🛣 Headlines About California Highways – May 2021

May has been an interesting month, as my last post shows. I’ve been spending weekends since March going through these headline posts, including this one as it was being built ( indicates posts that were included in the highway page update). May also marked the passage of the two week period after my second vaccine, so if I choose to, I could go maskless (however, I still plan to wear a mask, at least in indoor, recirculated air situations*). Please, unless you have a real medical reason not to do so or real religious objections, get yourself vaccinated so that we can all breath freely when we’re together and on the road again.

And with that said, as I say every month, “ready, set, discuss”.

Footnotes
*: So why will I still choose to wear a mask? A number of reasons: Some people are of the belief that the vaccine protects you 100% percent. It doesn’t, although it reduces the odd of getting COVID significantly, and it makes COVID if you get it not life threatening. The vaccine also is much less effective in people with certain underlying health conditions (such as being immune impared, like my wife). Lastly, there is still a small chance even vaccinated folks can be asymptomic carriers. So folks who have been vaxxed wear the mask because the odds are not zero and they want that extra risk reduction (and don’t mind the small inconvenience when inside, in enclosed higher risk shared air spaces). We also don’t know who isn’t vaxxed, and wearing a mask encourages those folks to wear their mask and not be singled out. Lastly, I just learned that if you are vaccinated for COVID, wearing a mask afterward prevents the microchip that is implanted with the vaccine from transmitting or receiving signals. Evidently they designed the microchip to implant in your sinuses, and so making sure the mask covers your mouth and nose attenuates the directional signal just enough…**
**: JK on that “Lastly”.

Key

[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls, really obnoxious 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; DS/Desert Sun; 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; SIT/Sonoma Index Tribune; RBDN/Red Bluff Daily News; AD/Yuba Sutter Colusa County Appeal Democrat; DNT/Del Norte Triplicate; NW/Newsweek; UKT/The Telegraph (UK) ]

Highway Headlines

  • /NVR  Big Highway 12 project underway to end Jameson Canyon backups for Napa motorists. Here’s a sight for congestion-weary eyes — orange-vested construction workers driving piles, bulldozing dirt, and building bridges where Highway 12 meets Interstate 80. Call them the Jameson Canyon bottleneck-busters. They are building what is supposed to be the solution to eastbound, mile-long evening Highway 12 backups. While the highway through Jameson Canyon is two lanes in each direction, that drops to one eastbound lane just before the freeway.
  • Security Paving Reaches Midway Point of Ventura County Highway Job. Security Paving Company Inc. has completed nearly 50 percent of the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) $91 million State Route 23 (SR 23) Pavement Rehabilitation Project taking place on 8.2 mi. of highway in Ventura County from U.S. 101 to SR 118 in order to extend the lifespan of the busy highway.
  • Visalia Continues Close Cooperation with State on SR 198. Visalia officials have been working closely with state agencies on cleanup projects along State Route (SR) 198, and coordination continues. “We understand that there are citizen concerns regarding Highway 198 in terms of trash and debris and the presence of those camping on the embankment,” shared Mayor Steve Nelsen. “We share concerns about blight and keeping the sides of the roadway clear, and we continue to work with both Caltrans Central Valley District 6 and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to address the issues and keep both motorists and citizens safe.”
  • Gilman Interchange Project: Interview with Alameda County Transportation Commission Executive Director Tess Lengyel. Beginning in May, Caltrans will begin a major overhaul of a busy traffic interchange in Berkeley on Gilman Ave. at Interstate Highway 80. Tess Lengyel, the Executive Director from Alameda County Transportation Commission said the Gilman Interchange project will pave the way for a more efficient and safer commute. Interview with reporter Gianna Franco.
  • Valley congressman requests $20 million to widen Hwy 41. Congressman David Valadao has requested $20 million from the House Appropriations Committee to have the 6-mile gap of Hwy 41 widened to 4-lanes. This section of the highway is in Fresno County from the Kings County Line north to Elkhorn Ave. That stretch has a long history of fatal crashes due to drivers trying to pass slower-moving cars, and merging into incoming traffic to do so.
