🛣 Headlines About California Highways – July 2022

Sorry for the delay in getting the July headlines up. I’ve been trying to get a set up updates to California Highways done, and had to finish working through the California Transportation Commission minutes before I could start on the headlines. I’ve also been trying to get the podcast going — more on that in a minute. So now I can turn my attention to the headlines from July.

But first, the California Highways Route by Route podcast. We have our first regular episode up, but still needs some more listens to catch up with the full sample episode. Anchor shows 51 listens to the sample (0.02), and 39 to the first episode (1.01). Please do your part. Subscribe in your favorite podcatcher, add our RSS feed, or listen through one of the Anchor feeds. The second episode is recorded and awaiting editing, and we’re planning on recording more soon. Subscribe now so you don’t miss a single episode.

We’re also plotting out the year. We need some good interview subjects, or leads for interviews. If you can help us find people to talk to, that would be great. Just let me know (comment here, or email daniel -at caroutebyroute -dot org. Here’s the list for the rest of the first season in terms of what I’m wanting in regard to interviews:

  • 1.03: An expert on the role of the Auto Club in signing highways
  • 1.04: Someone to talk on the 1956 Interstate Highway Bill
  • 1.05: Someone to talk on the construction boom of the 1960s and/or the impact of the great renumbering.
  • 1.06: Someone to talk on the impact of the California EPA act on highway construction
  • 1.07: Someone to talk on how the state numbers state highways — in particular, anything official on numbering patterns, or the rules for signing things.
  • 1.08: Here I’d like someone to talk on the role of AASHTO on numbering US highways
  • 1.09: This is Interstate numbering, so again an expert on Interstates — either numbering, the federal aid highway acts, or the chargeable/non-chargeable distinction
  • 1.10: This is numbering of county highways, so anyone from a county public works department on the signed route system
  • 1.11: A state legislator on highway naming resolutions
  • 1.12: Someone from the California Transportation Commission on the role of the commission.

We’re also looking for a better theme song, so if you know of someone willing to write some short pieces for the show that we can use for free, that would be great.

During July, I explored some of the desert highways: Route 62, Route 74, Route 111, Route 86. Where have you been exploring?

But you care about the headlines. So here are the headlines about California’s highways for July. 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:

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

  • Freeway marker honors late Fil-Am leader Alice Bulos (Inquirer.Net). Elizabeth Bulos Ramilo was driving to work on the morning of June 27 when a road sign grabbed her attention: ALICE PEÑA BULOS MEMORIAL FREEWAY. Ramilo had long known of state and local officials‘ efforts to honor her mother in perpetuity, but she was unaware the sign already had been installed on Skyline Boulevard. The South San Francisco resident said she was elated near tears to see the memorialization fulfilled.
  • California allocates more than $3 billion for transportation infrastructure (Orange County Breeze). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated more than $3 billion to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state, including $1.3 billion in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support local projects and to protect local roads and bridges from extreme weather and natural disasters. Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for more than $930 million of the total funding. “The CTC’s decision to invest in our state highways while protecting city and county infrastructure will help make California’s roadways safer and more resilient one shovel, one project and one community at a time,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. Projects approved in District 12 include:
  • Caltrans to stabilize eroded Highway 17 slope near Scotts Valley (East Bay Times). Millions in state transportation funds have been allocated to stabilize a slope on Highway 17 near Scotts Valley that eroded during a series of heavy rainstorms more than five years ago. The California Transportation Commission, as part of a $3 billion infrastructure package, has committed $4.4 million to the project located half a mile south of Sugarloaf Road near Scotts Valley. Caltrans has been the lead agency in designing repairs and after the project is put out to bid, it will administer construction which is planned to begin in December, according to Caltrans Spokesperson Kevin Drabinski.
  • Richards Boulevard / I-80 Interchange Improvements (City of Davis). This project will improve traffic operations and multimodal safety at the interchange by reconfiguring the ramps and adding a grade separated shared-use path. This project has existed in concept for many years, and has been working in parallel with the Caltrans Managed Lanes Project. The project will reconfigure the existing west bound I-80 on ramp, and off ramps to a “tight diamond” interchange, and construct a grade separated multi use path to cross the Richards Boulevard overpass. There will also be intersection improvements at Richards Boulevard, and Olive Drive, Eastbound I-80, and Research Park Drive. Once the “tight diamond” interchange improvements are complete, the project will permanently close the Westbound I-80 off ramp to Olive Drive.
  • Here comes Soscol Junction, Napa County’s biggest road project in years (Napa Valley Register). Drivers, prepare for the Soscol Junction Experience. This isn’t an amusement park ride. It’s Napa County’s largest road project in years, one that will turn a major, traffic-clogged intersection into a $54 million interchange, with construction to begin the week of July 18. Soscol Junction is where Highway 29, Highway 221 and Soscol Ferry Road converge near the Butler Bridge and Grapecrusher statue. It’s an entrance to Napa Valley’s world-famous wine country and a nerve center of the regional road system. It’s also a place where drivers might curse a congestion-creating traffic signal. The Soscol Junction project is designed to remove that signal and cut rush-hour delays there from several minutes to a matter of seconds. Drivers over the next few years will see dump trucks and bulldozers reshape the landscape. They’ll see Highway 29 elevated and made free-flowing. They’ll see two roundabouts created underneath to regulate Highway 221 and Soscol Ferry Road traffic.
