🛣 Headlines About California Highways – April 2022

The last headline post was on April 1st, so I must confess that there was one falsehood in the post:  “Maybe the right answer is just to put a fake headline somewhere in the headline list, and see if anyone falls for the rickroll.” That was just a tease to get you to go through all the headlines. Nothing was false.

However, there was one near truth:

  • How about: I’ve heard a lot about the growth of podcasting. Maybe now is the time for me to do that podcast I’ve always dreamed about doing detailed Theatre Reviews. I could make 10s and 10s of dollars towards my retirement. Now that’s worth quitting my job for. Plausible, but… would folks really fall for it.

The real truth is that I am starting a podcast, but it isn’t on theatre reviews. Right, I’m doing it with Tom Fearer from Gribblenation, and we’ll be going route by route through all the numbered highways in California. Right now, we’ve got a teaser episode up, and a sample and first episode written. We’ll be getting more written in May, and recording the same and first few episodes. You can find the forever home of the podcast at California Highways: Route by Route (caroutebyroute.org); you can find the alternate route over on anchor.fm. Subscribe, and we hope to have the sample episode — exploring Route 105 — up sometime in May.  We are still looking for someone to donate a public domain theme for the podcast; contact daniel@caroutebyroute.org if this interests you. We will also (eventually) be looking for podcast donors and sponsors, but that isn’t set up yet.

I’m also still working on the March/April updates to Cahighways.org. The ✔ below means that I’ve gone through the headline for the pages; I still have to go through the Gribblenation updates, the AAroads updates, the legislative actions, the CTC and Coastal Commission minutes. I also will need to go through the updated STIP and SHOPP, as they were approved at the March meeting. So the March/April updates should be posted sometime in late May.

The headline list is much smaller this month. Perhaps there are more paywalls blocking things. Perhaps there are less articles of interest for my pages (there are loads of articles on transit, but few new roads or major road changes right now). But you take what you get. Still, there are a few things of interest.

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

  • ✔ Officials Approve $312 Million for 126 Highway Projects in California (Construction Equipment Guide). As part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s landmark $1.1 billion Clean California initiative, Caltrans is awarding $312 million for 126 projects along the state highway system. Designed to foster cultural connections and civic pride, the projects are expected to generate 3,600 jobs as part of the multiyear initiative led by Caltrans to upgrade interstates and beautify community gateways and public areas along highways, streets and roads while creating thousands of jobs for Californians. Ninety-eight percent of the projects will benefit historically underserved or excluded communities. […] Developed in close collaboration with tribal and local governments, non-profits and businesses, the 126 state beautification projects include art installations, green space and proposals that improve safety and promote community connections. Construction begins in April 2022. Some of the larger projects include: …
  • ✔ Public Feedback Wanted On Caltrans’ HWY 49 Project (myMotherLode.com). Caltrans and the Calaveras County Public Works Department want to hear from the public regarding a construction project on Highway 49 in San Andreas. The State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) construction project stretches from one end of town to the other along the highway. The town hall will give the public a chance to hear and see drawings of the project that will upgrade facilities to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards with curb ramps, sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • ✔ Caltrans to add 41 parking spaces in Downtown Ramona starting this month (Ramona Sentinel). After a year-long delay, Caltrans will start a project to create 41 parking spaces in Downtown Ramona as early as this week, Caltrans officials said Tuesday. The parallel parking project between Eighth and 10th streets on state Route 78 could be done a few weeks after it starts, said Caltrans Public Information Officer Cathryne Bruce-Johnson. The restriping will create parallel parking spaces for 21 vehicles on the westbound side of SR-78/Main Street, and 20 parking spaces on the eastbound side of the street in currently designated No Parking areas.
  • $$ Temecula ‘smart freeway’ project could improve 15 Freeway commute (Press Enterprise). Transportation officials are banking on technology to ease the frustrating 15 Freeway commute in southwest Riverside County. The Riverside County Transportation Commission is investing $18 million in a “smart freeway” pilot project that will target the northbound drive along 8 miles of the 15, from the San Diego-Riverside county line near Temecula to the 15-215 freeways split in Murrieta. In that section, where commuters returning from San Diego County jobs daily encounter delays, the agency plans to work with Caltrans to install an array of sensors to measure traffic flow, volume and speed at various points, said David Lewis, capital projects manager for the commission.
  • ✔ Southern Marin routes eyed for flooding relief (East Bay Times/Marin IJ). Officials are considering plans to raise portions of Highway 101 and Highway 1 to ease flooding in southern Marin. A proposed project along Highway 101 would elevate a portion of the southbound lane and offramp at the Marin City exit; construct a 700-foot floodwall between the highway and a stormwater pond; and install pumping mechanisms to increase flow from the pond into the Richardson Bay, according to Caltrans and state Sen. Mike McGuire. The project also includes an effort to raise Highway 1 north of the Manzanita commuter lot, which is closed routinely because of flooding. An automatic tide gate would be installed at the lot and drainage would be reconstructed. The Mill-Valley-Sausalito multiuse path also would be raised by about 3 feet.

