🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2021

Happy new year! What do you mean, I just wished you happy new year? This is a different new year. Happy US government fiscal new year! Welcome to FY22. May it bring us a new budget, a raised debt ceiling, and infrastructure bill, and lots of highway upgrades and improvements at the Federal and State levels.

That said: The September bunch of headlines seems a bit lighter. Part of this is because road construction and planning was a bit on hold as budgets were being worked out, and due to the immense fires in the state. There also wasn’t a CTC meeting in September, so there wasn’t quite as much news. I also think more and more papers are going behind paywalls, making it harder to find information. As always, if you see a highway related headline, please send it my way.

Next week will bring something to these pages that hasn’t been seen since March 2020: a live theatre review. Our theatregoing, in a post-COVID environment, starts next week with My Fair Lady at the Dolby/Broadway In Hollywood. A return to normalcy? A dangerous event? We shall see, but my other hobby is returning. We’re taking it slow at first, but as they say, “Wouldn’t it be loverly?” to be back to normal. You know what you have to do: 💉, and here’s how to do it.

And with that, here are the headlines for September. My plan is to get the highway page update out sometime in mid-November, with a final update for 2021 right at the start of 2022.

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

  • 101 Freeway In Encino To Be Named After Astronaut Sally Ride (KABC-AM). Part of the 101-Freeway in the San Fernando Valley will be named after late astronaut Sally Ride. Last week, the state legislature passed a resolution, naming the 101 in Encino the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway. It honors the first American woman to go to space. Encino is Ride’s hometown. She died of cancer in 2012, at the age of 61.
  • East Bay scores big in state funding (The Bay Link Blog). The California Transportation Commission 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, accounted for more than half of the investment – $884 million. In the Bay Area, Alameda County and Contra Costa received millions from the August allocation:
  • State Route 192 Resurfacing Project Through Montecito Begins Tuesday September 7 (The Santa Barbara Independent). A project to resurface State Route 192 in both directions from Cold Springs Rd. to 0.9 miles west of Nidever Rd. will begin on Tuesday September 7. Travelers will encounter one-way reversing traffic control Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am to 2 pm.
  • Pedestrian Safety Project Nearing Completion in Bishop (Eastern Sierra News). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 9 Pedestrian Safety Project will soon wrap up construction in Inyo County. The project, which began construction earlier this year, is upgrading four high-traffic crosswalks in three communities with new safety instruments. To date, crews have installed an Accessible Pedestrian System in Lone Pine at the intersection of Whitney Portal Road and U.S. 395 and a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon at the intersection of W. Crocker Avenue and U.S. 395 in Big Pine.
  • Diverging Diamond Interchange to Open at Enrico Fermi Drive and SR 11, September 9 (SANDAG). On Thursday, September 9, SANDAG and Caltrans crews will open the new diverging diamond interchange, located at the intersection of Enrico Fermi Drive and State Route 11 (SR 11), fully to the public. The diverging diamond interchange is the first of its kind in the San Diego region and the first in California to cater to freight. The interchange allows travelers turning left onto westbound SR 11 to continue without stopping at a signal light. This helps reduce congestion and improves overall traffic flow, particularly for freight transporting goods along this corridor.