  • Marin highway flooding projects get $30M from state (Marin I-J). As sea-level rise and flooding threaten to cut off Marin City from emergency services and block one of the busiest North Bay highways, the state Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom have allocated $30 million in the state budget to begin planning for defenses. The budget adopted on Tuesday provides $20 million to begin designing flood protections on Highway 37 and the Novato Creek Bridge. Another $10 million is for planning defenses for recurring flooding on Highway 101 that blocks the only road in and out of Marin City. “Living here in Marin we already know what our future looks like with the climate crisis,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, who sits on the Senate transportation and budget committees. “Marin County is home to some of the most vulnerable highway corridors in the state.” Highway 37, the 21-mile link between Interstate 80 and Highway 101 near Novato, is used daily by nearly 50,000 commuters, many of them making their way to jobs in the North Bay.

  • Mobility hub set for San Mateo’s 92/101 interchange (San Mateo Daily Journal). San Mateo and local county transportation agencies want to make congestion improvement near the Highway 101 and State Route 92 interchange, with a mobility hub and smart corridor under planning consideration to ease traffic. The Highway 101 and State Route 92 Interchange Project is a joint proposal involving the city, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, SamTrans and the City/County Association of Governments. The Caltrans park and ride lot under the Highway 101 and State Route 92 interchange would serve as a mobility hub to help SamTrans express services to San Francisco. A mobility hub offers public transit and bike and car share options near high-capacity transit, with the ability to transfer from one type of transit to another. It would have new bus stops, improved pedestrian crossings, sheltered wait areas, real-time transit displays, interactive information kiosks, electric vehicle chargers, bicycle lockers, charging areas and parking management. Agencies are creating these areas to reduce greenhouse gases and increase biking and walking options for travelers.
  • Caltrans is ramping up your daily commute along I-880 with switch to adaptive metering (Local News Matters). Motorists in the East Bay can expect to see changes in their commute along Interstate 880 next month as Caltrans continues its process of adjusting metering lights for freeway on-ramps to relieve traffic in real time between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. The change to an adaptive ramp metering system will adjust the rate to reduce congestion as it happens. This month, Caltrans started working on the project in phases, beginning in San Jose and Santa Clara County with work on the northern end of I-880 between the Montague Expressway interchange and the Alameda and Santa Clara counties line.
  • Bay Area getting millions in transportation infrastructure dollars (The Bay Link Blog). The California Transportation Commission has allocated more than $3 billion 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 $930 million of the total funding. Dozens of Bay Area projects were funded in the allocations made last week:
  • Caltrans Conducts Slope Repair Project on State Route 140 Near Briceburg in Mariposa County, Thanks to SB 1 Funds (Sierra Sun Times). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will conduct a slope repair project on State Route 140 near the community of Briceburg in Mariposa County. The $4.5 million project is fully funded by Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. “This important SB 1 project will allow crews to perform proactive maintenance work that will prevent deterioration of the roadway,” said Caltrans District 10 Director Dennis T. Agar. “Rehabilitating this slope will significantly improve water drainage beneath a state highway that serves residents and businesses throughout the region and millions who visit Yosemite National Park each year.” Construction will take place along eastbound Route 140 about two miles west of Bull Creek Road and two miles south of Briceburg from July through November 2022. The project will restore the integrity of the slope beneath an existing 84-inch concrete water passage to prevent further erosion. Crews will install rock slope protection with concrete grout and a rock-filled wall with stone-base support. Other work includes upgrading guardrails to current standards.
  • Caltrans Last Chance Grade update meeting next week (KRCR-TV). Caltrans will be hosting a virtual meeting regarding an update on Last Chance Grade, a coastal stretch of U.S. 101 in Del Norte County next Tuesday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m. This area is susceptible to landslide activity, according to Caltrans. “For decades, we’ve all been working to advance a permanent fix,” said California Sen. Mike McGuire. “We need to move the highway to a more secure route. Due to a massive partnership at all levels of government, a long-term solution is closer than ever.” McGuire, Congressman Jared Huffman, Assemblymember Jim Wood, Del Norte leaders, Caltrans and others will be available for this comprehensive annual update, according to Caltrans.
  • SANDAG declares support for clearing debt to eliminate State Route 125 toll (San Diego Union-Tribune). Chula Vista’s efforts to turn State Route 125 from a toll road into a free highway received unanimous support Friday from the county’s lead transportation planning agency. Board members of the San Diego Association of Governments approved a resolution declaring support for eliminating the toll and prioritizing a plan to pay off debt the agency owes by 2027. The South Bay Expressway, which opened in 2007, is the 10-mile stretch of State Route 125 that runs from State Route 905 in Otay Mesa to State Route 54 in Spring Valley and sees about 54,000 drivers daily. Tolls range from 50 cents to $3.50.