  • State Route 132 Dakota Avenue to Gates Road Project (FB). District 10 and our local partners will be hosting a virtual open house for the State Route 132 Dakota Avenue to Gates Road Project. The event begins at 6 pm on Thursday, May 6, 2021. See below for full information, as well as online access & dates for the public comment period.
  • Car Pool Lanes Coming to Park Presidio and GG Park. Motorists traveling through the Richmond District and Golden Gate Park along California State Route 1 can expect some road-sharing changes soon. North- and south-bound traffic on Park Presidio Boulevard, Park Presidio Bypass and Crossover Drive from Lake Street to Lincoln Way in the Sunset District will see the outside lanes (right-hand lanes) reserved for cars with two or more occupants and public transportation vehicles because of a new but temporary program.

  • State eyes Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path safety project. Thousands of cyclists using the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path to connect to Marin might get a safer ride with a new $4.3 million infusion in state funding. Beginning in November 2019, the Bay Area’s first transbay bike path led cyclists from the bridge onto Marin roads with little or no developed bicycle lanes, posing a potential risk of a vehicle collision. This latest project by local and state agencies would extend an existing 10-foot-wide sidewalk on Francisco Boulevard East in San Rafael from the western end of the bridge bike path and connect cyclists to existing bike lanes into downtown San Rafael.
  • New Express Lanes on the I-15 (PDF). Riverside County’s 15 Express Lanes are now open, giving motorists a convenient new way to travel. The new toll lanes extend 15 miles from Route 60 to Cajalco Road in Corona.
  • Essential Spots To Savor On The Newly Reopened California Highway 1 Near Big Sur. The latest washout that shut this spectacularly scenic stretch of road in January has been repaired, ahead of schedule and under budget. Way to go, Caltrans! The reopening means the return of day trippers zipping through the tight turns, pulling over just long enough to snap photos of the prettiest coastline on the planet. Hey, don’t be in such a hurry. Here are a few places you should consider exploring on this memorable trip through a stunning sliver of Monterey County.
  • Environmental Protection Agency Nixes Metro and Caltrans’ Current Plan for Expanding Lower 710 Freeway. Dealing a blow to Metro’s effort to fast-track expansion of the lower 710 Freeway, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that Metro follow air quality laws. The EPA is insisting that Metro further study air quality impacts and the steps Metro would need to take to mitigate them.
  • Ħ May 5: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History. 1938: The State of California awards a contract for the reconstruction of the Newhall Pass highway alignment between the San Fernando Valley and the Mojave Desert.
  • Caltrans Launches State Route 49 Repaving Project In Mariposa County. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will improve driving conditions by repairing and repaving State Route 49 from the Mariposa/Madera county line to the Route 49/Route 140 south junction in Mariposa. The $20.75 million project – awarded to Teichert Construction of Roseville, CA – is scheduled to begin in May and continue until winter 2021. Once completed, 34.6 lane miles of roadway will be rehabilitated and freshly repaved.
  • /MODBEE  Caltrans seeks comment on another 132 rerouting near Modesto. What should Highway 132 west of Modesto look like? Planners are asking the driving public to weigh in on plans to reroute another segment of the highway. The expressway would run for five miles from Gates Road on the west to Dakota Avenue, the western end of a three-mile rerouting now under construction. The second phase could open in 2026 if the funding of up to $182 million comes together.
  • Caltrans To Permanently Close Northbound Red Top Road At Hwy 12. Caltrans Bay Area announced it will permanently close northbound Red Top Road at State Route 12 near Fairfield starting the week of May 10 as part of the highway safety improvements for the Interstate Highway 80/Interstate Highway 680/state Highway 12 Interchange Project. This will eliminate the left-turn movement from northbound Red Top Road to westbound SR-12 toward Napa County, Caltrans District 4 Spokesman Pedro Quintana said.
