🛣 Headlines About California Highways – June 2022

We’re now half way through 2022, and boy what a year it has been so far for almost anything but the highway. Highway news, if I perceive things right, has been lighter this year. You can see for yourself: just jump down to the headlines after my introductory prather.

As I said: It’s been a year so far. The news about COVID has been pushed to the background, but the disease is still around creating havoc. More folks I know are getting the disease; luckily being double-vaxed double-boosted is making it less severe. We’ve had the findings of the Jan 6 commission, which are gobsmacking, to say the least. We’ve had the decisions of the Supreme Court, which are equally gobsmacking. As Pete Seeger sang, “There is mean things happening in this land…”

But closer to home, it’s also been a year. I’ve got a cholesteatoma in my ear, meaning it is constantly stuffed and distracting (surgery looks to be early August). My wife is still dealing with being in a wheelchair after her fall last November; progress is slow. Weekends have been busy with theatre, and Tom has been busy with other stuff, so we haven’t had the chance to record more podcast episodes yet. We’re still looking for music for the show, and we’re also looking for experts for brief interviews related to episode topics.

So June has been a whirlwind. July may not be much better, with theatre every weekend and a week’s vacation.

But you don’t care about any of that, do you. You care about the headlines. So here are the headlines about California’s highways for June. The headline list seems to be getting smaller–I’m finding less articles about significant road work (I’m not that interested in simple resurfacing), and more articles about transit and rail. I think that’s the direction things are going currently: increase the number of people per vehicle on current roads (as opposed to capacity for more vehicles), and increase broader transit options. But here’s what I found:


[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

  • Routes 25 and 156 Roundabout (FB). Construction begins May 31 on Highway 25/156 roundabout. Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of State Routes 25 and 156 will begin May 31—immediately following the Memorial Day holiday, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
  • $2.3B Union Station makeover takes another step forward (Urbanize LA). In a vote taken last week, the Metro Board of Directors approved a funding agreement with California High Speed Rail Authority for the initial phase of Union Station’s $2.3-billion makeover and expansion. The project, called Link Union Station, expands upon a longtime plan to construct run-through tracks at the southern end of the passenger rail hub, allowing trains to cross over the US-101 freeway. This would eliminate Union Station’s historic stub-end layout, which forces all trains to enter and exit through the five-track throat to the north of the station platforms.
  • You may commute over one of these structurally deficient bridges in California (KTLA). A recent inventory by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association took a look at structurally deficient bridges in California. Bad news is … there are a lot. The ARTBA, a trade group that represents road construction workers, said in its 2022 report that 5.8% of California’s bridges can be categorized as “structurally deficient.” That’s 1,493 bridges according to the group. And these aren’t bridges along dusty roads or in rural parts of the state. Many of the structurally deficient bridges get hundreds of thousands of crossing every day, according to the ARTBA.
  • Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway (FB). It was my honor to recognize the historic achievements, and Valley roots, of Dr. Sally Ride at today’s Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel dedication of a portion of the 101 as the “Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway”.
  • The ghosts of L.A.’s unbuilt freeways (Los Angeles Times). Maybe you can hear them whispering, as your tires hiss along freeway concrete: the almost-weres, the might-have-beens, the freeway ghosts of Los Angeles, the thoroughfares dreamed up, planned for, but never built. There are more — oh, so many more — than you might have wished or feared, even in the cloverleaf heart of Freeway L.A. The Whitnall Freeway, the Industrial Freeway, the Temescal Freeway, the Laurel and Topanga and Malibu Canyon freeways, the Sierra Freeway, and the legendary Beverly Hills Freeway, discarded like an unproduced screenplay when such stars as Lucille Ball and Rosalind Russell gave it a big N-O.
  • Caltrans gets $35 million to add bike lanes, replace traffic lights along PCH stretch (Orange County Register). From replacing traffic signals to constructing new bike lanes meant to keep cyclists safe, a handful of transportation upgrades are planned along Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach to the Orange-Los Angeles county line. Nearly $40 million was recently announced for the improvements. The Caltrans district in Orange County is expected to begin work starting next year on the projects that will span more than 20 miles of the scenic highway.

