🛣 Headlines About California Highways – August 2021

The end of August. Summer is coming to an end, although the hot days are still here (and the Santa Ana winds are still to come, which is scary given the fires we’ve had so far). I hope everyone is staying safe with all the dangers out there — COVID, brush fires, flash floods, monsoons. Please do what you can to stay safe. Get vaccinated. Vote “no” on the recall. Watch out for flash floods. Stay out of evacuation zones. Watch out for the draft. Stay away from Texas.

This post was delayed a bit because I was on vacation in Las Vegas. I plan to do some posts about that: one looking at the subtle racism that is still present in the town that once you see, you can’t unsee. The other looking at how the town — and the roads — have changed. We all wax rhapsodic about “Classic” Vegas, but classic vegas is no more. There are no headliners like the headliners of old, there are no lounges or showrooms like the ones of old, there are no hotels like the hotels of old, there are no signs like the signs of old. There are glimmers, fleeting, of the past. But was the past better? Is today’s Vegas better? You’ll have to read my upcoming posts to know.

One thing the trip to Vegas makes clear is that change is here to stay (unless you are exchanging it for a gambling voucher or playing Pinball at the Pinball Hall of Fame). The days of driving US 91 to Vegas, seeing the signs for the hotels and for Foxy’s Deli are gone. Stuckey’s is only a memory. The roads are crowded, and filled with people trying to get there an extra five minutes earlier. The headlines this month capture the change.

One other thing the end of summer will bring us is another round of highway page updates. They are almost done, and these headlines will be included in that update. So watch this space. After the headlines are posted, all that will remain is reviewing the AARoads Pacific Southwest forum for updates. As always, if you see a naming sign in the wild (i.e., a sign with the name of a highway) and I don’t have a picture of that sign in the NAMING section for the route, please send me the photo. Your name will be immortalized as a contributor.

And lastly, all together now: “Ready, set, discuss”.

Key

[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls, $$ really obnoxious paywalls, and  other annoying restrictions. I’m no longer going to list the paper names, as I’m including them in the headlines now. Note: For paywalls, sometimes the only way is incognito mode, grabbing the text before the paywall shows, and pasting into an editor. ]

Highway Headlines

  • Full closure of northbound State Route 113 to Interstate 5 begins Monday (California News Times). According to the California Department of Transportation, the full closure of State Highway 113 to Interstate 5 will begin on Monday, according to Caltrans. Drivers are advised to plan ahead. The road will be officially closed at 9 pm on Monday and will reopen at 5 am on August 23. Caltrans recommends the following detours: NBSR-113 to NBI-5. Remove Main Street from the ramp (Exit 37) and turn right onto East Main Street. Use I-5 South On Lamp (Sacramento) from East Main. From SB I-5, take County Road 102 (Exit 536) and turn left. Proceed to the right and take the NB I-5 (Reading) from CR-102 back to I-5 bound for the north. Everyone living in this area expects loud construction noise, and drivers in this area need to anticipate lane restrictions and be aware of commercial vehicles.
  • Why improving the drive to Southern California is so complicated (Las Vegas Sun News). Jim Nares is all too familiar with the Sunday morning routine of waking up early in his Las Vegas hotel room to get a head start on the drive back to Southern California via Interstate 15. Sleeping in poses a seemingly unavoidable hurdle: Long hours stuck in traffic getting home to Winchester, Calif. Nares has been traveling by car with his wife to Las Vegas for 20 years for outdoor recreation, restaurants and light gambling. To keep the return drive at the minimum of four hours, Nares opts for either an early-morning departure or late-night arrival back home. Leaving in the afternoon when thousands of others hit the road is out of the question, he says. “I don’t like traveling back on Sunday,” he said. “Sometimes it just happens. … If we do, we definitely try to be past state line by 9 a.m., otherwise we just stick around (Las Vegas) until, like, 6, 7 p.m.” The parade of bumper-to-bumper traffic is a Sunday afternoon ritual heading back to California. Residents of California accounted for 21% of visitors to Las Vegas in 2019, according to the most recent Visitor Profile Study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. During the pandemic when air travel was limited because of safety concerns, drive-in visitors from California helped keep the local economy moving. Having those visitors stalled in traffic is concerning, Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom said. After all, the last impression of someone’s visit shouldn’t be delays on the road.
