October was another busy month. This time, it was more theatre, combined with finishing and posting Episode 1.04 of the California Highways – Route by Route podcast (Anchor.FM Home, with links to most major podcatching services), getting ready for Episode 1.05 (we start recording as I post this), and getting out my detailed ballot post. Oh, and I’ve been working on the next round of highway page updates (which has resulted in some delayed theatre reviews).
I’ve come to learn that one of the hardest parts of podcasts is scaring up interviews. I finally got someone for Episode 1.05, and now for the upcoming episodes, I’m looking for someone who is willing to talk for 30 minutes or so on the following:
- For 1.06: The impact of CEQA on road construction in California — including the process both before and after CEQA — as well as the impact of the growing importance of regional transportation agencies on the State Highway System.
- For 1.07: The California Post-Mile System: Its origin, its use, and why California sticks with it.
- For 1.08: We return to the US highway system, so I’m looking for someone to discuss some of the history of the numbers of US highways in the state; or, alternatively, someone from AASHTO on the process for getting highway numbers approved.
If you or someone you know would be interested in helping this project, please contact me.
With respect to the main highway pages: I’ve processed the August and September headlines, as well as all the legislative actions (there were lots of naming resolutions). Once this is posted I’ll get to work on the October headlines and AARoads, and then it is on to the CTC minutes. The goal is still to have those updates done in November. Podcast scripts are written through 1.10; all that remains is the naming and transportation organizations episode.
Enough of this shameless self-promotion. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for October:
[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.]
California Highways: Route by Route Podcast
- CARxR Ep. 1.04: Expanding the State Highway System after WWII. In this episode, we’re continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the period as WWII was ending, the Interstate system was emerging, and the construction boom was starting. This is part of our first season of California Highways: Route by Route, where we are exploring the background needed for our route by route journey. In this episode, we see the birth of the Freeway System in California, starting with the Collier-Burns act increasing state funding for highways, and State and Federal recommendations for higher-capacity systems. We see the growth in cities and urban areas pushing demand for the same, leading to the definition of the Freeway and Expressway System. We cover the passage of the 1956 Interstate Highway Act, and the subsequent freeway conversion and construction boom. Our guest interview is with Dr. Jonathan L. Gifford of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is also the director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy. His doctoral dissertation examined the history and development of the interstate highway system from its origins in the 1930s through its design and deployment in the 1960s and beyond.
Back episodes are available at the Podcast’s forever home, as well as on its anchor.fm home. The anchor.fm also has links to the podcast’s page on most major podcasting services.
- Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. Reconstructs Highway in Mojave Desert (Construction Eqpt. Guide). U.S. Highway 395 is a priority interregional highway in the Caltrans Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan, part of the National Network of truck routes, and included in the Caltrans Highway Freight Network. “The highway is vital to the economy of the Eastern Sierra region and is one of five major recreational corridors identified for Southern California,” states the project web page. Crews from Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. began construction on the last stretch (12.5-mi., postmile 29.2 to postmile 41.8) of U.S. Highway 395 last January, to update this section to two lanes in each direction with a 10-ft. shoulder on each side.
- ＄ Ramona officials urge Caltrans to repair intersection after two fatal collisions (Ramona Sentinel). The death of a 68-year-old Ramona woman in a Sept. 19 rollover crash has renewed calls for road improvements at the Mussey Grade Road and state Route 67 intersection. The intersection has been the site of two other serious accidents in recent months, including one in which a 90-year-old man died in a head-on collision that pushed his vehicle backward and into the path of another vehicle, and another that left a woman with serious injuries. The Sept. 19 collision occurred about 3:40 p.m. as the woman stopped her 2005 Dodge Ram on westbound Mussey Grade Road, then turned left onto south SR-67. When she made the turn, she drove into the path of a northbound 2004 Toyota Prius, which broadsided the pickup, said California Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Baranowski. The truck overturned and landed on its roof.