  • Napa County still an option for Highway 37 route (Napa Valley Register). Relocating Highway 37 to Napa County to spare the roadway from predicted sea level rise remains an option, though how viable a one has yet to be determined. Highway 37 stretches for 21 miles through Solano, Sonoma and Marin counties to link Vallejo and Novato. A University of California, Davis report concluded much of the road could be underwater by 2088. Last week, the State Route 37 Policy Committee heard the latest set of options for a potential, major project that is only in the planning stages, with no construction dates yet being mentioned. Making it a reality would require billions of dollars.
  • The Bay Bridge opens in 1936, and a city’s good people lose their minds (SF Chronicle). Photo gallery on the opening of the Bay Bridge.
  • Highway 99 rehabilitation project nears completion in Bakersfield (KERO ABC 23) If you’ve driven Highway 99 recently you probably noticed traffic is flowing a bit more freely. That’s because after years of ongoing construction the Bakersfield 99 rehab project is finally nearing completion. Highway 99 has been fully reopened in both directions from Oildale to east Bakersfield and while there’s still some small work to be done it should no longer affect drivers’ daily commute.
  • Highway 101/25 interchange plans progress (Gilroy Dispatch) The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved a document June 2 that completes another step in the years-long process to construct a new overcrossing at the chronically congested Highway 101/25 interchange. The board unanimously approved the addendum to an environmental report for a Highway 101 widening project that was previously OK’d in 2013. The addendum focuses on the first phase of the Highway 101/25 interchange, and determined that mitigation measures in place for the project would not add any new or significant environmental effects. Located just south of Gilroy city limits, the current interchange, built in 1988, was originally meant to be a temporary way to prevent drivers from turning left on Highway 101 to Highway 25, Project Manager Karsten Adam said during a 2021 meeting on the project. However, the interchange has proven inadequate as the population has grown over the decades, and traffic on southbound Highway 101 backs up past Monterey Street during daily commute hours, as drivers attempting to navigate onto Highway 25 into San Benito County line up on the freeway’s shoulder.
  • New Sixth Street Viaduct to open on July 9 (Urbanize LA). Your eyes do not deceive you: after six years, construction is set to come to a close next month for the new Sixth Street Viaduct. The $588-million structure, which spans 3,500 feet across the L.A. River between Boyle Heights and the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, will open to the public in a two-day celebration on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10, 14th District Councilmember Kevin de Leon announced this week.
  • Technical report: Golden Gate Freeway, Interstate Highway Route 480 : California. Division of Highways (Internet Archive) Preliminary findings on Interstate Highway Route 480.
  • BROADWAY POP-UPS! Caltrans is Gonna Test Some Stuff to Maybe Improve the Hellscape That is Eureka’s Southern Gateway, and There’ll be a Virtual Meeting About it Next Week if You Want to Check That Out (Lost Coast Outpost) What on Earth are Broadway Popups, you ask? They’re stuff like temporary bike lanes and bulb-outs that Caltrans is gonna lay down on Broadway soon in order to test how they work, and whether or not to make them permanent. Like a restaurant pop-up, but for transportation infrastructure! Descriptions below, but here’s a press release from Caltrans about the public meeting they’ll be having next week.
  • Highway 116 repairs to delay west Sonoma County traffic (Press Democrat) A 6.5-mile stretch of Highway 116 will undergo roadwork that may cause several days of traffic delays between Guerneville and Forestville beginning Monday. The patch-paving project focuses on deteriorated pavement on the curvy stretch between River Road in Guerneville and Martinelli Road in Forestville, according to Caltrans. According to the traffic agency, road crews will dig out and repave pavement that is worn out. They’ll be working 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday.
  • Napa County’s $54 million Soscol Junction interchange has groundbreaking | Local News | napavalleyregister.com (xxx) Dignitaries with golden shovels scooped up small amounts of dirt to kick off the $54 million Soscol Junction construction project at the entrance to Napa Valley. That’s only a tiny preview of what’s to come. Plenty of dirt will be flying over the next couple of years as workers transform the area where Highway 29, Highway 221 and Soscol Ferry Road converge. They’ll turn a signalized intersection into an interchange. A free-flowing Highway 29 will go above the other roads on an overpass. Traffic getting on and off the highway will be controlled by roundabouts.
  • Pit River Bridge, a major West Coast freight artery on I-5 in California, may be replaced (MSN) California highway officials are making plans to either repair or replace the Pit River Bridge over Lake Shasta, considered one of the most important bridges on the West Coast. Caltrans has drawn up three designs of a bridge to replace the Interstate 5 highway portion of the Pit River Bridge over Lake Shasta. The 81-year-old bridge, which carries an average 19,400 vehicles a day, is a major freight hauling route not only for trucking on Interstate 5, but also for rail transportation, according to Caltrans. “The vast majority of all the goods and freight moved on the West Coast, go across that bridge,” said Dale Widner, who is managing the plans to replace the bridge. About 36% of the vehicle traffic on the bridge is big rigs hauling freight, more than twice the average truck traffic for similar bridges, Widner said. Freight traffic on typical highway bridges is 10% to 15% of total volume, he said.