  • How does the Caltrans project on Highway 41 compare to other similar endeavors? (KMPH). After decades of accidents along a two-lane stretch of Highway 41 in Fresno County, Caltrans is installing a center barrier that will keep people from crossing into oncoming traffic to pass slower drivers ahead of them. That came after a push by a group called Widen Highway 41 that a woman named Lorna Roush founded after her cousin’s husband Ken Atkins was killed in a head-on crash. “This is a temporary fix. It’s a Band Aid,” Roush said of the K-Rail. “We’re going to save lives from head-ons while we work on the logistics of getting that widened to four lanes.”
  • American Canyon plots the future look of Highway 29 (Napa Valley Register). American Canyon is trying to keep its Highway 29 of the future from becoming an irrevocably entrenched Anywhere, USA blur of strip malls, parking lots and clashing architecture. “That is the front door to our city,” city Community Development Director Brent Cooper said. It’s also a front door/first impression for Napa County. A sign in American Canyon along Highway 29 depicts vineyards and pristine hillsides and proclaims, “Where your Napa Valley experience begins.”
  • Newsom Signs S.B. 51, Durazo’s Legislation that Changes Law on Caltrans Tenant Property Sales (Streetsblog California). Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed S.B. 51, state legislation that changes a four-decades-old law that governs how Caltrans-owned residential properties along the 710 corridor will be sold. Critics contend that the changes will make it harder for tenants, some of whom have lived in the properties for forty years, to purchase the properties. The legislation’s author, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, contends the legislation will make it easier to preserve the existing stock as affordable housing for current and future generations.

  • US 395 Improvements Near Big Pine (Facebook). Caltrans is seeking public comment until Wednesday, September 1 on two proposed projects currently in the planning stages, the Fish Springs Pavement Project through the town of Big Pine and the Manzanar Pavement Project through the town of Independence. The projects will repave: …
  • Caltrans Releases Draft of 2021 Interregional Transportation Plan (AASHTO Journal). The California Department of Transportation has opened the public comment period for the draft of its 2021 Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan or ITSP; a policy framework to guide Caltrans and its partner agencies on developing and prioritizing transportation projects connecting California’s distinct regions. Updated every five years, the draft 2021 ITSP focuses on enhancements to key highway and rail corridors throughout the state to expand mobility options, improve safety and accessibility, ensure the efficient movement of goods, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and fortify transportation infrastructure to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
  • The Guerrilla Artist Who Fixed L.A.’s Worst Freeway Sign (TheLAnd). In the pre-dawn hours of August 5, 2001, Richard Ankrom got in his pick-up truck and drove out to a downtown L.A. freeway sign. He parked along an off-ramp near 4th and Beaudry Streets, stashed two large sheets of aluminum in the bushes, and took a deep breath. Ankrom needed a moment to reflect on the laws he was about to break in the name of art. “I was scared,” he recalled recently, perched on an overpass, staring down at the area where this occurred two decades earlier. “I stood there, just to kind of calm down, you know.”
  • Scoping begins today on 405 Sepulveda Pass ExpressLanes project (The Source). Metro and Caltrans are beginning the scoping process today (Tuesday, Aug. 3) for a key project funded by Measure M: ExpressLanes on the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. In government speak, scoping is the first step in the legally required state and federal environmental study process (called CEQA for the state and NEPA on the federal side). The idea of scoping is to identify the purpose and goals of a project, outline project alternatives and determine what should be studied as part of the environmental studies. UPDATE, AUG. 17: Metro is extending the comment period on the I-405 Sepulveda Pass ExpressLanes project from 30 days to 60 days, now through October 1, 2021, to allow more time for the public to submit their scoping comments.
  • Great Highway to reopen on weekdays, sparking renewed debate (The San Francisco Examiner). The Upper Great Highway soon will reopen to vehicles for the first time in over a year, after becoming the second most visited open space in San Francisco during the pandemic. Starting Aug. 16, the beachside promenade will allow vehicles on weekdays. It will remain a car-free destination only during the weekend, from noon Fridays to 6 a.m. Mondays, as well as holidays.