- Caltrans to make safety improvements on stretch of State Route 36 (Times-Standard). Caltrans is planning safety improvements to reduce the frequency and severity of collisions on a two-mile stretch of State Route 36 between Hydesville and Carlotta. A public meeting to talk about the project’s environmental document and gather input from the community was held on Sept. 28 at Cuddeback Elementary School, and more than 50 people attended. “Our project team was encouraged by the community’s interest as they provided needed insight and information that we will incorporate into our design,” said Caltrans District 1 Project Manager Marie Brady. “The community also brought up other areas of interest, near and within the project limits, for further investigation, which is exactly what we look for when engaging with folks.”
- Our Future 101 – Ventura County’s Highway 101 HOV Project (VCTC). Commuters? Travelers? No, it’s us, Ventura County drivers. We tend to use the 101 like a main street. We jump on the freeway to cross town to take our kids to school, go to the farmer’s market, and commute to and from work daily, within the county. There are few alternatives for the 101 and the improvements over the years have not kept up with the demands we place on the 101. Congestion is projected to more than double in the next 20 years. Fortunately, help is on the way. The Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), working in partnership with Caltrans and the local cities and the County of Ventura, has taken the lead to identify improvements along this important connection to all we do.
- Caltrans completes Dry Creek Bridge project (Yahoo!News). After more than two years of construction, the Dry Creek Bridge renovation project in Yuba County has been completed, offering drivers more space on a previously narrow road and bridge. Officials with Caltrans held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday to commemorate the completion of the project on Highway 20 in Browns Valley, along with other road projects that concurrently developed. The Browns Valley project is the last of five major projects to be completed along Highway 20, said Caltrans Project Manager Johnny Tan. The five-mile section between Marysville Road and Timbuctoo Place was renovated and rehabilitated in order to provide wider lanes and shoulders to give commercial and recreational drivers more space to travel and pull off from the road.
- Caltrans Breaks Ground on Chumash Museum Highway Beautification Project (Noozhawk). Caltrans broke ground this week on the Chumash Museum Highway Beautification project along a stretch of State Route 246 near Santa Ynez. The project is made possible through Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a sweeping, $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces. The $1.3 million Chumash Museum Highway Beautification project — the first of 12 Clean California-funded Central Coast beautification projects to break ground — will improve a half-mile section of the highway by installing artistic fencing, native plant landscaping, upgraded irrigation using recycled water, decorative crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists, and better directional signage.
- PCH projects will protect vulnerable highway – Santa Monica Daily Press (Santa Monica Daily Press). Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) could be getting some much needed attention just north of Santa Monica with two Caltrans projects on the way that could shore up the delicate coastal thoroughfare. One of the projects dates back to 2016, when high surf swept away a portion of the highway’s shoulder, exposing a high pressure gas pipeline in the Tuna Canyon area not far from Malibu’s southern border.
- Highway 101 Corridor Project Funding Gets Assist From $75 Million Federal Infrastructure Loan (Noozhawk). A $75 million federal loan will help cash-flow needs for the massive Highway 101 corridor project, adding a third lane from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. Construction is underway on the highway section between Carpinteria and Summerland, with the Montecito-to-Santa Barbara segment up next. The project is managed by Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed more than $38 billion in Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, and the recent federal infrastructure bill provided more capital for the program.
- Caltrans to begin road repairs on Highway 12 (Times-Herald). Caltrans is reporting possible delays on Highway 12 from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, through October 28 for a variety of road repairs. Traffic will be reduced to one-way on the project. Delays are expected over a stretch of the road every night and motorists are encouraged by Caltrans to plan alternate routes. The full stretch of Highway 12 to be repaired runs from Currie Road, a few miles west of Rio Vista to the Western Railway Museum entrance near Suisun City, about eight miles.
- ＄ Highway 99 getting upgrades, but it won’t become interstate: Roadshow (Mercury News). Q: Will Highway 99 ever be converted to an interstate? A: There are no plans to convert Highway 99 into an interstate. However, many improvements are planned over the next three decades for this important road. Changes include widening Highway 99 to six lanes in some sections and removing some of the left turns that can now be made across traffic. In the San Joaquin Valley, in particular, Highway 99 is an important corridor of commerce. It supports 1.3 million daily truck trips in an area where 90 percent of the freight moves by truck.