  • Holtville’s Highway 115 to See Closure for 3 Days (Holtville Tribune). Construction crews will close a one-mile section of westbound and eastbound Highway 115 from Grape Road to Towland Road in Holtville from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day Friday, Sept. 10, through Sunday, Sept. 12, according to the state Department of Transportation. One-way traffic control will be provided with no alternate detours, Caltrans states in a press release.
  • Why Is Pacific Coast Highway So Loved (And What To See Along The Way) (The Travel). The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as Highway 1 is one of the most beloved road trip routes in the U.S. It offers scenic views of the California coast where people can view clifftop scenery, hidden coves, forests, and sandy beaches. Highway 1 is over 650 miles long and would take about 10 hours non-stop to drive straight through.
  • Extended one-way traffic control set for Highway 99 north of Gridley (Lake County News). Caltrans is alerting motorists about around-the-clock one-way traffic control next weekend on State Highway 99 about 10 miles north of Gridley in Butte County. Crews plan to conduct one-way traffic control from 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, to 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 20, in the Cottonwood Creek area. Motorists may expect traffic back-ups and 20-minute delays during peak travel times. Caltrans advises motorists to use alternate routes.
  • Caldor Fire Damage Impacts Reopening Of Highways 50, 89 (Good Day Sacramento). As the flames from the Caldor Fire begin to simmer and families return to Grizzly Flats, the cleanup on the routes to get others home is just beginning. Just last week, Highway 50 was engulfed in fire on both sides of the roadways. Caltrans said because of the path of the fire and the extent of the damage, the flames have caused dangerous driving conditions.
  • SANDAG and Caltrans seek feedback on proposed transportation improvements along SR 52 and into La Jolla (La Jolla Light). The San Diego Association of Governments and the California Department of Transportation are seeking public input on a proposal to improve transportation options along an area known as the Coast, Canyons and Trails Corridor. The corridor is made up primarily of State Route 52, which extends between La Jolla Parkway at Interstate 5 and State Route 67 in Santee, and goes into surrounding areas, including La Jolla.
  • Caltrans Virtual Open House Video Released for Hwy 49 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (YubaNet). Community members are invited to view a virtual open house video presentation for the State Route 49 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (SR 49 CMCP). The virtual open house outlines the process for developing the SR 49 CMCP, which is a long-term transportation plan for the Highway 49 corridor between Auburn and Grass Valley. Future projects are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving livability in the community through operational improvements, technological advancements and increased multimodal options such as bike and pedestrian facilities, local and express bus routes, and passenger and freight rail. The CMCP also is developed with equity in mind to minimize impacts to underserved communities.
  • Route 26/Route 49 Intersection Improvement (FB/Caltrans District 10). Caltrans District 10 will hold a Virtual Open House regarding an intersection improvement project at the intersection of State Route 26 and Route 49 in the town of Mokelumne Hill in Calaveras County.
  • Kickoff: Madera 99 Rehabilitation Project (FB/Caltrans District 6). A great day in Madera yesterday as we celebrated the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Madera 99 Rehabilitation Project. The two year project added an additional lane in both directions, on State Route 99, from Avenue 12 to Avenue 17. The additional lanes will improve the flow of traffic, improve safety for drivers and help the flow of goods and services through the Central Valley and California. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event!
  • Virtual Open House Video Released for State Routes 70-99 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (Caltrans). Community members are invited to view a virtual open house video presentation for the State Routes 70-99 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan (SR 70-99 CMCP). The virtual open house outlines the process for developing the SR 70-99 CMCP, which is a long-term transportation plan for the corridors in Butte, Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba counties. Future projects are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving livability in the community through operational improvements, technological advancements and increased multimodal options such as bike and pedestrian facilities, local and express bus routes, and passenger and freight rail. The CMCP also is developed with equity in mind to minimize impacts to underserved communities.
  • City Getting Closer to Reclaiming 710 Stub (Pasadena Now). According to a presentation made to the City Council on Monday night, city staff could return to the council in December with a recommendation to submit reports to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) for relinquishment approval of the 710 stub. More than 50 years ago, Caltrans seized hundreds of homes in southwestern Pasadena, the city of South Pasadena and the L.A. neighborhood of El Sereno through eminent domain in what ultimately became a failed effort to connect the Long Beach 710 and Foothill 210 freeways. The state transit agency held the land for years, and over the past decade the 710 “stub,” just a few miles from Old Pasadena, served as little more than a rock quarry for Caltrans.