  • Residents upset American flags keep being removed by Caltrans (KFMB CBS 8). Barbara Channell and Ruth Miller helped put up American flags along the 67 freeway between Lakeside and Santee. “We just want red white and blue all over,” said Channell. “It’s honorable. It’s heartwarming from the freeway to see it,” said Miller. They say Caltrans has taken the flags down at least three times. Caltrans sent News 8 this statement: “Safety is a top priority for Caltrans. We understand that the flags are meaningful to the people who placed them, however any distraction on the highway presents an immediate safety hazard for motorists. Additionally, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously held that the flag is considered a form of speech, and Caltrans cannot differentiate between which banners or flags it removes regardless of the message. For safety and to comply with the court decision, the department needs to remove the flags from State Route 67. The flags have been returned to their owners.”
  • If California won’t add a lane to Interstate 15, the least it can do is stay out of the way of any alternatives (The Nevada Independent). Clark County has a problem. No, it’s not the Delta variant of COVID-19. No, it’s not the wildfire smoke caused by California’s forests getting too close and cuddly with PG&E’s century-old electrical infrastructure settling into nearly every valley in the western United States. All right, yes, those are both problems, too — serious, lethal problems doing untold destruction to life and property — but let’s not get distracted from what’s important here: There are tourists from Southern California who want to visit Southern Nevada and, if they leave either their homes or Clark County at the wrong time, they will have to drive through 113 miles of slow moving bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  • Joe Cox Memorial Highway (FB). Caltrans District 10 is honored to help dedicate a portion of State Route 152 in Los Banos to World War II veteran, community leader, and educator Joe Cox. This stretch of roadway will be known as the Joe Cox Memorial Highway, and the naming ceremony took place Saturday, August 7, 2021. Assembly member Adam Gray, whose district includes large swaths western Merced and Stanislaus counties, authored the legislation that recognizes Cox’s contributions and allows for the memorial sign.
  • FERGUSON ROCK SHED PROJECT ENTERS NEXT IMPORTANT PHASE (FB). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has completed the process of dislodging overhanging rocks at the site of the Ferguson rock slide and will begin removing more than 100,000 tons of rocks this month as it continues the Ferguson Rock Shed project on State Route 140 in the Merced River Canyon.
    Approximately 20 trucks, each with 20 tons of capacity, will remove as many as 80 total loads from the site per day. The work is scheduled to occur during daytime hours Monday through Friday beginning this month until November 2021.
  • Ferguson Rock Shed Project Enters Another Important Phase (Sierra News Online). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has completed the process of dislodging overhanging rocks at the site of the Ferguson rock slide and will begin removing more than 100,000 tons of rocks this month as it continues the Ferguson Rock Shed project on State Route 140 in the Merced River Canyon.
  • Study: Bus-only lane on Highway 101 cuts Marin commute time (Marin I-J). Bus riders could cut their morning commute time through an often-congested section of Highway 101 in Marin by nearly half if a proposed $7 million transit-only lane is created, according to a new study. The Transportation Authority of Marin, which conducted the study, is considering a pilot program to allow public buses to use the highway shoulder and merging lanes along a nearly 10-mile stretch of southbound Highway 101 between Novato and San Rafael to bypass traffic jams.
  • State Route 174 (SR-174) safety improvement project (FB). Caltrans is set to resume construction on the State Route 174 (SR-174) safety improvement project between You Bet Road and Maple Way in Nevada County, following the recent River Fire incident. As of Thursday, August 12, one-way traffic control will resume for daytime construction work between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In order to expedite completion of the project this fall, construction work will likely continue seven days per week. Motorists are advised to anticipate 20-minute delays when traveling through the construction zone area. The schedule is subject to change based on weather, availability of equipment or other unexpected events.
  • Peregrine wall, U.S. 101 south of Pieta in Mendocino County (FB). Construction is nearing completion on this slide stopper! The Peregrine wall, located on U.S. 101 just south of Pieta in Mendocino County, was designed and constructed to prevent slide activity along the highway. Construction began in 2018, and all of the structure work has been completed with only a masonry berm wall and some roadwork remaining. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project! #Hwy101
  • Caltrans: Construction resuming on Highway 174 (The Union). Caltrans is set to resume construction on the Highway 174 safety improvement project between You Bet Road and Maple Way in Nevada County, following the recent River Fire. As of Thursday, Aug. 12, one-way traffic control will resume for daytime construction work between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In order to expedite completion of the project this fall, construction work will likely continue seven days per week. Motorists are advised to anticipate 20-minute delays when traveling through the construction zone area. The schedule is subject to change based on weather, availability of equipment or other unexpected events.