- State Route 150 Culvert Improvement Project Near Carpinteria to Get Underway Today (The Santa Barbara Independent). A project to replace a failed culvert on State Route 150 near Carpinteria, a quarter mile west of Gobernador Canyon Road will begin Monday, October 10 continuing weekly until Friday, October 28. Travelers will encounter one-way reversing traffic control on State Route 150 Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm and on Fridays from 8:30 am until 2 pm. Delays should not exceed 15 minutes. Most of this road work is expected to be completed under a shoulder closure. The contractor for this $60,000 project is John Madonna Construction of San Luis Obispo, CA.
- ＄ Oakley prepares to vote on long-delayed road extension (The Press). Another Laurel Road construction project is on the horizon in Oakley. Months after the long-awaited completion of a crucial near-half mile gap on Laurel Road linking Antioch and Oakley and providing a connection to Highway 4, Laurel Road is planned to have another extension farther east in Oakley to Sellers Avenue. The project, which has been on Oakley’s drawing board since 2002, still remains at a standstill, with no dates for construction or completion.
- ＄＄ Highway 101 corridor project gets federal loan (San Luis Obispo Tribune). A $75 million federal loan will help cash-flow needs for the massive Highway 101 corridor project, adding a third lane from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. Construction is underway on the highway section between Carpinteria and Summerland, with the Montecito-to-Santa Barbara segment up next. The project is managed by Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed more than $38 billion in Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, and the recent federal infrastructure bill provided more capital for the program.
- Blog: For Whom the El Camino Real Bell Signs Toll (Redwood City Pulse). El Camino Real (The Kings Highway) stretches for roughly 800 miles through the Golden State. It’s also known as the Mission Trail, referring to the many missions founded initially by Father Junipero Serra. No doubt you have seen signs along this historic route in the shape of bells with the words “El Camino Real” on them. Have you ever wondered how they came to dot California’s north/south artery?
- $1.5 billion Centennial Corridor enters the homestretch, on track to open in 2023 (KGET). You’ve no doubt noticed that monolithic freeway overpass at 99 and Stockdale Highway – an overpass to nowhere, at the moment, but not for long. The Centennial Corridor project is entering the home stretch: Literally, the last 800 feet of the home stretch. That doesn’t mean this is going to be done anytime soon. It’ll take another eight months to cover that 800 feet. But the Centennial Corridor – with its team of city engineers, private contractors and subcontractors, along with direction and input from Thomas Roads Improvement Project managers and Caltrans — has never been more visible. In fact the six-story high connector bridge looming over Freeway 99 is impossible to miss.
- State Funds $150M in San Diego, Imperial County Highway, Bridge Projects (Times of San Diego). The state has allocated nearly $3 billion for projects to improve transportation infrastructure throughout California, including more than $150 million for San Diego and Imperial counties. The allocation, by the California Transportation Commission, includes more than $452 million in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and more than $123 million from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. “This allocation – which includes a significant federal investment – allows Caltrans and our local partners to continue building the equitable, sustainable and safe transportation system on which future generations will depend,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. Projects approved this week for the San Diego and border region include:
- California Transportation Commission allocates nearly $3 billion for projects; 3 in Plumas County (Plumas News). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) this week allocated nearly $3 billion for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state, including three here in Plumas County. […] Projects approved this week [in Plumas County] include:
- Recap of California Transportation Commission Meeting: Equity, Climate Are Major Topics (Streetsblog California). The California Transportation Commission is tasked with allocating major parts of the state’s transportation funding streams. Their monthly meetings take two days to get through, and are usually endless updates about state transportation agency work, allocation decisions, and sometimes a bit of controversy. This week’s meeting was no exception. Nevertheless, a shift in the Commission’s focus from previous years is notable. Instead of discussions centered on highway expansions and where to get the money for them, the Commission is engaging with climate, environmental, and equity concerns arising out of the state’s transportation system.
