 17; Fishhook still under construction. Caltrans announced Tuesday the completion of a renovation project on Highway 17 that upgraded safety of more than 6 miles of the road. The project totaled $19 million and was partially funded by Senate Bill 1. The bill, which is a funding source for state highway systems and local roads, contributed $2 million to the project. “Through SB 1, we continue to make thousands of transportation improvements in the state – from fixing aging infrastructure to developing convenient, efficient and accessible pedestrian, bike and transit options,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a press release Tuesday.
  • Caltrans mulls I-5 toll lanes from downtown Sacramento to airport. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is looking to ease traffic along Interstate 5 from downtown Sacramento through a multi-million dollar improvement project that could include toll lanes. Caltrans is looking at the stretch of I-5 that extends from US 50 to the Yolo County line. The project aims to reduce congestion while increasing the number of people that can travel the busy route, according to Caltrans. The proposal includes plans to widen the freeway and bridges, increase bicycle and pedestrian access, adding ramp meters, and toll lanes in both directions.
  • /SFG ‘A monstrous mistake’: Remembering the ugliest thing San Francisco ever built. The plan was simple: Connect the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge via a freeway. It was the 1950s and everyone loved freeways. What could go wrong? Nearly everything. The Embarcadero Freeway is widely considered one of the biggest mistakes the city ever made. For 32 years, a concrete monstrosity barricaded San Franciscans from the bay waters, shrouded the iconic Ferry Building in smog and made lots of residents very mad. Photographs of it now look like a very different, unsightly city. And while (nearly) everyone hated it, it took an earthquake to tear it down.
  • /TDT Caltrans seeks input on proposed US 50 safety project in South Tahoe. Caltrans is seeking feedback on a proposed safety project on U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe. The purpose of this $16.8 million project is to reduce vehicle collisions with those who walk and bicycle within this segment of the highway (also referred to as Lake Tahoe Boulevard within city limits) from the junction of the California State Route 89 at the “Y” to Pioneer Trail. There were 41 reported collisions, including six fatalities, between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2019. Most of those collisions occurred at night.
  • Rosamond Mojave Rehabilitation Project Update (FB). On State Route 14, all southbound traffic has switched to the northbound inside lane, and traffic is limited to one lane in both directions through the project area. The on- and off-ramps for Dawn Road, Backus Road and Silver Queen Road are closed until further notice. A temporary off-ramp at Silver Queen Road is available for southbound traffic and drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes to get to Dawn Road and Backus Road.
  • Summer project: Highway 101 revamp at De La Cruz Boulevard/Trimble Road. The Highway 101/De La Cruz Boulevard interchange in San Jose will get a makeover beginning this summer(link is external) to make the area safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The work will help improve traffic flow and enhance safety for vehicles merging onto southbound Highway 101 from the De La Cruz Boulevard/Trimble Road interchange. It will also upgrade mobility and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling over the highway and by the interchange ramps adjacent to the San Jose International Airport.
  • Bridges On SR-74 In Lake Elsinore, SR-371 In Anza To Expand. Improvements are slated to get underway this month on bridges in Anza and Lake Elsinore, and the work will require ongoing lane closures, meaning delays for motorists, Caltrans announced Friday. The $13 million expansions, which are being handled by Irvine-based Ortiz Enterprises Inc., are scheduled to start on March 15.
  • Fish Creek Fish Passage Project Study. Caltrans is proposing to replace an old concrete box culvert with a new bridge to allow fish passage on Fish Creek along Route 254, or Avenue of the Giants, between Phillipsville and Miranda. “This project exists solely for the fish,” said Project Manager Jaime Matteoli. Please join us for a virtual public open house on this subject on Wednesday, March 24 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. You can join the meeting here: http://bit.ly/3cepBAt The environmental document for this project is available here: http://bit.ly/3rKoxuR
  • Is That a Ghost Freeway on the Peninsula? And Are Our Highways Filthier Than Ever?. Our Bay Curious audience is a reliable source of questions about transportation, whether we’re talking about walking, bicycling, riding on public transit or driving on local highways. This week, we’ve got two questions — both voted up by you, the people — that come from the world of Bay Area freeways. First, Herb Masters, a San Carlos resident, asked what was up with what we’ll call for now “a ghost freeway” that appears to have been started, but never finished, on the Peninsula.