  • Animals make use of crossings under SR-118. Why did the bear cross State Route 118? Because teams from Caltrans and the National Park Service gave them a pathway.
  • Fresno Council of Governments considering funding Highway 41 project with Measure C money. There could be new funding headed toward a dangerous stretch of Highway 41 in Fresno County. FOX26 News has been reporting relentlessly on the effort to widen the six-mile stretch from Excelsior to Elkhorn from two lanes to four. Now, The Fresno Council of Governments is considering dedicated money from Measure C to that effort, but it’ll still be a while before we find out about the final decision.
  • May-June 2021 Newsletter – Ridge Route Preservation Organization. With the arrival of Spring, we can declare the Ridge Route at least made it through another winter season with minimal damage. Between the threat of fires last year, such as the Lake Fire in August 2020, and the heavy “atmospheric river” storm in January 2020, the area has been through a lot. We know it can’t last without at least a basic amount of maintenance. Each winter brings rocks, mud, and the potential landslide. Each summer still brings the possibility of fires which can not only damage the roadway and burn what little wooden artifacts are left, but makes winters all the more troublesome.
  • Better mergers and ramps in works for 92/101 interchange. Local transit agencies Wednesday began public outreach for the Highway 101/State Route 92 Short Term Area Improvement Project, which will provide ramp and merger improvements to four highway areas in San Mateo and Foster City. The project would provide immediate low-cost construction options to improve local ramp access from Highway 101, reduce weaving cars and improve overall safety. The May 5 public meeting allowed residents to ask questions and learn the details about improvements and next steps.
  • Caltrans to discuss planned roundabout. The California Department of Transportation will host a virtual community engagement meeting for a roundabout at 60th Street West and Avenue D/State Route 138 on Wednesday. The state proposes to construct a single-lane roundabout at the intersection, which has 26 collisions resulting in two fatalities and 11 injuries in the most recent five years, according to a traffic analysis.
  • Los Banos traffic signal project expected to improve travel. Whether it’s local residents commuting to work or road trippers heading back-and-forth between the Valley and Bay Area, drivers in Los Banos may soon benefit from a project that’s expected to significantly improve traffic conditions. The Los Banos City Council was given a presentation Wednesday on the State Route 152 Traffic Signal Synchronization Project. The project will synchronize 14 traffic signal locations within a 5 mile stretch of Highway 152 by using a wireless traffic signal interconnection system. “I look forward to seeing it happen,” Mayor Tom Faria said.
  • Caltrans To Install Highway Shield Markers on State Route 120 (FB). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to install additional traffic control safety measures on eastbound State Route 120 (SR-120)/Manteca Bypass to help reduce potential traffic incidents and improve efficiency for motorists as they travel through this busy commuter corridor toward the SR-99 Interchange.
  • /SJMN Biden infrastructure bill could fund teardown of Oakland’s I-980. From a car, Oakland’s Interstate 980 passes in moments. The two miles it covers between other, busier freeways are a blur of BART tracks, the downtown skyline to the east and the tops of homes obscured by an embankment to the west. It’s an entirely different story on foot. Crossing the overpasses from the West Oakland neighborhoods on one side of the sunken freeway to downtown on the other requires walking nearly the distance of two football fields, with speeding cars all around you on 980’s frontage streets and off-ramps.
  • Expressway project will connect I-5 to Highway 99 to Highway 50. Plans are underway for a 34-mile expressway that will connect Interstate-5 to Highway 99 just south of Elk Grove. The Sacramento Capital Southeast Connector project is 20 years in the making and will “reduce more than 500,000 hours per year of time spent sitting in traffic,” according to the project website. (👉🏼 Note: On my highway pages, this is discussed with Route 148)
  • Ferguson Rock Shed Project. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has launched a web page and a Facebook page that will track the progress of one of the most exciting construction projects in District 10 history, the Ferguson Rock Shed, along State Route 140 in Mariposa County.