  • Infrastructure Projects Receive $3B In Funds (Riverbank News). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has allocated more than $3 billion to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state, including $1.3 billion in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support local projects and to protect local roads and bridges from extreme weather and natural disasters. Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for more than $930 million of the total funding. “The CTC’s decision to invest in our state highways while protecting city and county infrastructure will help make California’s roadways safer and more resilient one shovel, one project and one community at a time,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. Caltrans District 10 covers Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. Projects approved this past week in District 10 include:
  • Olancha Cartago Project (Caltrans District 9). This is a D10 bulldozer. Standing almost 15 feet tall and weighing more than 171,000 pounds, it is one of the primary machines used to clear the land, alongside smaller D6 bulldozers within the Olancha-Cartago 4-Lane Project. Equipped with a 11.5 foot wide blade in front and 4-5 foot ripper shanks in the back, the D10 bulldozer is a useful tool for dislodging granite boulders from the ground and pushing them, along with soil and other loose materials, into piles. This machine is shipped to job sites in three sections and must be assembled.
  • Pacific Coast Highway improvements coming to Huntington Beach (Los Angeles Times). Huntington Beach draws about 11 million visitors each year. It only seems like they’re all at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street at any given moment. Caltrans is planning upcoming improvements on PCH in Surf City, one of several projects approved in Orange County after the California Transportation Commission allocated $700 million in May to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state. More than a third of the funding comes from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The improvements seek to make the area more bike and pedestrian friendly, while also improving overall safety. Construction is set to begin in January 2025, Caltrans District 12 Public Information Officer Raquel Ortiz said in an email.
  • Caltrans’ Plan for Making Complete Streets a Priority (Streetsblog California). Last December, Caltrans released a new Director’s Policy establishing an organization-wide priority to encourage and increase walking, bike, transit, and passenger rail modes in California, in keeping with state and departmental sustainability, climate, and resilient community goals. There were many questions raised about how that might be done, as it would be such a huge cultural shift within the department and past similar directives have had seemingly little effect. This week the department released its Complete Streets Action plan, which is basically a list of specific actions to be taken by Caltrans to encourage this shift towards equitable and safer transportation. The actions are categorized into general areas such as data collection, policies, and guidance, and includes which division or district is responsible and when the task is to be completed. This action plan focuses on tasks to be done within 2022 and 2023.
  • Demolition starts for Gerald Desmond Bridge (World Highways). Demolition started this month on the old Gerald Desmond Bridge, which served the Port of Long Beach in California for more than 50 years. During the last years of its use, it carried around 68,000 California vehicles daily but a new bridge has made it redundant. Demolition began with the operation to remove the suspended main span section on the Back Channel, requiring a 48-hour closure of the channel to all boat traffic. The 125m-long span will be dismantled, cut and lowered onto a barge. Dismantling and removal of the main spans, steel trusses, steel plate connections, columns and access ramps will take until the end of 2023. The port authority awarded a contract in July 2021 to Kiewit West to dismantle and remove the Gerald Desmond Bridge. Funding for the nearly US$60 million demolition project is included within the overall $1.57 billion budget that was allocated to design and build the replacement bridge.
  • Caltrans mulls hybrid approach to adapt Eureka-Arcata corridor to sea level rise (Times-Standard). Caltrans is continuing to evaluate its options for mitigating the effects of sea level rise on the Arcata-Eureka corridor on the way to developing an overall adaptation plan. The agency’s representatives say it’s likely to take a hybrid approach. At the California Coastal Commission meeting on Wednesday, Caltrans District 1 representatives Clancy De Smet, a senior planner focused on climate change, and Harrison Rankin, a transportation engineer, provided an update on the cost and timeline for each of four sea level rise adaptation measures — protect, accommodate, retreat or take a hybrid approach — available for the 6-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata. “The most likely strategy to be utilized is thought to be a hybrid strategy in which the corridor will be assessed through multiple segments, with some segments leaning on one sea-level rise strategy while other segments tap into a different strategy,” Rankin said. “Knowing exactly what this looks like at this time remains premature as there is almost an infinite number of alternatives that could be developed through a hybrid approach.”
  • Port Of Long Beach Began Demolition Of Gerald Desmond Bridge This Month (Long Beach Local News). The project is expected to be completed by late 2023 and will allow larger cargo ships to enter the inner harbor of the Port. The Back Channel was closed to water traffic and vessels from July 9-11 in order to remove the 410-foot suspended span from the bridge. Removal of the bridge will have no impact on vehicle traffic, as it has been closed off since its replacement bridge opened back in October 2020. Additionally, traffic on the new bridge will not be affected. The Gerald Desmond bridge is nearly 1 mile in length, and was named after a past Long Beach councilman and city attorney. He was crucial in the development of the original bridge, as he helped raise the funding for the construction.