  • Mono Chain Up Area Project Underway in Mono County (Eastern Sierra News). Caltrans has begun construction on the Mono Chain Up Area Project located on U.S. Highway 395 and U.S. Highway 6. This $2,571,000 project is expected to be in construction over 65 working days and will install lighting, upgrade culverts, construct new chain control turnouts, elongate existing chain control turnouts, and replace old signage. The six locations that will receive chain control turnout upgrades or additions are: …
  • El Camino Real Bell Removal Ceremony (FB). Honored to have contributed art for the flier of this important event! “Witness the historic removal of the last standing ‘El Camino Real’ mission bell marker in downtown Santa Cruz and learn directly from California Indian leaders and scholars about the true history of the California Mission system.”
  • Tunnel or Freeway for Valley-to-Desert Route (FB). Link to a series of images of an article in the LA Times about a proposed Valley to Desert tunnel (Route 2, Route 249)
  • Study calls for curbing congestion by building fewer roads (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison News). Cities clamor for new development, with its promise of new housing or economic opportunities. Then comes the unwelcome side effect: congestion. Popular new attractions or dozens of new apartments mean more travel in the neighborhood. To cope, cities typically require developers to add highway capacity for many new car trips, plus the parking those cars need, or pay a fee so the city can make those improvements in their stead. The catch is, all those new roads might make things worse.
  • Motorists Advised to Find Alternate Routes as Caltrans Announces Full Weekend Closure of WB I-210 at I-5 (California News Times/SCVNews). The California Department of Transportation has announced that Schirmer’s westbound Interstate 210 will be completely closed for 55 hours on weekends due to pavement work. The closure is part of a series of 55-hour closures taking place at I-210 in the San Fernando Valley. Residents and local businesses living near highways can experience the noise, vibration and dust associated with construction activities.
  • Hwy 25/156 roundabout included in $1.4 billion California transportation allocation (BenitoLink). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $1.4 billion on Aug. 19 for transportation infrastructure and improvement projects, including $12 million for a roundabout at the intersection of State route 25 and Highway 156. CTC considers Highway 156 as a major corridor for large trucks. “California continues to make significant investments in fixing our roads, highways, bridges and transit systems,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a press release. “SB 1 is critical to making these repairs and upgrades, while also supporting thousands of jobs that are essential for our economy.”
  • Millions of people. Six routes out. That’s Tahoe’s evacuation nightmare (SF Gate). There are six routes that lead in and out of the basin. It’s simple math to get a picture of the nightmare that’s waiting in Lake Tahoe when an order to evacuate a wildfire comes. In 2019, several months after the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people, McClatchy ran an analysis of California communities to find the towns and cities that were at the most risk for wildfire. Their findings pinpointed Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe as a “very high fire hazard severity zone.” Not only is the lakefront town surrounded by dense, dry forests, with limited evacuation routes, it also sees thousands of tourists every day. Another city on the list: Pollock Pines.
  • Court to Dismiss City’s Lawsuit Against TCA (San Clemente Times). A Riverside County judge will dismiss the city of San Clemente’s lawsuit against the Transportation Corridor Agencies after finding that the city’s objections to the previously proposed and abandoned 241 Toll Road extensions were moot. With such proposals to extend the 241 through the town no longer under consideration by the TCA, the court tentatively ruled that the city couldn’t provide evidence showing that the toll road operators would complete the thoroughfare’s southern alignment via San Clemente.
  • The Muralist: Tag Along as Renowned Artist John Cerney Installs His ‘Popsicles’ on Sunny Dunes Road (Coachella Valley Independent). John Cerney had coffee with James Dean this morning. No matter that Dean’s been deceased since 1955. Blackwell’s Corner General Store and the Shell station on Highway 46 near Lost Hills, in Central California’s Kern County, share two of Cerney’s over-sized painted images of Dean in all his iconic glory. One painting is a headshot, with Dean’s eyes squinting, unsure of what’s next; the other is a full-body image of a cocky wiseass. This is the last place anyone saw Dean alive in his Porsche Spyder before his fatal accident en route to Salinas for an auto race.