  • /AC Ask the PAC: Redwoods felled to widen Highway 101 won’t be replaced. It was only a matter of time before reader questions for our weekly Ask the PAC feature turned to some of the area’s largest thoroughfares: Highway 101 and other regional connectors. The first question reignites a nearly decade-old controversy involving a 3.8-mile stretch of Highway 101 in Petaluma where hundreds of redwoods once lined the aptly named Old Redwood Highway. The next explores a common curiosity about the digital signs the California Department of Transportation uses to communicate with drivers.
  • Eyes on the Bridge: Sixth Street Viaduct Progress. Last weekend, in order to proceed with construction of the Sixth Street Viaduct, the city of Los Angeles had planned a 55-hour closure of the 101 Freeway through Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles. Specifically, the city was pouring concrete for two 40-foot high arches that tower above the freeway. By Sunday morning, the city Bureau of Engineering announced that pouring the new arches had gone so smoothly that the freeway was reopened 20 hours early.
  • Lane shift to occur on southbound Highway 99 in Atwater CA. Caltrans is advising motorists that road work will begin next week on southbound Highway 99 near Westside Boulevard in Atwater. The number one lane of southbound Highway 99 will shift to the center median and continue southbound on a new pavement median on the northbound median lane starting on Tuesday, May 18, Caltrans said. The work is part of the State Route 99 Atwater Rehabilitation Project.
  • Biden’s infrastructure bill may finally see the removal of Oakland’s Interstate 980. Thanks to an earthquake, and years of public dismay, two of San Francisco’s most disliked freeways — the Embarcadero Freeway and Hayes Valley section of the Central Freeway — came down in the 1990s. Now, as part of President Joe Biden’s forthcoming massive infrastructure bill, Oakland’s controversial Interstate 980 may see the same fate.
  • From LA to San Francisco: What it’s like driving one of America’s best road trips. When an enormous chunk of California’s famed Highway 1 crumbled into the Pacific Ocean in January, it looked like it would be summer before it was possible to take the iconic road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco through the cliff-hugging stretch of coastline known as Big Sur. But thanks to a seemingly superhuman effort by the state’s Caltrans highway crews, the roadway reopened months ahead of schedule, and it’s now once again possible to take one of America’s most celebrated road trips.
  • /SDUT Caltrans announces 41-space parallel parking plan for downtown Ramona. Caltrans is seeking feedback from residents on a project that would add a total of 41 parallel parking spaces on both sides of Main Street in downtown Ramona. The plan, presented at the May 6 Ramona Community Planning Group meeting, comes as Ramona residents and community leaders have been looking at ways to make Old Town safer for pedestrians and more accessible as restaurants, businesses and other venues begin opening up as COVID-19 restrictions loosen.
  • Pavement Overlay Project Upcoming on State Route 3 in Trinity County. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans District 2), in conjunction with J.F. Shea Construction Inc., is preparing to begin work on the Minersville & North Trinity Center Overlay Project State Route 3 in Trinity County. The $1.8 million project will replace asphalt concrete and overlay the roadway at two locations along State Route 3:
  • Kevin de León tells Metro to slow down its push for one-car-lane-each-way on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León has called on Metro to delay moving forward with its proposal for a bus rapid transit (BRT) route in Eagle Rock that would reduce much of Colorado Boulevard to one car lane each way. In a letter posted on social media and provided to the Boulevard Sentinel, De León said a delay was needed because Metro had pushed ahead with the one-car-lane-each-way proposal without presenting a full picture of the plan to Eagle Rockers and adequately soliciting their feedback.
  • Renaming of Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway (Motion). BOARD REPORT BACK: RENAMING THE CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS TRANSCONTINENTAL HIGHWAY (ITEM NO. 59-G, AGENDA OF OCTOBER 13, 2020)
  • Paving Work and Traffic Shift Ahead on State Route 174. Caltrans is alerting mototists of planned construction work this Saturday on State Route 174 (SR-174) between You Bet Road and Greenhorn Access Road in Nevada County. Motorists may expect one-way traffic control from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday in preparation for anticipated shoulder widening and paving work next week on the $27.1 million safety improvement project. Following the completion of this work, a traffic lane shift is tentatively scheduled May 21 between Quail Point Lane and You Bet Road. Traffic will be temporarily shifted to the west side of the existing roadway. The move will allow crews to work safely on the east side of the highway. Motorists should also be aware that lanes will be slightly narrower during this temporary transition.