  • /PE Giant safety net to be installed over 15 Freeway near Lake Elsinore. The hanging of giant hammock-like nets across the 15 Freeway in the Temescal Valley between Corona and Lake Elsinore is expected to shut both northbound and southbound traffic periodically Sunday morning, March 14. The operation will trigger a chain of multiple full freeway closures lasting five minutes or longer from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, between Horsethief Canyon Road and Lake Street, Caltrans spokesperson Terri Kasinga said. Because of the chance for huge traffic backups, Kasinga urged drivers to avoid the area and instead take the 215 Freeway to travel north or south through Riverside County.
  • CalTrans Considering Freeway Closures Due to PPE Litter on Highways. The pandemic is causing problems on our freeways and no, it’s not because of traffic. On Sunday morning, southbound lanes on State Route 163 from Interstate 8 were  closed. Caltrans officials said litter of personal protective equipment has increased all over the highways since the pandemic hit. “Litter has become a systemic problem throughout the state of California and it is really pervasive in San Diego,” Shawn Rizzutto, division chief for maintenance in district 11, which covers San Diego and Imperial Counties.
  • California road widening deal. Plans are in hand in the US state of California to upgrade Interstate 5 in Sacramento County. The plans are being discussed by Caltrans. The work will involve widening the route in a bid to cut the congestion that occurs during peak periods. The plan is to add two additional lanes in the southbound direction. In addition, car pool and toll lanes are likely to be added.
  • /VN New bridgework to begin on Interstate 15 and state Route 371 in the valleys | Valley News. Motorists in the area will continue to face some traffic congestion on the local highways due to ongoing work from the California Department of Transportation and Riverside County Transportation Commission particularly from Interstate 15 from the San Diego County line to Temecula. The I-15 delay will be caused from Caltrans crews working behind K-rails in the daytime. The $28 million project is to replace the No. 3 and No. 4 lanes on the busy freeway. Caltrans informs motorists that work will begin Monday, March 15, on the $13.1 million bridge upgrade on state Route 74 and state Route 371. The project will improve safety by upgrading 306 feet of bridge rail that meets current crash and safety standards, extend one box culvert, widen one bridge to replace another bridge to provide…
  • March 15: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1976: The Southern California Rapid Transit District launches the Santa Monica Freeway Diamond Lane Express project. (good map)
  • Ħ March 2021 Newsletter – Ridge Route Preservation Organization. Not the famous 17 Mile Drive in Monterey California, I’m referring to the historic 17.6 miles of the original 1915 Ridge Route that provided a direct north/south route over the barrier of the San Gabriel and Techachapi mountains. This route provided a commercial conduit to connect northern and southern California. Seventeen point six miles of the original highway lie entirely within the Angeles National Forest and are recorded on the National Register.
  • Ħ Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads – Ridge Route Alternate Presentation. On Tuesday, April 6 at 6pm, I will be giving a presentation via Zoom on the Ridge Route Alternate section of US 99 during the regular monthly meeting of the Historic Highway 99 Association of California. It will cover the history of the roadway from its original construction through to its replacement by I-5 from Castaic to Tejon Pass. The presentation will include some rarer photos of the route and have time at the end for questions. Come join us and learn a bit about the history of US 99 in Southern California!
  • /OCR Widening plan for 55 Freeway advances, contracts could be bid later this year. A four-year and roughly $474 million project to widen a stretch of the 55 Freeway is expected to break ground by mid-next year, putting into action work transportation officials say could cut down travel time up to a minute per mile and balance traffic on nearby surface streets. Funded in part by the half-cent Measure M sales tax focused on transportation improvements, as well as state and federal funds, already a nearly half-decade of planning has gone into the project. The latest bit of funding was awarded in December: $140 million from the California Transportation Commission – a “major boost” pushing the project forward, the Orange County Transportation Authority said in a news release announcing the funds.