  • ✔ Milestone reached on $55.4M US50 project at Camino (South Tahoe Now). A key component of the US50 Camino Safety Project has been completed, allowing work to proceed on the remaining elements of the $55.4 million project, which includes $3.4 million in funding from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The replacement of two El Dorado Irrigation District water lines clears the way for the contractor, Security Paving Inc., to move ahead with local road improvements, which include a roundabout connecting to the new Pondorado Undercrossing being built. This safety project consists of installing a continuous 56-inch-high concrete median barrier on a three-mile stretch of US 50 from Still Meadows Road to “upper” Carson Road that will restrict left turns at all at-grade intersections. This segment of US 50 has seen numerous collisions, including multiple fatalities, over the past decade.
  • ✔ Route 66 from Barstow to Newberry Springs (The Royal Tour). It is, perhaps, the most famous road in existence. Once a mighty highway taking people on the journey from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 today lies somewhat forgotten. Here in California’s Mojave Desert, it is a small, two lane highway running parallel to the mighty Interstate 40. Today’s travelers zip down I-40 heading to somewhere better, not realizing what they are missing on that little side road. Until now, I had been one of those fast drivers, eager to get somewhere else. I-40 is about the destination. But Route 66? Route 66 is about the journey.
  • ✔ Rise and Fall of Hayward’s Route 238 (Hayward Area Historical Society/FB). Join us on Saturday, April 23 at 11:30 AM for our next online program! Dr. Sherman Lewis will speak about his newest book, The Rise and Fall of Hayward’s Route 238 Bypass, which details the story of how the bypass ultimately never came to fruition. His book is available through Amazon or and eBook is available on the Google Play Store.
  • ✔ Caltrans Works to Close 3 Connectors to I-80 at Interchange With I-680 (NBC Bay Area). A construction project at the interchange of Interstate Highways 80 and 680 and State Route 12 in Fairfield will close some connecting lanes overnight Tuesday and  Wednesday. Caltrans will close the Green Valley Road off-ramp on eastbound Interstate 80 from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday and the same time Wednesday night into Thursday morning. The off-ramp to southbound Interstate 680 from eastbound Interstate 80 will be closed overnight Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. each following morning.
  • $$✔ Agencies taking steps to protect mountain lions, other wildlife along freeways and rural roads (Press Enterprise). While driving on the freeway or a rural road in Southern California, you’ll often spot wildlife alongside the road. Animals are out there and sometimes, unfortunately, clashing with vehicles. This usually does not end well for the animal — or your car, which will likely sustain heavy damage. Take P-104, for example, a male mountain lion recently captured and collared as part of a study by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. P-104 was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on March 23 on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Protecting mountain lions is a continuing priority of several Inland Empire transportation agencies because they face many threats due to habitat loss and vehicle collisions throughout the IE and Southern California. More than half of California is mountain lion habitat.
  • ✔ Caltrans to begin next phase of Hwy 46 widening project (KSBY). Caltrans is about to begin a project that will double lanes along Highway 46 in northern San Luis Obispo County. A groundbreaking ceremony is set for this Friday. The project will widen Highway 46 East from Shandon to Cholame. “What we’re doing is we’re taking a five-mile stretch starting east of the Shandon rest area to east of the Jack Ranch Café,” said Heidi Crawford, Public Information Officer for Caltrans District 5. Construction on this phase is expected to wrap up sometime in 2024.
  • $$✔ City of Napa Highway 29 undercrossing planned among other infrastructure projects for next fiscal year (Napa Valley Register). City of Napa infrastructure projects, ranging from emergency storm drain fixes to park playground retrofits, are moving forward with a mix of both city funding and outside government cash. For example, the city is planning to at least partially fund 64 projects in the 2022-2023 fiscal year at a cost of roughly $41.5 million from 17 different sources, according to an update at a Napa City Council meeting last week on the Capital Improvement Program. But only about $1.3 million of that proposal is projected to come from the city’s general fund, which the City Council will be allocating in the upcoming 2022-2023 budgeting process. That allocation was generally higher before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and the city cut costs, said Public Works Director Julie Lucido at the meeting.