  • L.A.’s Sixth Street Bridge Is Finally Opening After Years Of Construction (Secret Los Angeles) After shutting down in 2016 and going through six years of re-construction, the Sixth St. Bridge is now set to open this July. Finally, Angelenos will be able to drive from Boyle Heights to the Arts district instantly, and vice-versa. “We are thrilled to reopen the newly built Sixth Street Viaduct and usher in a new era for Los Angeles,” said Council-member Kevin de León in a recent news release. “Once again, this bridge will take its place as one of Los Angeles’ most iconic landmarks connecting the Arts District and Boyle Heights. This celebration will be a tribute to the years of dedicated work that went into creating one of the most inspiring public works projects in our City’s history.”
  • Ħ US 395 Near Bonsall (FB: ) This was shared over on the Southern California Nostalgia group. The map is from 1938. The original poster was more interested in the name for TIjuana, but what caught my eye was the route of 395. (Access May Be Restricted)
  • Survey: Caltrans seeks input on future of US 101 through Marin and Sonoma (The Bay Link Blog) Caltrans is updating its US 101 North Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan and is seeking input from the community via an online survey. The long-range plan responds to growing transportation system needs along the corridor in Marin and Sonoma counties. The plan identifies challenges such as congestion and climate change, while evaluating equitable opportunities for bicycle, pedestrian, transit, freight, and rail improvements to support multimodal accessibility
  • No-Freeway-Expansion Bill Dies in Senate Committee (Streetsblog California) Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s (D-Bell Gardens) bill that would have prohibited California state agencies from investing time and money into freeway expansions in low-income communities that are hard-hit by pollution and displacement, A.B. 1778, died in the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday.
  • Feds Launch $1B Initiative to Rework Infrastructure That Cut Apart Cities (Route Fifty) Localities applying for federal money to reconnect neighborhoods carved apart by highways, rail lines or other infrastructure will get an edge if they consult with long-time residents, businesses and community groups, the Biden administration announced Thursday. The details come as the administration formally opened the grant process for the Reconnecting Communities pilot program, a part of the federal infrastructure law Congress passed last year. Congress set aside $1 billion over the next five years for the effort. That’s a far cry from the $20 billion the president originally wanted for the program, but it remains a symbol of Biden’s stated vision of building infrastructure that benefits underserved communities.
  • Notice of Availability: Draft 2022 RTP/SCS, Draft Program EIR (SJCOG) Notice is hereby given that the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) has released the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) document for a 45‐day public review/comment period. Project Description: The 2022 RTP/SCS is the region’s long range transportation plan through 2046 for the San Joaquin County metropolitan region. The proposed 2022 RTP/SCS is an update to the current 2018 RTP/SCS that was adopted in June 2018. The proposed 2022 RTP/SCS reflects changes in legislative requirements, local land use policies, and resource constraints that have occurred since adoption of the current 2018 RTP/SCS. The 2022 update to the 2018 RTP/SCS is focused on continued implementation of the 2018 RTP/SCS, with updates to ensure consistency with federal, State, and local planning requirements. The 2022 RTP/SCS is the long‐term coordinated transportation/land use strategy and provides a framework for transportation investment out to the year 2046.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Wards Ferry Road (GN) Wards Ferry Road is an approximately sixteen mile long north/south roadway in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Tuolumne County. Wards Ferry Road is one of the oldest road corridors in Tuolumne County having been set up as a ferry crossing by Joesph Ward during 1850. Wards Ferry Road was once the primary connecting highway between the communities of Big Oak Flat and Sonora. Wards Ferry Road is most well-known from it’s largely one-lane wide alignment through Murderer’s Gulch where it crosses the Tuolumne River via heavily graffitied 1971 Wards Ferry Bridge. Pictured as the blog cover is the 1897 Wards Ferry Bridge as it was during 1951. The 1897 Wards Ferry Bridge was built upon the anchoring piles of the original 1879 Wards Ferry Bridge which had burned during 1891.
  • The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Dos Palos (GN) Dos Palos is a city located in Merced County on California State Route 33. Modern California State Route 33 passes through Dos Palos on a northward course via Elgin Avenue towards the California State Route 152 at Dos Palos Y. Originally California State Route 33 entered Dos Palos via Brannon Avenue and Valeria Avenue from the Fresno County Line. California State Route 33 passed through downtown Dos Palos via Center Avenue and Blossom Street towards Elgin Avenue. North of Dos Palos at Dos Palos Y the routing California State Route 33 joined California State Route 152 via what is now Azusa Avenue. Below the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Dos Palos can be observed on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Merced County.