  • The price of progress: San Mateo County’s highways. If it seems hard to get around the Peninsula now, just imagine how long it would take to get around the county without its network of freeways and highways. Still, those thoroughfares came at a cost. Karen Moresco Busch of Menlo Park experienced that firsthand as a high school student when her family home on Railroad Avenue in Colma came in the path of plans for Interstate 280 around 1961.
  • Workers to shut down freeway in Vallejo to advance I-80 bridges project. Overnight freeway closures are planned Wednesday and Saturday as crews continue work on the Springs Road overcrossing as part of the Interstate 80 Six Bridges Project. All westbound lanes of I-80 – between Interstate 780 and Highway 37 – will be closed from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday; eastbound lanes will be closed from 1 to 6 a.m. Saturday.
  • Marin seeks input on Highway 101 interchange study. ​The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) is conducting a Highway 101 interchange study and wants input via an online survey(link is external). Many of the Highway 101 interchanges were built in the 1950s and 1960s and have not been altered to meet current and future demands of vehicles, transit, bicyclists and pedestrians. The study will identify a program of short, medium, and/or long-term projects at 12 selected interchanges to improve their operation and safety.
  • California Looking To Revamp Gasoline Tax System. As more electric vehicles enter California roadways over the coming years, it will disrupt the main revenue source for fixing roads, the state’s gasoline tax. Governor Gavin Newsom has set a directive to end the sale of new gasoline powered vehicles by 2035. In doing so, the amount of money spent on gasoline will decline, and in turn, reduce state road maintenance revenues. An alternative could be a “road user charge” program that taxes people based on the number of miles they travel. Some early studies have estimated that a tax of around 1.8 cents per mile would make up for the combined state gas tax revenue collected at the pump.
  • Caltrans receives $2.15M federal grant to study road user charge in rural communities. Caltrans has been awarded a $2.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to study the impact in rural communities of a potential road user charge program. The grant will allow Caltrans to build upon its ongoing research into possible alternative funding measures for road and highway maintenance other than the gas tax. In a road charge system, drivers are taxed on the number of miles they travel rather than on the gas they use.
  • Caltrans to Begin Initial Work At Site of Ferguson Project in the Merced River Canyon on Highway 140 in Mariposa County. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to perform work at the site of the Ferguson Rock Shed project on Route 140 in Mariposa County. In the first phase of an ambitious rock shed construction project, workers will remove overhanging boulders and rubble from the slope where a rock slide blocked the roadway. Crews are scheduled to conduct this work during daytime hours beginning in April and continuing into the winter season of 2021. Traffic impacts are expected to be minimal.
  • Cleaning, painting of Cold Spring Bridge on Hwy 154 underway. A project to clean, paint and inspect the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge on Highway 154 now is underway, with completion expected in the spring of 2023. A spokesman for Caltrans District 5 said delays are not expected to exceed 10 minutes as motorists encounter one-way reversing traffic control from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays. The $7 million project is being conducted by Certified Coatings of Fairfield.
  • Cold Spring Bridge to get upgrades. Cold Spring Bridge on State Route 154 will receive some external upgrades in the coming months as part of a Caltrans project to clean, inspect and repaint the bridge. The maintenance project, which officially began Monday, will complete necessary inspections and give the bridge a fresh coating of green paint for the first time in 50 years. In addition, the project will add a catwalk underneath the structure to allow easier access for crews to perform future inspections.
  • McKinley interchange targeted for summer of 2023 completion. An interchange at McKinley Avenue along the 120 Bypass is expected to be in place by the summer of 2023. That is the date city officials provided Tuesday when Mayor Ben Cantu asked what was delaying the project. There are just a few issues preventing the city from going to bid and breaking ground on the project that has been in the making for more than a decade.