  • National Wildlife Federation Receives Record $25 Million Annenberg Challenge Grant for Largest Urban Wildlife Crossing in the World. A record $25 million conservation challenge grant from Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation to the National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign to build a wildlife crossing in the Los Angeles area will help the landmark project break ground later this year. The wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon over the 101 Freeway – which will be the largest wildlife crossing in the world — will reconnect a long-fragmented ecosystem, a biodiversity hotspot, and help protect the endangered mountain lion population and other wildlife that make their home in the Santa Monica Mountains.
  • Caltrans Announces $39 Million Investment In Los Angeles County. The California Transportation Commission allocated more than $39 million to Los Angeles County transportation infrastructure projects, Caltrans announced Monday. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority got the most funding, $27.8 million, to buy 78 light rail vehicles, with the option to buy an additional 39. Los Angeles Regional Transit System Integration and Modernization Program received $5 million to complete environmental documentation for the Vermont Transit Corridor, which will include either a bus or rail transit service between Hollywood Boulevard and 120th Street.
  • LA County Transportation Infrastructure Projects Gets Almost $40M. The California Transportation Commission allocated more than $39 million to Los Angeles County transportation infrastructure projects, Caltrans announced Monday. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority got the most funding, $27.8 million, to buy 78 light rail vehicles, with the option to buy an additional 39.
  • Caltrans Allocates Over $64 Million to Northwestern California Transportation Projects. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) at its May meeting allocated more than $924 million for projects to improve critical transportation infrastructure throughout the state. Nearly half of this major investment – $458 million – comes from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. … Projects approved [yesterday] in Humboldt, Lake and Del Norte counties include:
  • California Transportation Commission allocates $924 million to improve transportation (Orange County). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) at its May meeting allocated more than $924 million for projects to improve critical transportation infrastructure throughout the state. Nearly half of this major investment – $458 million – comes from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. … Projects approved in District 12, Orange County include:
  • Jack Snyder Freeway – Manteca. The way Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu sees it, Jack Snyder deserves to have his name grace the Highway 120 Bypass. “It would be nice to have the highway named after the person who did the work to get it in place,” Cantu said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Cantu shared that he is working with Assemblyman Heath Flora and Caltrans in a bid to get the freeway named after Snyder who passed away last month at age 94. (👉🏼Note: The naming resolution has yet to show up as an Assembly Concurrent Resolution)
  • /SIT Lengthy Highway 12 resurfacing project begins in Sonoma May 19. All that main sewer-line replacement work that took place on Sonoma Highway over the past two years was a prelude to the work about to be started this week: a five-month project to resurface 4 miles of Highway 12 as it passes though town, from Boyes Boulevard to Napa Road. The repaving project is set to begin as soon as May 19, when crews will begin “pot-holing” to locate underground utilities, said California Department of Transportation Information Officer Jeffrey Weiss. He told the Index-Tribune that the following week is scheduled for an operation he called “lowering utilities” ‒ grinding down the existing pavement to reach and replace utility access outlets such as manholes.
  • State Route 49 Safety Barrier Project Virtual Open House (FB). Caltrans is hosting a virtual public meeting seeking community comments about a proposed safety improvement project on State Route 49 (SR-49) in Placer County.
  • Highway 41 completion in jeopardy, local leaders say. A coalition of local and state lawmakers is calling on the California Secretary of Transportation to reconsider and support the completion of the Highway 41 gap from Elkhorn Avenue in Fresno County to Excelsior in Kings County. The five-mile stretch is two lanes, instead of four lanes– and has been the site of numerous, deadly head-on crashes. “The denial will cost lives,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson said Wednesday morning.