  • Six road construction projects win awards (Equipment World). Six road construction projects have won awards from the Western Association of State Highway Transportation. The awards are part of the run-up to the America’s Transportation Awards. The winning road projects are as follows:
  • Update on Route 14 Rosamond-Mojave Project (FB/Caltrans District 9). On State Route 14 within the Rosamond-Mojave Rehabilitation Project, all traffic has shifted to the newly constructed southbound lanes. The rehabilitation work has shifted over to the northbound lanes where crews are grading in preparation for Hot Mix Asphalt placement. During this phase of the project:
  • Upcoming State Route 4 Corridor Projects (FB/Caltrans District 10). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has rescheduled this weekend’s 55-hour full highway closure of State Route 4 for culvert rehabilitation work due to equipment availability issues.
  • Caltrans to restore PCH surf-eroded slopes in Ventura County (KEYT/NewsChannel 3-12). Caltrans will soon begin its slope erosion restoration project in Ventura County. The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, announced a $51 million project to construct two retaining walls to permanently restore surf eroded slopes on the coast side of Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH/State Route 1, south of Point Mugu State Park and Sycamore Canyon Road in Ventura County. Caltrans says the project area is prone to erosion and needs adequate slope protection.
  • Caltrans, SANDAG, Build NCC continue push for safe driving (The Coast News Group). Drivers on Interstate 5 (I-5) in the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Oceanside, are met with a wide array of construction and safety signs posted throughout the corridor. In 2017, the Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC project, the first phase of the North Coast Corridor program, made the safety of the traveling public a priority. In doing so, Build NCC initiated a speed limit reduction between Manchester Avenue, in the City of Encinitas, and Palomar Airport Road, in the City of Carlsbad. Motorists were advised through signage to reduce speeds from 65 miles per hour (mph) to 55 mph.
  • Caltrans plans to move a 60 Freeway sign after investigation shows it was in the wrong spot (Press Enterprise). Q: Gloria Perry of Jurupa Valley wrote to point out a couple of distance signs on the westbound 60 Freeway in Jurupa Valley that seem to contradict each other. Both distance signs tell drivers about the upcoming exit to Valley Way. The first sign states that Mission Boulevard/Valley Way (and a museum) are one mile away. The next sign right behind it says Valley Way is a half a mile away.
  • Caltrans Planning Three Complete Streets Projects in L.A. County (Streetsblog Los Angeles). At the August California Transportation Commission meeting, Caltrans shared some information about its planned Complete Streets program. Under the “Complete Streets Reservation,” Caltrans will add walk/transit/bike features on state highways. Lots of Caltrans’ state highways are freeways, but many of them are not; they include many local city streets.
  • Traffic shifted to new bridge on Highway 20 in Browns Valley (Lake County News). Caltrans is alerting motorists that traffic has been shifted to the newly constructed Dry Creek Bridge on State Highway 20 in the Browns Valley area of Yuba County. The traffic shift allows the contractor to start demolishing the old bridge before the rainy season begins. In the meantime, crews are scheduled early next week to begin major paving work along the Highway 20 corridor between Marysville Road and the Parks Bar Bridge.
  • Santee officials attack SANDAG’s transit-centered plan: ‘It’s a frickin slap in the face’ (San Diego Union-Tribune). Santee is not interested in spending millions of dollars to put bike lanes along state Route 52, city officials said last week. What residents want, they said, is relief from grueling morning and evening commutes. And they are growing impatient with transportation plans being crafted by outside agencies that don’t jibe with the needs of the East County community.
  • Marin pipeline adds uncertainty to Richmond Bridge projects ($$Marin I-J). Marin County’s efforts to avoid running out of water by building a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael bridge are adding new complications to several bridge projects already years in the making, including the bicycle pathway and the potential for a third westbound commuter lane. “It raises uncertainty,” said Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly, who serves on the Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners. “I think the public is very interested in what is coming out of the water district in terms of options and feasibility.”
  • Finally, a two-lane ramp from 101 to Highway 87 ($$Mercury News). Q: When will improvements between Highway 101 and Highway 87 finally get underway? With traffic picking up, so are the ugly backups from 101 south to 87.
  • Resurfacing of SR-192 (Edhat). The resurfacing of State Route 192 in Santa Barbara County continues this week from Ladera Lane to Ortega Ridge Road. Work hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am to 2 pm. Drive safely in this work zone.
  • A Freeway For Wildlife: Groundbreaking Wildlife Crossing Planned For Conejo Valley Close To Start Of Construction (KCLU). A project to help save the lives of wildlife like mountain lions which was little more than a dream a decade ago is now close to overcoming its biggest hurdle, which is raising the final dollars to pay for it. “This is a wildlife crossing that will span ten lanes of the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills,” said Beth Pratt, the California Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation. For the last decade, she’s helped spearhead the Liberty Canyon overcrossing, which would be the world’s largest overcrossing of its type.