  • Harder seeks $$ for Valley Link & 120 Bypass. Congressman Josh Harder feels the pain of Northern San Joaquin Valley commuters who get stuck weekdays on the Altamont Pass. “Every time I come home from the airport I get stuck in the parking lot that is the Altamont,” Harder said. The Bay Area Council has estimated congestion on the Altamont corridor will grow 75 percent by 2040 from its pre-pandemic average of handling almost 100,000 commuters a day. As such the key corridor connecting the San Joaquin Valley with the Bay Area is one of the most heavily traveled, most congested, and fastest growing corridors in the Northern California megaregion.
  • Moving geyser impacting major roadway in Imperial County. It’s not something you normally see alongside a freeway, but, local Caltrans crews have been keeping a close watch on a geyser that’s impacting both the Union Pacific Railroad and State Route 111 near Niland in Imperial County. The challenge is that geyser is moving. Known as the Niland Geyser, it’s the only moving geyser in the world.
  • /MIJ Marin seeks public input on Highway 101 interchange upgrades. Marin residents are being asked to weigh in on a plan to modernize the county’s aging Highway 101 interchanges — not just for cars but for transit service, bicyclists and  pedestrians. The Transportation Authority of Marin plans to use the feedback as part of a larger, multiyear study of 12 interchanges along the Highway 101 corridor from Sausalito to Novato. Some interchanges have gone largely unchanged since they were built in the 1950s. “They just haven’t been substantially touched in many, many years,” TAM project manager Bill Whitney said.
  • Crews Correct Historic Bridge’s Malfunction in Sacramento. When the historic Rio Vista Bridge (also known as the Helen Madere Memorial Bridge) malfunctioned in August 2018, Caltrans District 3 initiated emergency repairs on the drawbridge — the sole roadway for vehicular traffic travelling across the Sacramento River between Solano and Sacramento counties. This drawbridge, originally built in the mid-1900s, has a lift span of 300 ft. and a structure length of 2,890 ft. It also plays a significant role in local maritime traffic, serving as the main channel for cargo ships to get in and out of the Port of West Sacramento.
  • City releases environmental impact report for Rincon Trail project, solicits public comments. The city of Carpinteria has released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Carpinteria Rincon Trail project. With the release, a 45-day public review and comment period has opened that will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 26, 2021. Extending from the eastern end of Carpinteria Avenue, in the city of Carpinteria, to Rincon Beach County Park in Santa Barbara County, the proposed trail is 16 feet wide and 2,800 feet long and includes a 160-foot bridge over the train tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad.
  • State allocates $491 million for transportation improvements. This week, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced it has allocated $491 million to address transportation needs throughout the state. This investment, which includes $273 million generated from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle, and pedestrian routes. […] Projects approved today in Caltrans District 5 include:
  • /RBDN Marker replacement work begining soon in Tehama County. Caltrans District 2 is beginning pavement marker replacement work at multiple locations in between Tehama and Shasta Counties. Road work will take place on Interstate 5 between Cottonwood and Shasta Lake, State Route 44, State Route 273, and State Route 299, according to a press release issued by Caltrans Tuesday. The project will replace raised reflective pavement markers that were damaged during plowing operations that were necessitated due to recent winter snowstorms in the Redding, Anderson and Red Bluff areas. Damaged markers will be removed and replaced at various areas on Interstate 5 from just south of Red Bluff to just north of Redding, on SR 44 through Redding, SR 273 through Anderson and Redding, and SR 299 through Redding to Bella Vista. The $380,000 project is estimated to replace 27,000 markers.