  • 15 million drivers could benefit from settlement of OC toll roads class action suit (Orange County Register). If you’ve driven on one of Orange County’s tolled roads in the past six years, you could be one of millions of people entitled to a small cash payment or forgiveness of penalty fees to be doled out in a more than $200 million settlement of a class action lawsuit. Multiple suits dating back to at least 2015 have been critical of how the Transportation Corridor Agencies (which operate the 73, 133, 241 and 261 toll roads) and the Orange County Transportation Authority (which operates the 91 Freeway Express Lanes) shared drivers’ personal information with third parties, such as debt collectors, and how they charged tolls and violation fees to drivers who don’t have accounts with them, among other complaints. The TCA and OCTA are on the brink of settling a class action lawsuit and are sending notices to some of the more than 15 million people who may have used the toll roads or lanes since mid-2015 and could benefit from the settlement.
  • California Invests $1.4 Billion for Transportation Improvements (Edhat). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) [Thursday] allocated more than $1.4 billion for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state. Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for more than half of this investment – $884 million. “California continues to make significant investments in fixing our roads, highways, bridges and transit systems,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “SB 1 is critical to making these repairs and upgrades, while also supporting thousands of jobs that are essential for our economy.” Active Transportation Projects approved today include:
  • Left turn lane project on Hwy 246 near Buellton to start Aug. 23 (Santa Ynez Valley Star). A project to install a new left-turn lane on State Route 246 at the Foley Estates between Campbell Road East and Drum Canyon Road near Buellton will begin on Monday, August 23. A widening of the southbound side of State Route 246 will result in roadwork, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and on Fridays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Travelers will encounter a lane shift for the installation of protective barrier for highway workers. Flaggers will maintain traffic control with delays not expected to exceed 15 minutes.
  • California Transportation Commission Allocates $1.4 Billion for Infrastructure (Transportation Today). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced Thursday that it had allocated more than $1.4 billion for infrastructure projects. The infrastructure investments will be funded, in part, by SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, which will provide $884 million for the transportation repairs and improvements. “California continues to make significant investments in fixing our roads, highways, bridges, and transit systems,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said. “SB 1 is critical to making these repairs and upgrades, while also supporting thousands of jobs that are essential for our economy.” Among the projects approved are $98.5 million to …
  • State invests $1.4B into transportation improvements (Colusa Sun Herald | appeal-democrat.com). The California Transportation Commission on Friday allocated more than $1.4 billion for transportation infrastructure throughout the state. More than half of the investment — $884 million — came from Senate Bill 1 (SB1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, a news release said. “California continues to make significant investments in fixing our roads, highways, bridges and transit systems,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin in the release. “SB 1 is critical to making these repairs and upgrades, while also supporting thousands of jobs that are essential for our economy.” Among the projects included in the funding is the Bridge Replacement Project on State Route 162 in Glenn County. …
  • Caltrans Completes ADA Ramps Project on Highway 49/88 (Ledger Dispatch). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently completed a project to enhance pedestrian safety, mobility and accessibility on State Route 88 and Route 49 in the town of Jackson in Amador County. The project installed and upgraded curb ramps, sidewalks, and driveways, provided accessible asphalt concrete shoulders, as well as accessible pedestrian signals and push buttons that meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The project limits were Route 88 from Broadway to the Route 49 junction, and Route 49 from North Fork Jackson Creek to Peek Street.
  • Tolling begins on new I-680 Express Lanes in Contra Costa County (Fox 2 KTVU). Tolling operations began Friday morning for a new 11-mile express lane on southbound Interstate Highway 680 from Martinez to Walnut Creek. The express lane starting at Marina Vista Boulevard in Martinez will charge tolls from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and connects with a previously existing 11-mile express lane on southbound Highway 680 from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon.
  • I-680 express lane now charges a toll in Contra Costa County (KRON4). Drivers taking the express lane on I-680 will now be charged a toll. The new express toll lane stretches 11 miles, along southbound Interstate 680. It starts at Marina Vista Avenue in Martinez and goes all the way to Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek. There are five southbound toll zones in between.
  • $21M federal grant paves way for Santa Rosa pedestrian, bike crossing over Highway 101 (Local News Matters). People on foot and on bikes will be able to cross U.S. Highway 101 in Santa Rosa by 2026, thanks to $12 million in federal grants awarded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to build an overcrossing. The amount is more than half of the project’s estimated $21 million in construction costs, city officials said in an announcement of the federal grants. The city needs to secure an additional $6 million for the project, which could begin as early as October 2023 with a completion date of December 2025.