  • San Gabriel Valley braces for a 210 Freeway ‘Carmageddon’ (Los Angeles Times). The California Department of Transportation is warning San Gabriel Valley residents to prepare for extensive closures on the westbound 210 Freeway in Irwindale starting  Wednesday. The 126-hour shutdown will affect the 210 between the 605 and Irwindale Avenue. The closures will begin at 11 p.m. Wednesday and are expected to last until 5 a.m. July 26, Caltrans spokesperson Eric Menjivar said.
  • $13 million bike bridge construction to start in spring (Chico Enterprise-Record). Construction of a $13 million bicycle overcrossing of East 20th Street, just east of the freeway in Chico, should start next spring. At its last meeting, the California Transportation Commission allocated $10.1 million in federal grant funds to the city of Chico for the project. City funds dedicated to bike and pedestrian facilities will cover the rest of the cost. About $5 million has already been spent on preliminary planning and right of way purchases for the bridge. That money came from state and federal grants. The bridge and its approaches will link existing bike paths to the north and south of East 20th Street. Crossing that busy street on a bicycle is a risky proposition that the bridge should solve.
  • Leaders open third segment of Campus Parkway Project (Merced County Times). Local leaders — from the City of Merced to the State Legislature — officially opened Segment III of the massive, $100 million Campus Parkway Project on July 8. “For Merced residents, this is a major win,” said Sarah Boyle, a Merced City Council member. “Campus Parkway provides a new corridor that opens opportunities for all  residents.” County Supervisor Josh Pedrozo said: “Today is a big day for all us. This ribbon cutting is the culmination of many years of planning, advocation and eventually construction of an expressway that will improve how traffic flows in and around Merced.” And Assemblyman Adam Gray pointed out: “What’s so special about this particular effort is that this started with two politicians — a Democrat and a Republican — working hand in glove together, and putting the needs of the community really before politics, and caring more about how to work together and getting something done.”
  • California allocates more than $3 billion for transportation infrastructure (Del Norte Triplicate). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated more than $3 billion to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state, including $1.3 billion in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support local projects and to protect local roads and bridges from extreme weather and natural disasters. Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, accounts for more than $930 million of the total funding. “The CTC’s decision to invest in our state highways while protecting city and county infrastructure will help make California’s roadways safer and more resilient one shovel, one project and one community at a time,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. Projects approved this week [near Del Norte County] include:
  • Caltrans’ plans for electric signs flicker (Half Moon Bay Review). Traffic issues and proposed improvements to alleviate them are among the most common topics discussed by various boards and agencies representing the Coastside. Caltrans is trying to address some of the traffic problems on the coast with a connected electronic signage system, but so far those plans have hit administrative gridlock. Last week the Half Moon Bay Planning Commission reviewed Caltrans’ Coastal Development Permit application to install a new variable message sign, or VMS, adjacent to the northbound lane on Highway 1 south of Miramontes Point Road. The electric sign is meant to display travel times, road closures and other traffic safety-related messages. The sign can be activated during emergencies or when otherwise needed and would be off most of the time.
  • FreightWaves Classics/ Infrastructure: Bridge connects Sacramento and West Sacramento (FreightWaves). On July 20, 1934 construction began on a bridge across the Sacramento River to connect Sacramento, the state capital of California (which is in Sacramento County) with the city of West Sacramento (which is in Yolo County). The new bridge was built to replace the M Street Bridge, which was built in 1911 and was a swing-through truss railroad bridge owned by the Sacramento Northern Railway. The M Street bridge had a superstructure composed of triangular units known as trusses, and could be rotated horizontally to allow the passage of maritime traffic on the Sacramento River below. The M Street Bridge was later modified to also allow motor vehicles to travel across it. Nine-foot roadway sections were added as cantilevered sections on both sides of the existing rail bridge.
  • Caltrans must revise Highway 1 impact report after court ruling (Mercury News). The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and California Transportation Commission (Caltrans) will pause plans for a High Occupancy Vehicle lane after a recent court ruling ordered Caltrans to revise a report completed more than three years ago. The challenge came from the Campaign for Sustainable Transportation and the Sierra Club and was in response to the Highway 1 Tier I/Tier II Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment that was prepared collaboratively between the two transportation commissions and certified in 2019. The Tier I level for highway corridor projects are classified on the Santa Cruz transportation commission’s website as “planning-level” while Tier II efforts are “project-level.” In essence, Tier I planning for the highway corridor is built over time through a series of incremental Tier II projects. The ruling, which came from the Superior Court of California, was in favor of a challenge to a Tier I conceptual planning analysis for High Occupancy Vehicle lanes along the Highway 1 corridor. Challenges against Tier II projects including an expansion of auxiliary lanes and creation of a bicycle and pedestrian over-crossing at Chanticleer Avenue, were rejected, according to a media release from the Santa Cruz transportation commission.