  • California Transportation Commission allocates $112.2 million for Hwy 101 improvements. A reported $112.2 million will be set aside for highway improvements in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, the California Transportation Commission decided at its May 12 meeting. The regional improvements are part of a $924 million package deal to revamp critical transportation infrastructure throughout the state, the report details. Local improvements in the plans include a $6.4 million project on Highway 101 near Los Alamos, Orcutt, Santa Maria and Nipomo in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The project will involve installation of a contrasting surface treatment, construction of maintenance vehicle pullouts, relocation of utilities, modification of drainage inlets and addition of erosion control, all to reduce maintenance and improve highway worker safety.
  • Metro will study two options for Colorado Boulevard. At a meeting on May 19 on the proposed North Hollywood-to-Pasadena bus rapid transit line, the Metro Board Planning and Programming committee unanimously approved a Metro staff recommendation to advance two potential design options for Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock to the project’s next planning stage. The recommendation will now come before the full Metro Board on May 27. Assuming it’s approved by the full board, the two options for Colorado Boulevard will be evaluated in coming months as Metro prepares a Final Environmental Impact Report on the NoHo-Pas BRT.
  • Caltrans Seeks Community Feedback on SR-49 Safety Barrier Project. Caltrans is hosting a virtual public meeting seeking community comments about a proposed safety improvement project on State Route 49 (SR-49) in Placer County.
  • After Federal and State Partners’ Criticism, Metro Shifts Stance on 710 Freeway Widening. In a statement released today, Metro CEO Phil Washington changed his agency’s stance on its proposed $6 billion 710 Freeway widening project. After the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the head of Caltrans came out against the project, Washington committed Metro to bringing stakeholders together to reimagine the principles of the 710 project.
  • Metro Committee Approves Colorado Blvd for Eagle Rock Bus Rapid Transit. Yesterday, the Metro board Planning and Programming Committee approved a small step toward making the North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit line a reality. The committee approved overall project refinements (staff report, presentation), but did not finalize which alternative would take the project through Eagle Rock. The committee action still needs to be approved by the full Metro board next week.
  • South County Transportation Improvements Move Forward. OCTA continues to address south Orange County’s transportation needs with a long-term study and near-term projects as the area continues to grow and travel patterns evolve. Three projects that form the cornerstone of an agreement among OCTA, Caltrans and TCA to improve mobility in south Orange County include:
  • Ħ Southern California Regional Rocks and Roads – Finding Old Highways Presentation. On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, I hosted a Zoom presentation for the Historic Highway 99 Association of California on the topic of finding old highways. This presentation included information about survey monuments, pavement styles, bridge types, and more. A recording of the presentation is now available for viewing and download. Please follow the link below to view.
  • Popular East Bay freeway interchange to undergo makeover. It is one of the busiest freeway interchanges in the East Bay and it’s about to undergo a bit of a makeover. On Thursday, a virtual groundbreaking ceremony was held to celebrate the start of the new project. The I-80/Gilman Street Project is located in northwest Berkeley near the Albany border.
  • $5.9 million project on Hwy 101 near Buellton now underway. Work to widen the bridge at Highway 101 near Buellton at Nojoqui Creek and replace railing along the highway there is now underway and drivers may experience slight  delays. Caltrans says the project comes with a price tag of $5.9 million, adding it’s being fully funded by Senate Bill 1, which is the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
  • Highway 101 bridge widening project underway south of Buellton. Bridge upgrades are underway along Highway 101 near Buellton this week. Caltrans announced the construction on Thursday saying the bridge at Nojoqui Creek just south of Santa Rosa Road will be widened and railings will be replaced.
  • All those electric vehicles pose a problem for building roads. Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee—the guy who, while running for president two years ago, proposed a nationwide ban on sales of gas-powered cars by 2030—vetoed a statewide ban on gas-powered car sales by 2030. The reason for the puzzling move, Inslee said in a statement, was a provision tucked into the legislation. The language said the 2030 target would take effect only if lawmakers created a program to charge drivers based on how far they drive each year.