  • Redlands native was instrumental in major engineering projects. James Lewis Moore, who was instrumental in multiple highway and civil engineering projects in Southern California, died peacefully at his home in Newport Beach on Feb. 25, 2021. He was 83. Known to friends as “Blooney,” he was born on Jan 11, 1938, in Redlands. He was the last of six children of Raymond and Bonnie Moore. He was raised in East Highlands. After attending Redlands High School, he pursued his interest in engineering and math at San Bernardino Valley College. He began working for the California Division of Highways (predecessor of Caltrans) in 1961, where he worked as a technician in the materials lab and as an engineer. In 1964, he began working for E.L. Yeager Construction Co. as a project engineer. His projects included the Interstate 40 from Barstow to Needles, the Perris Dam, State Route 210 through Highland, the I-5 Northridge Earthquake bridge repair in 1994, the San Joaquin toll roads, the I-210/I-15 interchange, the SR91/I-15 interchange, the Fontana Speedway and the SR91/SR57 interchange.
  • North Coast projects funded by $491 million in state transportation improvement investment. Caltrans said Thursday the California Transportation Commission allocated $491 million to address transportation needs throughout the state. According to officials the investment, which includes $273 million generated from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes. Caltrans District 1 said two north coast projects will receive some of that funding. Projects approved today in Caltrans District 1 include:
  • Funds allocated for transportation improvements. Last week, the California Transportation Commission allocated $491 million to address transportation needs throughout the state. The investment includes $273 million generated from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 and will repair highways and bridges throughout the state’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes. “These critical investments will help improve California’s transportation infrastructure now and into the future,” Toks Omishakin, Caltrans director, said in a statement. “This includes improving safety and access for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and planning for the long-term maintenance of these vital assets.” The projects approved in Caltrans District 5 include:
  • ‘Gas tax’ helps fuel latest round of California transportation projects. Nearly four years after the passage of the controversial “gas tax,” state transportation leaders continue to invest in new projects aimed at addressing transportation needs across the state. The latest example was the California Transportation Commission’s allocation of $491 million for a new round of state and local projects. This includes $273 million generated from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. That act is also known as the “gas tax.” […] Projects approved in District 3 include:
  • /OCR New wildlife bridge might be what saves Southern California’s mountain lions. I live at the edge of Sunset Boulevard and the Ice Age. It’s easy for me to go back and forth between civilization and wilderness, to make this crossing, but not so easy for the creatures with whom I share this intersection. For instance, consider the cougar. Outside of Mumbai, there is only one place in the world where mountain lions live on the perimeter of a major metropolis, and that’s Southern California. In LA, the big cats often dwell on geographic islands, their habitats interrupted by freeways and major thoroughfares. They are killed by vehicles all too often as they try to find mates, dinner, avoid competitors or roam. Last October, the 4-year-old cougar known as P-61, in an ongoing National Park Service study of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, was hit by a car in the Sepulveda Pass early one day at 4 a.m. as he was trying to cross the 405. He had been fitted with a tracking collar in 2017, and just two months before he was killed, he had successfully made the 10-lane crossing.
  • Save Mission Creek Bridge. A road exists to Hana, Hawaii, known as the Hana Highway. Fifty-nine bridges, 52 miles long and 620 curves. The highway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The only change was in 1962 when the 1929 road was paved. No attempts have been made to straighten this road to improve line of sight or to widen the one-lane bridges that are used by both bikers and vehicles. Behind the Queen of the Missions lies the Santa Barbara Mission Creek Bridge, which is a stone barrel vaulted compression arch, constructed much like the bridges built by the Romans.
  • Ħ Folsom, a Lincoln Highway Community. Earlier this year, I was contacted by the Historic District of the City of Folsom. They were interested in how to promote the Lincoln Highway through their area. After meeting with the Public Works Department, Folsom History Museum, and the Historic Folsom District, we agreed that the City would make and sign their section of the highway with our historic Lincoln Highway signs.