- ＄ San Diego inks deal with Mexico over tolling at new Otay Mesa border crossing (San Diego Union-Tribune). Officials from across the San Diego-Baja California region on Friday celebrated a painstakingly negotiated binational agreement for collecting tolls at the envisioned new Otay Mesa border crossing. The deal — unanimously approved by the San Diego Association of Governments board of directors — calls for one tolling facility located north of the border. The revenue would be split evenly with Mexico, pulling in an estimated $3.4 billion for each country over the next four decades. “The financial strategy that’s being presented here is the result of months of nonstop meetings and bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico,” Carlos González Gutiérrez, consul general of Mexico in San Diego, said at SANDAG’s board meeting on Friday. “This is U.S. and Mexico cooperation at its finest.”
- ＄ Council again eyes crosstown connector options (Argus Courier). Petaluma City Council members on Monday further explored plans for future roadways that would connect the east and west sides of the city in hopes that the connectors would ease traffic congestion and timing for crosstown travel, a concept that has been explored for more than 50 years in Petaluma. In a “crosstown connector workshop” meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, a mix of support and disapproval was heard from both the public and the City Council for two major crosstown connector projects still seeking final approval. One, the controversial Rainier Crosstown Connector, would connect McDowell Boulevard at Rainier Avenue to Petaluma Boulevard North. The other, the Caulfield Crosstown Connector, would construct a movable bridge similar to the D Street Bridge over the Petaluma River, extending Caulfield Lane to Petaluma Boulevard South.
- ＄ Work will start in April on long-awaited widening of state Route 56(San Diego Union-Tribune). Caltrans and San Diego say they’ll break ground in April on widening the western portion of state Route 56 from four lanes to six lanes, alleviating traffic congestion near some of the region’s largest job centers. The long-awaited $39 million project, first announced in 2014, will include two new lanes in the existing median that will be reserved for buses and high-occupancy vehicles with at least two passengers. The 2.2-mile widening project, which is slated for completion in October 2025, will also include a new bicycle bridge over the east side ramps of the freeway’s interchange with Interstate 15.
- NV5 Awarded $8 Million in California Transportation Infrastructure Contracts (Yahoo!Finance). NV5 Global, Inc. (the “Company” or “NV5”) (Nasdaq: NVEE), a provider of technology, conformity assessment, and consulting solutions, announced today that it has been awarded contracts by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Stanislaus County, and Calaveras County valued at approximately $8 million to support critical California transportation infrastructure. Under the scope of these contracts, NV5 will provide engineering design, construction inspection, and not-at-risk construction management services for critical roadway construction and improvement projects. “The economic development of the communities where we live and work depends on reliable and efficient transportation infrastructure,” said Dickerson Wright, PE, Chairman and CEO of NV5. “NV5 has provided engineering, surveying, and inspection services to Caltrans and California municipalities for two decades, and we are pleased to support future transportation improvements through these new contract awards.”
- Caltrans Provides Update on Highway 140 Roadway Repair Project in Mariposa County – Construction Will Continue During Daytime and Nighttime Hours (Sierra Sun Times). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is conducting a pavement rehabilitation project on State Route 140 from the Mariposa/Merced County Line to approximately 1 mile east of Trower Road in Mariposa County. To complete this project as expeditiously as possible, crews will work daytime and nighttime hours and employ one-way traffic control between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday until winter 2022. Motorists should expect delays at times lasting 10 minutes or longer and are advised to take alternate routes whenever possible. Caltrans is monitoring traffic conditions to mitigate delays as much as possible and thanks the traveling public for its patience.
- Decker Road to be closed until Friday, Oct. 28 while Caltrans work to prevent future rockslides (Malibu Times). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced Thursday morning that northbound and southbound State Route 23 (Decker Road) will remain closed from State Route 1 to Lechusa Road/Encinal Canyon Road (just north of Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 72) at least through Friday evening, October 28. Workers are drilling holes to insert anchor rods that will secure mesh to a slope. The mesh will prevent future rock slides.