  • /Freightways FreightWaves Classics: I-8 runs an interesting course in California and Arizona. In California, I-8 runs through the San Diego metropolitan area as the Ocean Beach Freeway and the Mission Valley Freeway before traversing the Cuyamaca Mountains and the Imperial Valley. It crosses the Colorado River into Arizona, and goes through Yuma, crosses the Sonoran Desert and ends at its intersection with I-10 near Casa Grande, in between Phoenix and Tucson. While the highway is less than 350 miles long, it passes through urban, suburban, rural areas, as well as two Native American reservations. It also traverses many different terrains; it begins very close to the Pacific Ocean, crosses the Colorado River and runs through two national forests, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and desert terrain. I-8 runs parallel to the All-American Canal for about 55 miles across the desert, including the Sonoran Desert National Monument. In some areas of eastern Imperial County the Mexican border is less than half a mile south of the Interstate.
  • Construction on Highway 99 near Lomo Crossing to start Monday. Road work is scheduled to begin on Monday for a safety project at the intersection of Highway 99 and Live Oak Boulevard near the Lomo Railroad Crossing. According to Caltrans District 3, the $100,000 safety project is aimed at improving safety and traffic operations and reducing the number and severity of collisions at this intersection.
  • /LAT California gas taxes rise again amid slow road repairs. Four years after the Legislature boosted the gas tax in order to fix California’s crumbling roads and bridges, the state has spent billions and made some progress in repairs, but officials now say the funding is sufficient only to complete less than half of the work needed. The gas tax has been a political hot potato since it was passed in 2017, resulting in the recall of a Democratic state senator who voted for the legislation and an unsuccessful attempt by Republicans in 2018 to ask voters to repeal the higher charges.
  • Divided highway: As a freeway comes down, Syracuse, New York, faces its legacy of segregation. . For more than 50 years, Interstate 81 has cut through the heart of hard-luck Syracuse, New York, raining vehicle exhaust on its Southside neighborhood, where most residents are Black and poor. Now, New York State wants to replace that elevated stretch of freeway with a street-level boulevard to knit the city’s urban grid back together. Construction could begin as soon as next year. The plan has stirred visions of renewal in a city where one in three residents lives in poverty. Some here say it could also make amends to Black residents who were displaced by Interstate 81’s construction decades ago and have been living in its shadow ever since.
  • More work launches in June to widen Highway 101 from Carpinteria to Summerland. The widening of Highway 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara has received a big timeline boost. Work on the next phase begins June 6. It will be a stretch of just over seven miles from Padaro Lane to Summerland.
  • /LAT Pollution, evictions block 710 Freeway expansion. It’s one of the country’s main commercial corridors, linking the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to America’s consumer economy. But the 710 Freeway is a congested and creaky relic straining to keep up with modern expectations. For more than two decades, Southern California transportation officials have pondered how to accommodate the roadway’s swelling truck and automobile traffic, and they’ve always come to the same conclusion: We need a bigger freeway.
  • /AC Marin Narrows portion of Highway 101 gets $76M funding boost to begin work. The final leg of a $1.2 billion, North Bay Highway 101 widening project received a boost Wednesday, as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission approved a contingency funding plan for the Marin County Narrows portion of the work. The commission’s decision to use federal regional discretionary funds to funnel up to $76 million to the Transportation Authority of Marin for widening work north of Novato comes six months after the project secured a $40 million state grant, and officials say it ensures the timely completion of the largest road project in the North Bay in a generation.
  • /NYT Can Removing Highways Fix America’s Cities?. Built in the 1950s to speed suburban commuters to and from downtown, Rochester’s Inner Loop destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, replacing them with a broad, concrete trench that separated downtown from the rest of the city. Now, the city is looking to repair the damage. It started by filling in a nearly-mile-long section of the sunken road, slowly stitching a neighborhood back together. Today, visitors of the Inner Loop’s eastern segment would hardly know a highway once ran beneath their feet.