  • I-5 Improvements in South County Will Ease Congestion, Add Carpool Lanes. The I-5 South County Improvements Project continues to move forward as it widens 6.5 miles of the freeway between SR-73 and El Toro Road. All three segments of the project are now under construction and are expected to be completed in 2025. Funding for the project comes from OC Go, also known as Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. Improvements include:
  • Plans to Improve 57 Freeway in Anaheim Move Forward. OCTA, in partnership with Caltrans, is moving forward on a project to improve northbound SR 57 in a critical part of the central Orange County freeway network. The SR-57 Northbound Improvement Project will extend a fifth regular freeway lane along a 1-mile stretch of the northbound freeway between Orangewood and Katella avenues, at the border of Anaheim and Orange.
  • Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads – Calexico Update. Today, the Historic Highway 99 Association of California with the City of Calexico, posted new Historic Route signs at the south end of old US 99. Come see the photos!
  • /DB South Bay History: Imperial Highway once figured as part of a superhighway plan. To South Bay residents, Imperial Highway is that east-west thoroughfare on the southern border of LAX. Follow it on a map and you’ll see how it wends its way from the Pacific Ocean at Vista del Mar eastward for more than 40 miles before ending unceremoniously in Anaheim Hills, in Orange County. But its backstory, and its name, actually come from much farther south. The Imperial Valley took its name from the Imperial Land Co., a subsidiary of the California Development Company charged with reclaiming the water-starved but arable land east of San Diego for agricultural purposes in the early 1900s.
  • State Invests $491 Million for Transportation Improvements. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $491 million to address transportation needs throughout the state. This investment, which includes $273 million generated from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, will repair highways and bridges and improve California’s growing network of mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes. […] Projects approved today in District 6 include:
  • /NVR Napa County’s new 25-year draft transportation plan unveiled. Napa County and its cities have ideas to ease wine country congestion over the next quarter-century that far outstrip the anticipated funding. The estimated price tag for more than 100 projects over 25 years is $1.5 billion. The amount of federal, state, regional, and local dollars expected to be available is $704 million. Still, county Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said the draft Advancing Mobility 2045 plan shows the community’s goals. Pedroza is chairperson of the Napa Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors.
  • /NVR Napa transportation leaders seek grants for Upvalley roundabouts on Highway 29. Napa County is waiting to find out if it will secure grants for two proposed roundabouts in the heart of wine country that could be ready for construction by fall of 2022. These two roundabouts could be built on Highway 29 for a total cost of $11 million. One would be at Rutherford Cross Road and the other at Oakville Cross Road. On March 17, the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) Board of Directors approved seeking grant money to build the projects.
  • A secret report, obtained by the Weekly, reveals a master plan to close Highway 1 to thru-traffic for good. It was a bound, four-color, 156-page report, wrapped by a high-gloss cover featuring a picture of a heavily loaded pack mule carrying water and other supplies, crossing Bixby Bridge, and led by a young couple. The photo caught her attention because it was not historical but contemporary, and the adventurers were dressed in straight-leg jeans and hipster jackets. Mostly it was their footwear that stood out – Wool Runners from Allbirds. These were Bay Area computer geeks crossing the famous bridge, not frontiersmen. The report had a big red stamp across its cover: “DO NOT CIRCULATE. FOR PRIVATE REVIEW ONLY.” Naturally, Waters opened it to discover its contents.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Former US Route 101 at Confusion Hill. Since 1949 Confusion Hill has been a major roadside attraction for travelers along US Route 101 and Redwood Highway. Confusion Hill is located on the South Fork Eel River watershed of Mendocino County. Confusion Hill was part of mainline US Route 101 until 2009 when the highway was shifted onto the Confusion Hill Bridges.
  • US Route 101 and California State Route 20 in Willits. Willits is a City in central Mendocino County and is considered the “Gateway to the Redwoods.” Willits has been part of both US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway since their inceptions. Willits is also famous for the Skunk Trains of the California Western Railroad and the converted Willits Arch which graces former US Route 101 (Currently California State Route 20) on Main Street. Since 2016 US Route 101 has been moved off of Main Street in Willits onto the elevated Willits Bypass.