  • Extension of road offers easy access to highway, nearby cities (East Bay Times). A long-awaited arterial road has opened in Antioch, providing a key shortcut for thousands in the southeast area of the city to the State Route 4 bypass and nearby Oakley. For almost 15 years, drivers in Oakley could easily hop onto the State Route 4 bypass from Laurel Road, but those across the way in Antioch faced a dead-end, with the freeway in sight within hundreds of yards but not accessible without a 1.5-mile detour. The Laurel Road extension and interchange are expected to ease congestion on the highway and help alleviate existing traffic delays during commuter hours at other State Route 4 bypass connections. It will also provide faster access to the highway and connect Laurel Road to Oakley on the other side of the State Route 4 bypass.
  • Ribbon cutting held in Esparto for completion of Yolo State Highway 16 rejuvenation (Daily Democrat). Esparto celebrated the completion of a few critically needed pieces of infrastructure along Yolo State-Highway 16 earlier this week by holding a ribbon-cutting event in Esparto Community Park. The Wednesday morning ceremony at 17001 Yolo Ave., which was right in front of some improvements made to SR. 16, was hosted by Caltrans and organized by the Department of Transportation. Critical enhancements to the highway cover the road between Orleans Street and County Road 21A. With coffee and cookies for the dozens in attendance, Caltrans District 3 Project Manager Nawid Nassar kicked off the festivities that celebrated the rejuvenation and safety improvements to the California highway with a few words.
  • I-10 Striping and Signage Upgrades Near Palm Springs Coming Soon! (Caltrans District 8). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will begin work this summer on a $2.5 million project to place new pavement markings and striping at the on and off ramps on Interstate 10 (I-10) and upgrading sign panels, in and near the cities of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City. Weather permitting. The project was awarded to RE Chaffee Construction of Phelan California. Crews will be working at the entrance and exit ramps from west of the Whitewater overcrossing to just east of Bob Hope Drive.
  • Highway 1 construction expected to cause delays on Big Sur Coast (KSBY). A construction project on Highway 1 on the Big Sur Coast will cause delays of up to 10 minutes starting July 26. The construction will take place in an area known as the Coastlands, stretching from approximately one mile north of the Henry Miller Library to 0.8 miles south of the Big Sur Post Office. Along with the delays, drivers can also expect 24/7 one-way traffic control and reduced speed limits. Winter storms in 2019 caused a slip-out below the southbound lanes. An emergency project secured the hillside, keeping it open until there could be a permanent fix.
  • MTC-funded final segment of Marin-Sonoma Narrows breaks ground (The Bay Link Blog). The completion of the Highway 101 Marin-Sonoma Narrows widening is in sight with the groundbreaking Thursday of the final segment of the project between Novato and the Sonoma/Marin county line. In May 2021, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission provided $76 million in STP/CMAQ funding to help the overall $135 million project move forward. Upon completion, all of the Highway 101 widening will be finished. This final phase of the project is part of the larger Marin-Sonoma Narrows effort to construct 17 miles of carpool lanes in each direction through Marin and Sonoma Counties, completing a total 50 miles of continuous carpool lanes in each direction, between Windsor and Richardson Bay. The project will also restripe the Redwood Boulevard frontage road for Class II bike lanes in Novato, creating a continuous bikeway between Novato and Petaluma.
  • Final Marin-Sonoma Narrows project begins construction (Marin I-J). Construction crews have broken ground on the final segment of a $762 million project to widen a traffic-plagued section of Highway 101 in Marin and Sonoma counties, bringing the more than two-decade-old effort one step closer to completion. The 17-mile stretch between Novato and Petaluma is known as Marin-Sonoma Narrows because both sides of the highway narrow from four or three lanes to two, depending on the location. The resulting bottleneck causes headaches for about 150,000 North Bay commuters on a daily basis. Caltrans has been working to widen the highway from four to six lanes by adding one carpool lane in each direction. The work will give drivers access to continuous carpool lanes from north of the Golden Gate Bridge into Santa Rosa.
  • Carpool lane opens on southbound Highway 101 in Petaluma (Argus Courier). A three-year, multimillion-dollar highway widening project has reached its final milestone with the opening of the southbound carpool lane on Highway 101 in Petaluma, Caltrans and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority announced in a Tuesday news release. The Petaluma Widening Project added north and southbound carpool lanes between Corona Road and Lakeville Highway, which fill a gap between existing carpool lanes that extend north to downtown Windsor and south to the Marin-Sonoma border. The newly added portion lengthens the carpooling lanes to 60 miles between Petaluma and Windsor. “By combining (Senate Bill) 1 funds with county funds, we set this project in motion, and ultimately bridged the gap in the carpool lanes, which will reduce congestion, encourage transit and carpool use, and improve the quality of life for all Californians who travel this corridor,” Caltrans District 4 Director Dina El Tawansy said.
  • This traffic-choked section of Highway 101 has been under construction for two decades. Here’s when it will wrap up (SF Chronicle).  The end is finally in sight for one of the Bay Area’s longest-running highway projects: the Marin-Sonoma Narrows widening on Highway 101, where construction has been going on for over a decade. By July 2026, the final stretch of the project to unlock one of the Bay Area’s nastiest traffic choke points should be completed, Caltrans and North Bay transportation officials said. Construction started this month on the final stretch of the complicated project to widen the highway near the point where it straddles the Marin-Sonoma county line by adding a part-time carpool lane. Transportation officials and dignitaries held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week to mark the beginning of the end. The last piece of the project will widen the roadway and bridges on a stretch just south of the county line — about 5 miles in the southbound direction and 3.5 miles in the northbound direction. Work will include modifying the Redwood Landfill interchange.