  • ✔ America’s First Freeway (The Royal Tour). When it comes to history, Los Angeles isn’t really a place people think of. Sure, there’s a legacy of filmmaking, and some remnants of Spanish and Mexican rule, but little here is iconic when it comes to historic sites. However, there is one “gift” that Los Angeles gave the country – and the world: the freeway. Highways have been around since Roman times, connecting distant cities together. However, while early 20th century highways were wider (perhaps two lanes per side) and more direct, they featured cross-traffic, roadside businesses, and traffic lights when going through populated areas. Think of the iconic Route 66 as an example, connecting Chicago to Los Angeles via all sorts of small towns, where the highway and Main Street were the same thing.
  • ✔ New Caltrans project for State Routes 88, 89 and 4 to add cameras, electronic signs, and more (South Tahoe Now). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to install traffic management systems and roadside safety improvements in and around the Kirkwood and Carson  Pass area, with one in Meyers and 12 other locations in Amador, El Dorado, and Alpine counties on State Routes 88, 89, and 4. The project is called Carson Transportation Management Systems. The scope of work includes changeable message signs, streetlights, video detection systems, closed-circuit television systems, road weather information systems, highway advisory radios, extinguishable message signs, and maintenance vehicle pullouts. The purpose of the project is to improve roadway mobility and efficiency by addressing the effects of recurring severe weather conditions on traffic through the strategic deployment of various transportation management systems on State Routes 88, 89, and 4.
  • 🚫 ✔ Highway 58: Climbing the hill likely to get worse before it gets better (Tehachapi News). Jon Hammond, chronicler of all things Tehachapi, tells us that the first road built to bring travelers up Tehachapi Canyon was Woodford-Tehachapi Road. More than 160 years later, most of that original road is still in use — although the dirt path through the mountains from Keene (location of Woodford Depot) has been improved over the years. William Hood of the Southern Pacific engineered the railroad through Tehachapi Pass more than a decade after horse and oxen-drawn wagons were making their way up that dusty trail. He routed the railroad to the north of the road. His efforts, including designing the world-famous Tehachapi Loop, aided the state’s economic development by allowing trains to run between central and southern California.
  • ✔ Construction begins on Highway 46 East widening project (Paso Robles Daily News). Construction has begun on widening Hwy. 46 East from the Shandon Roadside Rest Area to west of the Jack Ranch Café in Cholame. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for this project that will convert a two-lane divided highway into a four-lane expressway. “It was a great milestone to share this day with our partners as we widen another five-mile segment of this important east-west corridor. This project moves us closer to our goal of creating a four-lane divided highway from San Luis Obispo County to the San Joaquin Valley,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins.
  • ✔ Alternate Route: State Route 118 Offramp Closes Thursday For Months (Northridge, CA Patch). The Reseda Boulevard offramp to the westbound state Route 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) will close to traffic at 9 p.m. on Thursday. The offramp could be closed for six months, according to the California Department of Transportation. Motorists are advised to use the Balboa Boulevard or Tampa Avenue offramps as alternatives.
  • ✔ NEWS RELEASE: $3 Million Grant Awarded to Study Pacheco Pass Wildlife Overcrossing Near Future High-Speed Rail Line (California High Speed Rail). The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) and the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency, along with partners from Caltrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Pathways for Wildlife, are applauding the award of a $3.125 million grant to continue efforts to protect wildlife movement in Northern California. The California Wildlife Conservation Board grant will fund the planning, design, environmental review and permitting of a proposed wildlife overcrossing spanning State Route 152, near the San Jose to Merced high-speed rail project section. “This grant aligns with the Authority’s planning efforts to increase wildlife connectivity in the San Jose to Merced project section,” said Northern California Regional Director Boris Lipkin. “The award reflects the wide range of support and collaboration we’ve had with key partners focused on protecting sensitive habitats, preserving wildlife movement, and enhancing the natural environment in the project area.”
  • ✔ Major roadwork has begun on State Route 20 in Colusa County (Colusa Sun Herald). Work has begun on a 1.7-mile stretch of State Highway 20 east of the Colusa County Airport in Colusa. According to a release issued by Caltans, crews began clearing vegetation along the highway between Niagara Avenue and Steidlmayer Road Thursday and Friday as part of a $9.1 million project that will widen shoulders to eight feet, repave the roadway and improve drainage systems. “During early May, crews are scheduled to place temporary concrete barriers, or K-rail, on one side of the roadway, which will reduce the width of the eastbound and westbound traffic lanes to 11-feet wide to accommodate major construction activity,” read the release .