  • Bailey Road/Highway 4 ramp removed in project to improve pedestrian access (Local News Matters). Construction crews on Monday began the demolition of the westbound loop offramp from state Highway 4 to Bailey Road in Bay Point, part of the Bailey Road/Highway 4 Interchange Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project, according to the Contra Costa County Public Works Department. To prepare for the demolition, the offramp was permanently closed Saturday and traffic permanently redirected to the Highway 4 westbound diagonal offramp, which has been widened and now can accommodate both northbound and southbound traffic onto Bailey Road.
  • California Transportation Commission Dedicates $1.4 Billion for Infrastructure (Transport Topics). The California Transportation Commission recently allocated $1.4 billion for transportation infrastructure projects, including efforts to improve freight movement. The 13-member commission is responsible for programming and directing transportation funds for highway, rail, transit and active transportation purposes. More than half of the funding, some $884 million, came from Senate Bill 1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This legislation, which involved a hike to fuel tax rates, is intended to direct $54 billion over a decade to fixing roads, highways and bridges, as well as supporting transit and safety.
  • CalTrans gets $24.5M for road projects in county (The Sun-Gazette Newspaper). The California Department of Transportation announced that the state’s transportation commission allocated more than $1.4 billion for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state. Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for $884 million of the investment. Here at home, drivers can look forward to the $18 million bridge replacement project on State Route 245. The project will replace bridges to upgrade to current standards, facilitate bike lane shoulders and upgrade guard rails at the Yokohl Creek Bridge and Kaweah River Bridge on State Route 245.
  • California wins fight over contested highway project in ancient redwood grove (Courthouse News Service). Capping off an 11-year legal saga, a federal judge on Monday gave California a green light to move forward with a long-contested highway project through a majestic grove of ancient redwood trees in Northern California. The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, has been trying since 2006 to widen 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 up to 3,000 years old, soaring up to 300 feet high and with diameters as wide as 18 feet.
  • Stanislaus supervisors favor new 132 route away from Maze (Modesto Bee). Stanislaus County supervisors agreed Tuesday on their preferred route for a future Highway 132 project west of Modesto. This option runs directly west from the Dakota Avenue end of the 132 bypass now under construction. It is just south of Kansas Avenue, half a mile from the Maze Boulevard corridor that has served as the state highway since the 1930s. The 5-0 vote will be relayed to the California Department of Transportation, which is considering four options for the proposed extension. It could open to drivers as early as 2025 if the funding comes together, county Public Works Director David Leamon told the board.
  • New ‘turbo’ roundabout planned for 25/156 intersection (BenitoLink). Having obtained the $12 million required for the job, Caltrans is set to begin the bidding process for the State Route 25/Highway 156 roundabout project. Construction is expected to begin in January, pending weather conditions. Caltrans project manager Brandy Rider said the roundabout planned at that intersection will be the first of its kind in California. The design known as a turbo roundabout is 240 feet in diameter, includes raised dividers to keep motorists from changing lanes, and uses overhead and road markings for navigation.
  • Santa Cruz takes down its last El Camino Real bell (BenitoLink). On Aug. 28, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band joined with the city of Santa Cruz and a crowd of around 100 spectators to remove the last of three El Camino Real bells on public property in that city. The bell, located at Soquel and Dakota avenues, was to be removed with the city’s approval, following a November 2020 recommendation by the Santa Cruz Historic Resources Commission. The bell, however, was removed illegally by vandals just hours before the gathering. The Santa Cruz Police Department is conducting an investigation, according to a Twitter post by police chief Andy Mills.
  • I-405 Improvement Project Is Now More than 60% Complete (OCTA). The largest project in OCTA’s history, the 16-mile I-405 Improvement Project is more than halfway toward completion. OCTA is constructing the I-405 Improvement Project between SR-73 and I-605, which will add one regular lane in each direction from Euclid Street to I-605, and an additional lane in the center of the freeway that will combine with the existing carpool lanes to form the 405 Express Lanes.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Former US Route 101 along Santa Barbara Channel (Gaviota Pass to Ventura). US Route 101 southbound upon traversing Gaviota Pass in Santa Barbara County emerges onto Santa Barbara Channel and begins a generally eastward jog towards Oxnard Plain of Ventura County. US Route 101 along Santa Barbara Channel is one of the oldest and most historic overland corridors in California which has ties to Spanish El Camino Real. While modern US Route 101 along Santa Barbara Channel is carried by either freeway or expressway grades there are numerous former surface alignments of note. This blog features the history of US Route 101 in the communities of; Gaviota siding, Orella siding, Naples siding, Ellwood siding, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, Sea Cliff, Dulah siding and Ventura. Featured above is the Rincon Road Causeway between Carpinteria and Ventura as seen in a photo dated to 1912.