  • Soscol Junction work to begin Monday (Napa Valley Register). Caltrans will begin building Soscol Junction on Monday after a one-week delay because of nesting birds. The Soscol Junction project is where Highway 29, Highway 221 and Soscol Ferry Road meet. Caltrans over three years will turn a signalized intersection into an interchange that has Highway 29 passing above two roundabouts. Nesting birds are no longer in the area, a Caltrans press release said. Starting Monday, the speed limit will be reduced 10 mph within the project limits. Once work begins, motorists are encouraged to slow down as crews will be working during the day from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the press release said.
  • Update: I-80 lane closures set for Friday night to prep for Gilman work (Berkeleyside). Update, 6 p.m. Caltrans now says it will close three lanes of I-80 East in Berkeley on Friday night — not Saturday — to set up concrete barriers needed for repair work following a hit-and-run crash that damaged the Gilman Street overpass this week. The center and two right lanes of the freeway will close at 9 p.m. Friday, leaving two lanes of travel open. All lanes are slated to reopen Saturday at 5 a.m. and will not close again this weekend, Caltrans said in a 5:30 p.m. traffic advisory. The agency originally said it would close three lanes of I-80 on Saturday night, but has revised that plan. On Friday night, workers will place concrete barriers near the Gilman Street overpass to allow for repair work expected to last through September.
  • Incorrectly painted lanes have drivers doing zig-zags on California road (SF Gate). A newly repaved street in a California community is causing confusion for drivers and community members. “I saw it later in the afternoon on my way home from work, and I thought, ‘Woah, this is the strangest thing I’ve seen,'” said Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez. The city redesigned the street to add a bike lane and central circles on the road. Their goal was to add those obstructions to slow traffic and prevent people from using the street as a drag racing strip.
  • 55 Freeway: Construction work to add additional lanes, lessen traffic congestion (ABC7 Los Angeles). Construction to widen State Route 55 in central Orange County is just around the corner with a groundbreaking ceremony that kicked it all off on July 28. The SR-55 Improvement Project is a partnership between the OC Transportation Authority and Caltrans. Four miles of SR 55, also known as the 55 Freeway, between the I-5 and I-405, will get one regular lane and one carpool lane in each direction. The goal is to lessen traffic congestion. Supervisor Katrina Foley said she knew all too well the frustration of getting stuck on the 55.
  • Tehama County State Route 32 paving project underway (Corning Observer/Appeal Democrat). The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans District 2, in conjunction with Dig It Construction, Inc., is preparing to begin work on the Potato Patch Overlay Project on State Route 32 in Tehama County. The $1.3 million project, which is funded in part by Senate Bill 1, will replace asphalt concrete surfacing via dig outs and place a thin hot mix asphalt overlay approximately 28 miles east of Forest Ranch, from approximately 1 mile east of Deer Creek Bridge to a half-mile west of Slate Creek Bridge. The project will also include shoulder backing and upgrading guardrail to current standards. Construction activities are currently planned to start on July 25. Motorists will encounter one-way traffic control with up to 15-minute delays, Monday through Friday during daytime hours.
  • I-5 Freeway Closures Begins In August: What To Know (Lake Forest, CA Patch). CalTrans reports an extended Golden State Freeway (I-5) closure will begin in the Lake Forest area in August. The extended closures of the southbound I-5 Freeway between Alicia Parkway and El Toro Road will take place from Aug. 2 through Aug. 3 overnight, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The Orange County Transit Authority, in cooperation with Caltrans, is widening the I-5 between State Route 73 and El Toro Road in Lake Forest. The project will improve 6.5 miles of freeway for drivers through Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills and Lake Forest. The $580 million project adds a regular lane of traffic to each direction and improves several ramps, officials say.
  • South Avenue roundabout receives funding to move forward (Red Bluff Daily News). As part of the California Transportation Commission’s $3 billion investment in infrastructure, Caltrans has received funding for a roundabout at the intersection of South Avenue and State Route 99E. The roundabout being considered would be the same size as the one planned for the northbound I-5 interchange with South Main Street in Red Bluff. Besides adding the roundabout, this project will include roadway excavation to accommodate the new alignment and structural section, concrete curbs and gutters, a center island, and new signs and drainage improvements. Project Manager Michael Feakes said funding approval would allow the project to move forward into the final design phase, which will produce final plans, specifications and estimates, leading to the project being advertised for bids for the construction phase.
  • SR-11 Connects SB SR-125 to WB SR-905 in Otay Mesa (NBC 7 San Diego). Local and state officials from the U.S. and Mexico celebrated the completion of State Route 11 Tuesday which will connect to the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. Representatives from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) were joined by area politicians in applauding the project‘s completion. The new highway will connect East County to the Otay Mesa area. SR-11 connects southbound State Route 125 to westbound State Route 905.