  • ✔ A cougar crossing rises over a deadly L.A. freeway (Los Angeles Times). Chalk one up for the cougars. When conservationists first announced plans to raise $30 million for a wildlife crossing over a deadly 10-lane stretch of the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, critics snickered and said “good luck.” Now, 10 years later, the dream of building a bridge that would help mountain lions escape an “extinction vortex” by providing them safe passage to food and mates is becoming a reality. On Friday, Earth Day, hundreds of conservationists and legislators gathered with joy and a sense of triumph on a weedy hill overlooking the Liberty Canyon Road exit to break ground on the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing.
  • ✔ Local Scene: Student honors; artists sought for Highway 25 (SanBenito.com). The San Benito County Arts Council seeks California-based artists or artist teams to submit their qualifications to create and install an outdoor sculpture at the corner of Santa Ana Road and Highway 25 in Hollister. The project is part of a State Highway Beautification Project, sponsored by the California Department of Transportation and the Clean California Program. Launched by Gov. Gavin Newsom as part of his California Comeback Plan, Clean California is investing $1.1 billion for state and local governments to clean up trash and debris statewide, and beautify community gateways and public areas along highways, streets and roads.
  • ✔ Groundbreaking held for $87M wildlife crossing in Agoura Hills (MSN). After years of planning, crews finally broke ground Friday morning on an $87 million wildlife crossing in Agoura Hills designed to give mountain lions and other animals safe passage in and out of the Santa Monica Mountains in an effort save them from extinction. It’s no coincidence that the groundbreaking for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is taking place on Earth Day. When complete, it will be the largest such corridor in the world. The crossing will span all ten lanes of the 101 freeway at Liberty Canyon Road. It will be 165-foot-wide and sit 10 feet above the freeway. It will connect the Santa Monica Mountains with the Simi Hills. The crossing will be camouflaged by trees and shrubs and include sound barriers.
  • ✔ San Bernardino County: Portion of Highway 18 in Crestline closed indefinitely due to road damage (ABC7 Los Angeles). Part of Highway 18 in Crestline is closed indefinitely due to damage possibly caused by Thursday night’s heavy rain and snow. The closure is affecting both lanes near Red Rock Wall between Lake Gregory Drive and Pine Avenue in the San Bernardino Mountains. It’s expected to take several weeks to repair.
  • ✔ I-110 Flyover (Los Angeles Conservancy). UPDATE: Metro released a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for a new project at this site in October 2021 and we expect the Draft EIR to be released in 2022. The new I-110 Adams Terminus Improvement Project involves two proposed alternatives. The first, a flyover following the same route as previously proposed in 2010 and a second that moves along surface streets and connects with the I-10 freeway. At this time, few details about the proposed project have been released to the public.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • California State Route 47 and the Vincent Thomas Bridge (GN). California State Route 47 is a short 3.31-mile State Highway located in the Los Angeles Area. California State Route 47 begins at Interstate 110/Harbor Freeway and follows the Vincent Thomas Bridge east over Los Angeles Harbor to Terminal Island. California State Route 47 follows Seaside Avenue east into the city limits of Long Beach to the Terminal Island Freeway. California State Route 47 follows the Terminal Island Freeway north back into the city of Los Angeles where it terminates at the Henry Ford Avenue exit. From the Terminal Island Freeway California State Route 47 has an unbuilt segment to Interstate 10 in downtown Los Angeles.
  • California State Route 19 and unsigned California State Route 164 (GN). California State Route 19 is a Sign State Highway located in the Los Angeles which is sporadically signed between California State Route 1 at Los Alamitos Traffic Circle in Long Beach north to Interstate 210 near Pasadena. Traditionally California State Route 19 followed Lakewood Boulevard and Rosemead Boulevard in the Long Beach-Pasadena corridor. Presently much of California State Route 19 has been relinquished from State Maintenance but remains signed in places. The current Legislative Definition of California State Route 19 is from the northern city limit of Lakewood north to Gardendale Street/Forest Street along the boundary of Bellflower/Downey. California State Route 19 is also partially signed over what is designated as California State Route 164. California State Route 164 is legislatively defined as Rosemead Boulevard near Pico Rivera north to South El Monte in the vicinity of Rush Street.
  • Patterns in the original 1934 California Sign State Route grid (GN). In the August 1934 California Highways & Public Works the Division of Highways announced the initial Sign State Route program. The Sign State Route program was intended to supplement the early US Route System in California by way of signing major highways with miner spade shaped highway shields. The original Sign State Route network contained numerous grouping patterns which largely have been lost as the system has expanded. This blog will examine the grouping patterns of the Sign State Route program as originally envisioned. Featured as the blog cover photo is the prototype Sign State Route shield seen in the August 1934 California Highways & Public Works.