  • Former US Route 101 on State Street in Ukiah and the Highway Corridors of Ukiah. Ukiah is a City and Mendocino County Seat located on the Redwood Highway of US Route 101. Before the current freeway US Route 101 was aligned through Ukiah on State Street. In this blog we examine the history of US Route 101, the Redwood Highway and other State Highways in/around the City of Ukiah.
  • California State Route 253. Last year I preemptively wrote a bunch of highway blogs during the height of the pandemic. The plan was to capture the history of the highways I was writing about then add my own photos at a later date when I had an opportunity to revisit them in person. The final one of these blogs that needed an update is the surprisingly fun and historic corridor of California State Route 253. CA 253 has a surprisingly old origin as the Anderson Valley Trail which opened in 1851. The Anderson Valley Trail became the Gsehwind Toll Road in 1868 and was converted primarily to a lumber road. The Gsehwind Toll Road was added to the Mendocino County inventory of roads in 1896 as Boonville-Ukiah Road which led to some improvements to better facilitate travel. In 1952 Boonville-Ukiah Road was upgraded with Federal Aid Secondary funds which modernized the highway. CA 253 was added to the State Highway System in 1963 but was originally was planned for a new alignment north of Boonville-Ukiah Road. The plans for a new alignment for CA 253 were dropped and Boonville-Ukiah Road was turned over to the State upon completion of improvement contracts in March 1966.
  • US Route 101 and the Last Chance Grade. The Last Chance Grade of US Route 101 refers to a segment of the highway in Del Norte County, California from Crescent City southward through Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The Last Chance Grade traditionally has been a slide prone choke point through much of the history of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway.
  • Former US Route 101 between Hopland and Cloverdale. Prior to the construction of the modern alignment of US Route 101 and Redwood Highway getting from Hopland of Mendocino County south to Cloverdale of Sonoma County was far more difficult. Modern US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway follow the courses of the Russian River from Hopland south to Cloverdale. The original alignment of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway can be found west of the modern highway via; Mountain House Road, California State Route 128 and Cloverdale Boulevard.
  • California State Route 128. California State Route 128 is a 121 mile State Highway which spans from California State Route 1 at the mouth Navarro River eastward to Interstate 505 near Winters. California State Route 128 is one of California’s most underrated scenic State Highways which traverses; Mendocino County, Solano County, Napa County and Yolo County. Presently California State Route 128 has 11 unconstructed miles which would connect it from Interstate 505 east to California State Route 113 in Davis.
  • California State Route 58 from CA 99 in Bakersfield east to Interstate 15 in Barstow. Rather than reinventing the wheel now that the Kramer Junction Bypass and Hinkley Bypass projects on California State Route 58 are completed rather I went ahead with an update to our existing blog for the Bakersfield-Barstow segment. The California State Route 58 Bakersfield-Barstow blog now contains photos of all the recently completed segments. I even went back and did a scan of the California Highways & Public Works for the early freeway segments which were completed towards Tehachapi Pass in the 1960s. I did have a look at the AASHO Database but I sadly did not find the 1956 and 1968 rejections of the Bakersfield-Barstow corridor from the Interstate System. That said regarding a “hypothetical” Interstate 40 extension to Bakersfield I can assure anyone reading that there is no active movement towards to making it a reality. While California State Route 58 from Bakersfield east to Barstow is free flowing it is far from Interstate standards. In particular California State Route 58 has numerous at-grade junctions and intersections that likely will never be feasible to convert into full interchanges.
  • Interstate 40 and the H-Bomb. Interstate 40 within California is entirely contained to San Bernandio County over a course of 155 miles from Interstate 15 in Barstow east to the Arizona State Line at the Colorado River. Interstate 40 is aligned entirely in the Mojave Desert over the same general corridor established by US Route 66 and the National Old Trails Road. Interstate 40 is known as the Needles Freeway and has an interesting backstory which included the prospect of the Bristol Mountains being excavated by way of nuclear blasts as part of Operation Carryall.

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