  • Proposed pilot program aims to keep the Great Highway car-free on weekends (CBS San Francisco). The Great Highway stretches 3.8 miles down San Francisco’s western coast, bordering Ocean Beach. Every weekend and holiday, between Lincoln Way and Sloat Boulevard, the four-lane-wide roadway transforms into a completely vehicle-free promenade where the public can enjoy its scenic views. On Tuesday, San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar introduced legislation that would preserve the Great Highway’s current weekend configuration under a three-year pilot study, while the city studies its road use. If approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the ordinance introduced by Mar would maintain the highway as a promenade until Dec. 31, 2025.
  • Editorial: After 3 long decades, Hwy. 101 gets 3rd lane (Argus Courier). On March 21, 2006, after decades of debate, three unsuccessful elections and a two-week rain delay, the Highway 101 widening project through Santa Rosa got started. This phase — adding a third lane in each direction of the elevated segment of highway between Highway 12 and Steele Lane in Santa Rosa — was the first after local voters approved a sales tax for transportation and took about 30 months and cost more than $110 million, though it was completed about six months ahead of schedule. The new lanes opened on Nov. 8, 2008, three days after voters in Sonoma and Marin counties approved a quarter-cent sales tax for SMART, the North Bay’s rail service. Subsequent phases added new lanes to Windsor, then on to Petaluma and from the south end of Petaluma to the Marin County line. Finally, after 14 years of overnight closures and jarring lane realignments, Caltrans announced completion of the final phase on July 19, a 3.3-mile segment through Petaluma.
  • Road to recovery: Big Basin slowly heals from fire as traffic again permitted on Highway 236 (Local News Matters). A stretch of Highway 236 — the main roadway through the Big Basin Redwoods State Park — is open to drivers once again as state park officials make forward progress in restoring the forest after the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire. The road closure from Little Basin Road, 6.4 miles north of the southern junction of State Route 9, to China Grade, 4.8 miles south of the northern junction of State Route 9, was lifted last week. Drivers can roll through Big Basin without stopping, or park with a reservation. The park is open on a limited day-use-only reservation system as the forest continues to recover from the effects of the fire from two years ago. Park officials say that 18,000 acres of park property were burned, including the park headquarters, campgrounds and housing for park employees.
  • El Camino Real Bells (Google My Maps). These are the bells (thus far) found by the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/califroadssignsmaps
  • Talks on Highway 37’s future underway as sea-level threat looms (Marin I-J). For generations, the 21-mile route linking Marin County and Vallejo has been essential for commuters and travelers. Now Highway 37 has become something more — a centerpiece in a growing debate on how the Bay Area and California should respond to climate change and when politicians should bite the bullet to spend the billions of dollars needed to deal with it. Caltrans is studying a plan to widen a traffic-prone, 10-mile stretch of the highway at a cost of nearly half a billion dollars while it comes up with a longer-term fix. But some advocates say they should skip that step while significant funding is available and do what all parties agree will eventually need to be done by elevating the road.
  • Solano travelers to Interstate 680 gain new I-80, Highway 12 connection (Solano Daily Republic). The latest piece of the massive Interstate 80 / Interstate 680 / Highway 12 Interchange Project was completed Monday with the opening of the eastbound I-80 to southbound I-680 connector ramp. State Department of Transportation crews re-opened the new connector ramp Monday to the traveling public. Motorists traveling eastbound on Highway 12 now have direct access to the southbound I-680 connector ramp, including drivers who are traveling eastbound on I-80, Caltrans reported.
  • SANDAG explores toll alternatives on SR 125 (The Star News). On May 27, the San Diego Association of Governments received a request a future agenda item to consider eliminating debt and toll-only operations on State Route 125 as early as 2027 by board member and Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. On July 8, SANDAG Board of Directors passed a resolution directing staff to evaluate alternatives to toll-only operations including managed lanes, control future toll road expenditures to increase cash on hand available to retire the debt by Fiscal Year 2027 and conduct a multimodal plan for the SR 125 to analyze future transportation option to retire the debt. Originally, the debt of the SR 124 would have been completed in 2042. “The tolls on the SR125 have been a detriment to the economic development of Chula Vista and Otay Mesa. It’s the only toll road in San Diego County which is fundamentally unfair,” said Casillas Salas.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Former California State Route 212 (GN). California State Route 212 was a briefly lived post-1964 State Highway Renumbering designation assigned to Valley Boulevard in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. California State Route 212 was defined as beginning at the east city limit of Los Angeles at the location of the planned Long Beach Freeway and followed Valley Boulevard to Interstate 10 in El Monte. The origin of California State Route 212 in the State Highway System was part of the interim components used by US Routes 60-70-99 as Ramona Boulevard was being constructed. The blog cover image is of the 1964 Division of Highways Map which depicted the alignment of California State Route 212.