  • Not many in Bay Area remember the freeways’ names ($$Mercury News). Q: I spent many years in the L.A. area, living in Fullerton, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Venice before moving to the Bay Area. Perhaps the use of “the” preceding the highway number came from the time when we all called the freeways and highways by their names before they were assigned numbers. When I drove from my folks’ home in Pasadena to UCLA, my route was the Arroyo Seco Parkway to the Pasadena Freeway to the Harbor Freeway to the Santa Monica Freeway. The names of the freeways were descriptive of the cities traversed and were much more evocative than being named a number.
  • Route 88 Roadway Improvements (FB/Caltrans District 10). Do you want a virtual public meeting on changes proposed for the State Route 88 Roadway Improvement Project in Amador County? The public comment period is September 29 through October 29, 2021.
  • Route 99 Tagus Rehab Groundbreaking (FB/Caltrans District 6). Earlier today, we held a ground breaking ceremony for the State Route 99 Tagus Rehab Project, which will add a lane in each direction between Avenue 272 and Prosperity Avenue. Thank you to our speakers, partners and attendees!
  • Who is Tom McCleod? The mysterious sign on California I-5 (SF Gate). On I-5 is a drab stretch of highway, mostly lined by farmland and occasionally broken up with signs condemning California’s water use policy. But one innocuous sign near Bakersfield has long inspired curiosity, befuddlement and hundreds of online dispatches from travelers passing. The sign, just outside the oil derrick town of Lost Hills, reads “Tom McCleod slept here” in an austere sans-serif font. It raises the question asked again and again by drivers: Who is Tom McCleod?
  • Planning continues for undercrossing at Hwy 101 and Wellsona Rd. (KSBY). We have an update on a safety improvement project for Wellsona Road and Highway 101 just outside of the Paso Robles city limits. On September 30, both four and five years ago, there were deadly car crashes at that intersection. There have been a number of other crashes since then with the latest one on Wednesday.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Former US Route 99 in Dunsmuir. Former US Route 99 in Dunsmuir of southern Siskiyou County, California was located on Dunsmuir Avenue. Pictured above is former US Route 99 on Dunsmuir Avenue in downtown Dunsmuir as it appeared in the September/October 1951 California Highways & Public Works. Below is a image from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Siskiyou County which depicts US Route 99 on Dunsmuir Avenue.
  • Former US Route 99 in Mount Shasta City. Former US Route 99 in Mount Shasta City of southern Siskiyou County, California was located on Mount Shasta Boulevard. Pictured above is photo from the September/October 1951 California Highways & Public Works of former US Route 99 facing south from Black Butte towards Mount Shasta City. Below is a image from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Siskiyou County which depicts US Route 99 on Mount Shasta Boulevard.
  • Former US Route 99 from the Klamath River to the Oregon State Line via Hornbrook. Former US Route 99 from the Klamath River towards the Oregon State Line originally passed through the community of Hornbrook via what is Hornbrook Highway. US Route 99 entered Oregon via what is now Jefferson Road where it climbed towards Siskiyou Pass. Pictured above is the 1916 Southern Pacific Railroad Subway which was present on US Route 99 north of Hornbrook approaching Bailey Hill. Pictured below is former US Route 99 as depicted on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Siskiyou County climbing from the Klamath River towards the Oregon State Line via Hornbrook.
  • 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.
  • Oregon Route 39 and California State Route 139. Oregon Route 39 and California State Route 139 form a 166.9 mile corridor which connects US Route 97 in Klamath Falls, Oregon south to California State Route 36 in Susanville, California. The combined corridor of Oregon Route 39 and California State Route 139 traverse remote regions such the lower Klamath Basin and Californian Cascade Range. Depicted above is Susanville-Adin Highway as featured in the September/October 1956 California Highways & Public Works after it was rebuilt as part of Federal Aid Secondary Joint Highway District #14. Susanville-Adin Highway would become the southern segment of California State Route 139 during the 1960s. Depicted below is the combined corridor of Oregon Route 39 and California State Route 139 as seen on the 2005 Caltrans State Highway Map.
  • California State Route 161. California State Route 161 is a nineteen mile State Highway aligned along State Line Road between US Route 97 and California State Route 139. California State Route 161 bisects what remains of Lower Klamath Lake and is one of the easier ways to access Lava Beds National Monument. The entirety of California State Route 161 is part of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway
  • US Route 197. One of the shorter US highways at 63 miles in length, US 197 entered the US Highway System in 1952, after approval by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) in November of 1951. The timing of the creation of US 197 was due to a new bridge being built over the Columbia River at The Dalles, Oregon, as US 97 to the east was still being served by a ferry crossing across the Columbia River between Maryhill, Washington and Biggs, Oregon until 1962. At the time of the highway’s inclusion into the US Highway System, there were a number of dams being built along the Columbia River, including a dam at the Dalles just east of the US 197 bridge, which led to US 197’s timeliness in being included in the US Highway System.
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