  • California State Route 90 (GN) California State Route 90 is a discontinuous State Highway in the Los Angeles metro area which has a planned length of 41 miles. The western segment of California State Route 90 begins at California State Route 1 near Marina Del Rey and ends at Interstate 405 in Culver City. The western segment of California State Route 90 is 2.36 miles in length and is partially aligned on the Marina Freeway. The eastern segment of California State Route 90 consists of 12.33 miles of State Maintained roadway. Within the city of Yorba Linda California State Route 90 is locally maintained as the now relinquished Richard Nixon Parkway.
  • California State Route 330 and City Creek Road (GN) California State Route 330 is an approximately fifteen-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernadino County. California State Route 330 begins at California State Route 210 near Highland and ascends into the San Bernadino Mountains via City Creek Road to California State Route 18 at Running Springs. City Creek Road was first developed in 1891 as a tolled facility and became a public highway in 1903. City Creek Road was brought into the State Highway System as Legislative Route Number 207 in 1937. The modernization of City Creek Road came after World War II as it was gradually improved via five project zones. The blog cover photo of City Creek Road was taken in 1951 after the final modernization project had concluded. City Creek Road was subsequently assigned as a component of California State Route 30 during 1953. City Creek Road was reassigned as California State Route 330 during 1972 when California State Route 30 was realigned to Redlands.
  • California State Route 83 (GN) California State Route 83 is a 11.1-mile State Highway located entirely in San Bernardino County.  California State Route 83 is presently defined as beginning at California State Route 71 and ending to the north at Interstate 10 in Upland.  California State Route 83 is signed on Euclid Avenue through its entire routing.  Pictured above as the blog cover is signage of California State Route 83 from eastbound Foothill Boulevard along former US Route 66 in Upland on a segment of the highway which was relinquished in 2006.
  • Former US Route 101 on Grant Street in Chualar (GN) Chualar is small community located in Salinas Valley of Monterey County, California.  Modern US Route 101 is aligned through Chualar via a freeway bypass in what was once a Southern Pacific Railroad switching yard.  The original alignment of US Route 101 in Chualar was aligned directly through the community on Grant Street.  Above the cover photo of this blog features a view on the Chualar Freeway of US Route 101 shortly after it was completed during 1958.  Below Chualar can be seen along US Route 101 on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Monterey County.
  • Roberts Ferry Covered Bridge (GN) Roberts Ferry Covered Bridge is a span which crosses the Tuolumne River via Roberts Ferry Road south of California State Route 132 in Stanislaus County.  Roberts Ferry Covered Bridge was dedicated during February 2000 as replacement span for an earlier truss span which was damaged by floods on the Tuolumne River in 1997.  Despite the modern design of the Roberts Ferry Covered Bridge the site of Robert’s Ferry was once part of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road which served as the primary highway through San Joaquin Valley during the California Gold Rush.
  • Former US Route 99 through Athlone and the last Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor expressway (GN) Athlone was a siding of the Southern Pacific Railroad located in Merced County on the alignment of what was US Route 99 between the cities of Chowchilla and Merced.  The Athlone corridor of US Route 99 was one of the first in San Joaquin Valley to fully upgraded to four lane expressway standards.  The Athlone expressway corridor was inherited by California State Route 99 when US Route 99 was truncated to Ashland, Oregon during June 1965.  The four-lane expressway through Athlone was the last segment of what had been US Route 99 in the Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor to be bypassed by a freeway.  The Athlone expressway corridor was bypassed by the modern California State Route 99 freeway in 2016.  Despite being put on a road diet and narrowed what was the Athlone expressway corridor still displays evidence of being part of US Route 99.
  • Hidden California State Route 710 and the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway (GN) Infamous and the subject of much controversy the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway has long existed as a contentious topic regarding the completion of Interstate 710 and California State Route 710.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway effectively has been legislatively blocked the action only came after decades of controversy.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway is fairly well known what many don’t know is that a small segment was actually constructed south Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway.  This disconnected segment of the Long Beach Freeway exists as the unsigned and largely hidden California State Route 710.  On June 29, 2022 the California Transportation Commission relinquished California State Route 710 to the city of Pasadena.  The blog cover above depicts a southward view on the completed Pasadena stub segment of the Long Beach Freeway which ends at California Boulevard.

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