  • Former US Route 101 in Buellton. Buellton is a small City located in central Santa Barbara County along the Santa Ynez River. Prior to the modern freeway bypass being constructed US Route 101 was aligned through the City of Buellton on Avenue of the Flags. US Route 101 above can be seen facing northbound towards Pea Soup Andersen’s in 1949. US Route 101 can be seen below aligned on Avenue of the Flags on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Santa Barbara.
  • California State Route 41; The 2 Lane Death Trap Corridor. California State Route 41 north from the Kings County/Fresno County Line at Excelsior Avenue to Postmile FRE 6.00 at Elkhorn Avenue consists of substandard two lane expressway serving as a gap from two modern four lane facilities. In recent months the Excelsior Avenue-Elkhorn Avenue segment of California State Route 41 has obtained infamy due to it’s high number of accidents which led to the corridor obtaining the nickname of “The 2 Lane Death Trap.” As of August 7th, 2021 the Excelsior Avenue-Elkhorn Avenue segment of California State Route 41was converted to the first centerline K-Rail barrier two lane State Highway in Caltrans District 6.
  • California State Route 33 and legacy of US Route 399 on the Maricopa-Ventura Highway. California State Route 33 is a 290 mile (about 323 including multiplexes) State Highway spanning from Ventura at US Route 101 north to Interstate 5 near Tracy. California State Route 33 offers a scenic alternate from the Pacific Coast over former US Route 399 via the Ventura-Maricopa Highway to San Joaquin Valley. Within San Joaquin Valley California State Route 33 largely is known as the main street connecting it’s western communities. Depicted above is an overlook of California State Route 33 and the Maricopa-Ventura Highway snaking through Wheeler Gorge. Pictured below is reverse view of the Maricopa-Ventura Highway shortly after it opened in October 1933. The Maricopa-Ventura Highway would become part of US Route 399 in 1934 and would be absorbed into California State Route 33 in 1964.
  • Former alignments of California State Route 1 from Santa Cruz north to Half Moon Bay. California State Route 1 north from the City of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County north to the City of Half Moon Bay of San Mateo County largely lines the Pacific Coast at the western flank of the Santa Cruz Mountains. California State Route 1in the Santa Cruz-Half Moon Bay corridor has numerous older inland alignments which were inherited from 19th Century wagon roads. Pictured above is a photo of Pescadero Beach from the July 1940 California Highways & Public Works displaying right-of-way recently acquired to realign California State Route 1.
  • The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99. Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway. The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99. The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California. Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.
  • Former US Route 99 West from West Sacramento to Red Bluff. US Route 99 from downtown Sacramento north through Sacramento Valley to the City of Red Bluff was once host to a East/West split alignment of US Route 99. US Route 99 West was the original alignment of US Route 99 prior to 1928 and followed Legislative Route Number 7 over what had mostly been the Pacific Highway. Above the original Yolo Causeway can be seen as featured in the 1916 California Highway Bulletin just after it opened. The 1916 Yolo Causeway would later become part of US Route 99 West and US Route 40. Below US Route 99 West can be seen traversing north from Sacramento via Legislative Route Number 6 and 7 to the Red Bluff on the 1938 Division of Highways State Map.
  • Former US Route 99 in Cottonwood. Former US Route 99 in Cottonwood of southern Shasta County, California was located on Main Street in the community. Pictured above is former US Route 99 on Main Street upon crossing the Cottonwood Creek Bridge northbound towards the Southern Pacific Railroad Subway as depicted in the February 1931 California Highways & Public Works. Below is a image from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Shasta County depicting US Route 99 following Main Street on Legislative Route Number 3 through Cottonwood. Presently much of former US Route 99 in Cottonwood is carried by Tehama/Shasta County Route A17.
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