  • Former California State Route 206 and the original US Route 66 Business Loop in San Bernardino (GN). California State Route 206 was a short eight-mile State Highway which existed in the San Bernadino area. Prior to the 1964 State Highway Renumbering what would become California State Route 206 was part of the original US Route 66 Business Loop via Kendall Drive and E Street towards downtown San Bernardino. As defined in 1964, California State Route 206 began at California State Route 30 in San Bernadino and terminated at Interstate 15 in Verdemont. California State Route 206 was ultimately deleted from the State Highway System in 1991. The original US Route 66 Business Loop can be seen co-signed with California State Route 18 at the I Street Overhead along 5th Street in San Bernardino circa 1951.
  • The Embarcadero Freeway and planned Golden Gate Freeway (GN). The Embarcadero in the City of San Francisco is a historic waterfront road corridor along San Francisco Bay. Most likely know of the Embarcadero from the former double deck Embarcadero Freeway which once served as Interstate 480 and later California State Route 480. The Embarcadero Freeway was completed from Interstate 80 to Broadway by 1959 and generally came to be seen as a blight on the San Francisco Bay waterfront. The demise of Embarcadero Freeway’ would eventually come largely at the hand of the Loma Prieta Earthquake which rendered it unstable. The Embarcadero Freeway was part of a larger plan to connect a fully limited access freeway through San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. California Division of Highways plans would have seen Interstate 480 continue from the end of the Embarcadero Freeway to the Golden Gate Bridge as the so-called Golden Gate Freeway. In this blog we will examine the history of the Embarcadero, Embarcadero Freeway and planned Golden Gate Freeway. Featured as the blog cover photo is the Embarcadero Freeway facing the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in early 1959 shortly before it was extended to Broadway.
  • Paper Highways: Unbuilt California State Route 228 (GN). California State Route 228 was a planned highway which was defined during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering as a bypass of Brawley. California State Route 228 was planned as a two-mile north/south State Highway which would have followed Malan Canal and Sandal Canal west of Brawley. California State Route 228 was deleted in 1998 with no actual mileage ever having been constructed. Above California State Route 228 can be seen on the 1964 Division of Highways Map with a determined adopted routing.
  • Former California State Route 194 from Downieville to Saddleback Mountain (GN). The original California State Route 194 was a short lived post-1964 Sign State Route designation located in Sierra County near Downieville. The original California State Route 194 was defined as being aligned from “Route 49 near Downieville to Eureka Mine Road near Saddleback Mountain.” The original California State Route 194 was deleted in 1965 via Legislative Chapter 1372. What became the original California State Route 194 was brought into the State Highway System in 1907 and would become Legislative Route Number 36. Below Legislative Route Number 36 can be seen aligned north from Downieville to Saddleback Mountain on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Sierra County. The cover photo of this blog depicts an eastward view from the terminus of what was California State Route 194 on Saddleback Road at California State Route 49/Cannon Point looking towards Downieville.
  • US Route 80 to Point Loma? (GN). US Route 80 was one of the original US Routes which was designated during November 1926. The original definition of US Route 80 had its western terminus located in San Diego, California. US Route 80 originally had a western terminus in downtown San Diego at US Route 101. Rumors have persisted for years in the road-fan community that US Route 80 was once extended to Point Loma before being truncated out of California during 1966. Until now, not much substantial evidence has been found pertaining to the possible extension of US Route 80 to Point Loma. Featured above is the cover photo of the November/December 1958 California Highways & Public Works which depicts the parking area on Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument. The cover photo excerpt in the November/December 1958 California Highways & Public Works notes the parking area at end of Legislative Route Number 12 to be the terminus of US Route 80 at Point Loma.
  • Former California State Route 1 over Old Pedro Mountain Road (GN). California State Route 1 in western San Mateo County traverses the Montara Mountain spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains. In modern times California State Route 1 passes through Montara Mountain via the Tom Lantos Tunnels and the highway is traditionally associated with Devils Slide. Although Devils Slide carries an infamous legacy due it being prone landslides it pales in comparison to the alignment California State Route 1 carried prior to November 1937 over Old Pedro Mountain Road.
  • California State Route 120/New Priest Grade Road and Old Priest Grade Road (GN). Depicted as the blog cover is a westward view along the descent on Old Priest Grade Road of Tuolumne County, California. Below Old Priest Grade Road one can observe California State Route 120 across Grizzly Gulch on New Priest Grade Road. Old Priest Grade Road is often claimed to have a maximum gradient of 17-20% and is one of the steepest roadways in the western Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • Former California State Route 1 in Aptos (GN). The community of Aptos is located in Santa Cruz County along the shores of Monterey Bay. When California State Route 1 was commissioned during August 1934 it followed existing Legislative Route Number 56 through Aptos on Soquel Drive. California State Route 1 was realigned onto the present freeway grade during November 1949. Pictured below is a view of the 1928 Aptos Creek Bridge which was part of California State Route 1 on Soquel Drive in Aptos. Pictured below is California State Route 1 in Aptos along Soquel Drive as depicted on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Santa Cruz County.
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