  • Caltrans to close northbound, southbound Highway 99 for several days. The California Department of Transportation is scheduled to close northbound and southbound Highway 99 for several days in June. The highway will be closed from 47th Avenue to the U.S. Highway 50 Connector from June 11-16. Crews will be replacing the bridge deck on Highway 99 at 21st Avenue, according to Caltrans.
  • /LAT L.A. transportation leaders stop short of pulling the plug on 710 Freeway expansion. Los Angeles transportation officials denounced a proposal to widen the 710 Freeway on Thursday, but did not officially scrap the project — even as state and federal agencies have said the effort will not move forward because of its potential to worsen air quality and displace residents and businesses. The half-hour debate at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board meeting highlighted transportation officials’ struggles in addressing the freeway’s vital role in the region’s economy and its environmental harms to the predominantly low-income Latino neighborhoods in Long Beach, Lynwood and Bell Gardens and others nearby.
  • Ramona Expressway Project (FB). Riverside County Transportation Department begins the Ramona Expressway project on June 1! Follow them for more information!
  • Freeway fees? SANDAG to consider regional plan for San Diego transportation. SANDAG will hear a new regional plan on Friday, with the aim of creating a fairer, faster, and cleaner transportation system. But how that is funded is still being discussed. The future Balboa Avenue Transit Center is one of nine new trolley stations being constructed through the UC San Diego Blue Line. Local officials said outside the new station on Thursday that they hope to bring more transit sites like it to neighborhoods near the border and all the way up to North County.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Former US Route 99 in Earlimart and Pixley. Earlimart and Pixley are communities located in southern Tulare County, California which were on the original surface alignments of US Route 99. Within Earlimart former US Route 99 was aligned on Front Road whereas in Pixley it was aligned on Main Street. Pictured above in the cover photo is the US Route 99 freeway in Earlimart shortly after it opened.
  • Former US Route 99 in Salida. Salida is a community located in northern Stanislaus County, California which was on the original surface alignment of US Route 99. Within Salida former US Route 99 was aligned on Salida Boulevard which runs alongside the Union Pacific Railroad. Pictured above is US Route 99 between Modesto and Salida after it had been expanded to four lanes in 1938.
  • The Lincoln Highway, US Route 99 and US Route 50 in Stockton. Former US Route 99 and US Route 50 within the City of Stockton occupied a corridor which largely was aligned on a multiplex east of downtown via Wilson Way. At the corner of Wilson Way and Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (formerly Charter Way) was once where US Route 99 and US Route 50 split. Stockton was also was part of the early US Route 99 East/West corridor and also was host to the earliest alignment of the Lincoln Highway.
  • The Lincoln Highway, US Route 99 and US Route 50 in Lodi and Galt. The Cities of Lodi and Galt were once part of several historic highways of national importance. Historically in the City of Lodi US Route 99 and US Route 50 were aligned on Cherokee Lane whereas the early Lincoln Highway was aligned on Lower Sacramento Road. Within the City of Galt US Route 99, US Route 50 and the Lincoln Highway were all once aligned on Lincoln Way.
  • Legacy of US Route 466 Part 3; Morro Bay to Shandon via Rocky Canyon. (Update and Rewrite) Part 3 of the US Route 466 Legacy series consists of the roadways that made up the highway between Morro Bay and Shandon of San Luis Obispo County. The San Luis Obispo County segment of US Route 466 is notable due to it having been carried via a dirt segment through Rocky Canyon from 1933 to 1958. Pictured in the cover photo of this blog is former US Route 466 facing westward into Rocky Canyon.
  • California State Route 229. California State Route 229 is a 9 mile State Highway entirely contained to San Luis Obispo County. California State Route 229 begins at California State Route 58 near the Salinas River and terminates at California State Route 41 near Creston. California State Route 229 is notable due to having a 6 mile long one-lane section and one of the lowest traffic counts in the State Highway System. The northern 3 miles of California State Route 229 from Rocky Canyon Road to California State Route 41 is largely aligned over what was US Route 466. The entirety of California State Route 229 is signed on Webster Road.
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