  • Former US Route 99-70 in Calimesa (GN). Calimesa is a city located in Riverside County near the outskirts of San Gorgonio Pass. When the US Route System was created during November 1926 only US Route 99 was aligned through the community via what is now Calimesa Boulevard along with parts Copper Drive and Roberts Road. US Route 99 was joined through Calimesa by US Route 70 in 1935. US Route 99-70 would move to a new expressway alignment during 1951 onto a grade which would eventually become Interstate 10. Featured as the cover of this blog is former US Route 99-70 in Calimesa on Roberts Road. Below what was the original alignment of US Route 99-70 through Calimesa can be seen between Redlands of San Bernardino County and Beaumont on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Riverside.
  • California State Route 78 (GN). California State Route 78 is a 194-mile east/west State Highway located in southern California. California State Route 78 begins at Interstate 5 in Oceanside of San Diego County and terminates at Interstate 10 near Blythe of Riverside County. California State Route 78 between Interstate 5 and Interstate 15 is aligned on the Ronald Packard Parkway over the corridor traditionally known as the Anza Freeway. California State Route 78 east of Interstate 15 climbs over mountain grades into the Sonoran Desert where it become a largely rural highway. The blog cover photo above is California State Route 78 on Vista Avenue between Oceanside and Vista as seen in the 1955 California Highways & Public Works.
  • Former US Route 99-70 in Calimesa (GN). Calimesa is a city located in Riverside County near the outskirts of San Gorgonio Pass. When the US Route System was created during November 1926 only US Route 99 was aligned through the community via what is now Calimesa Boulevard along with parts Copper Drive and Roberts Road. US Route 99 was joined through Calimesa by US Route 70 in 1935. US Route 99-70 would move to a new expressway alignment during 1951 onto a grade which would eventually become Interstate 10. Featured as the cover of this blog is former US Route 99-70 in Calimesa on Roberts Road. Below what was the original alignment of US Route 99-70 through Calimesa can be seen between Redlands of San Bernardino County and Beaumont on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Riverside.
  • The original California State Route 26 in Orange County (GN). The original run of Sign State Highways were announced in the August 1934 California Highways & Public Works. One of the initial Sign State Routes was California State Route 26 which was located in Orange County. The original California State Route 26 followed Legislative Route Number 183 from Seal Beach to Santa Ana via Bolsa Avenue and 1st Street. The original California State Route 26 was short lived and it would be eliminated as part of the shuffling of Sign State Route designations due to the extension of US Route 6 California. Pictured above is the 1937 Gousha Map of California which features the original California State Route 26 on Bolsa Avenue and 1st Street.
  • Ridge Route Updates (FB) (FB). We made some additions to our existing blog on the corridor of the Ridge Route. With this latest update additional Old Ridge Route 39 photos above Grapevine Village have been added. Additionally new scans from the California Highways & Public Works featuring the transition from US Route 99 to Interstate 5 in the Ridge Route corridor have been added as well. Some of the existing historic content has been streamlined to better illustrate the emergence “The Grapevine” naming convention in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Former US Routes 99-60-70 in San Gorgonio Pass (Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon) (GN). San Gorgonio Pass is located in Riverside County, California in the divide between the San Bernardino Mountains and San Jacinto Mountains. San Gorgonio Pass is home to several communities which were part of US Routes 99, 60 and 70. This blog will explore the alignment history of US Routes 99-60-70 within the communities of Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon. Pictured above as the blog cover is US Routes 99-60-70 facing west on Ramsey Street in downtown Banning during 1952.
  • California State Route 66 (GN). California State Route 66 is a segmented former portion of US Route 66 located in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. Presently California State Route 66 exists in two segments which are largely aligned on Foothill Boulevard. The first segment of California State Route 66 exists on Foothill Boulevard between California State Route 210 near San Dimas east to the eastern city limit of Pomona. The second segment California State Route 66 exists from the eastern city limit of Rialto via Foothill Boulevard and 5th Street to Interstate 215 in San Bernardino. Despite the much of California State Route 66 being relinquished it does remain signed in places such as the photo above in Upland at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard Euclid Avenue. The below map provided courtesy of cahighways.org depicts the current routing of California State Route 66.
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