- ＄ Caltrans, Solano County celebrate new interchange (Times-Herald). A much-anticipated three-way freeway interchange in Solano County officially opened on Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local dignitaries alongside the completed construction in Cordelia. Funding for the two-year, $93.7 million project — reconfiguring ramps at Interstate-80, I-680 and State Route 12 — includes $53.2 million in funding from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, and $9 million in federal funding. The project is a multi-year, multi-phase effort near Fairfield’s Green Valley and Cordelia neighborhoods that includes Package 1 through Package 7. Package 1 was completed in 2017 with a new Green Valley Road Interchange and westbound SR-12 connector from westbound I-80 to westbound SR-12. The just-completed phase of the project, known as “Package 2A,” aims to improve the flow of traffic at the roadways’ interchange. It replaces the existing single-lane eastbound SR-12 to eastbound I-80 connector with a new two-lane connector and bridge structure, constructs a new off-ramp from eastbound SR-12 to Green Valley Road, and creates a new off-ramp from eastbound I-80 to Green Valley Road and southbound I-680. Officials say motorists using this new interchange will enjoy improved travel times and enhanced safety while residents will benefit from reduced cut-through traffic on local streets.
- Officials mark completion of portion of massive I-80/I-680/Highway 12 project (Daily Republic). Officials this week marked the completion of the latest portion of a massive project to revamp the convergence in Fairfield of Interstate 80, Interstate 680 and Highway 12. California Department of Transportation and Solano County Transportation Authority officials on Thursday celebrated the completion of what’s described in a press release as “a critical phase in the project to improve the Interstate 80 (I-80), Interstate 680 (I-680), and State Route 12 (SR-12) freeway interchange in Solano County.” Funding for the two-year, $93.7 million project includes $53.2 million in funding from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, and $9 million in federal funding.
- California Invests Nearly $3 Billion for Transportation Improvements (Ridgecrest Daily Independent). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) this week allocated nearly $3 billion for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state. The allocation includes more than $452 million in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) and more than $123 million in funding from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. […] Projects approved this week [in Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties] include:
- ＄ Caltrans, Solano County celebrate new interchange (Vacaville Reporter/Times Herald Online). A much-anticipated three-way freeway interchange in Solano County officially opened on Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local dignitaries alongside the completed construction in Cordelia. Funding for the two-year, $93.7 million project — reconfiguring ramps at Interstate-80, I-680 and State Route 12 — includes $53.2 million in funding from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, and $9 million in federal funding. The project is a multi-year, multi-phase effort near Fairfield’s Green Valley and Cordelia neighborhoods that includes Package 1 through Package 7. Package 1 was completed in 2017 with a new Green Valley Road Interchange and westbound SR-12 connector from westbound I-80 to westbound SR-12
- Route 49 Roundabouts (Caltrans District 3 on FB). Caltrans is announcing the start of construction on a new safety improvement project on State Route 49 (SR-49) in Auburn.
- Central Freeway Gets $31 Million ‘Coronado Blue’ Paint Job (San Francisco Standard). The steel girders for the city’s Central Freeway won’t be pale green much longer. Work crews are coating the undergirding of the elevated roadway that connects Market Street to Highway 101 in a new eye-catching Coronado Blue, Caltrans spokesperson David Hafner said. Started in June 2021, the project is expected to be done in May 2024. It’s on budget and will cost a total $30.9 million, according to Hafner.
- Work continues on eastbound I-80 exit at Red Top Road (Daily Republic). Motorists are advised to expect traffic delays Wednesday as crews continue work on the Interstate 80/Interstate 680/Highway 12 Interchange Project near Fairfield. Crews are constructing a concrete island at eastbound Highway 12 at Red Top Road. The work will require the closure of the right-hand turn to ensure the safety of workers, the California Department of Transportation reports. The closure began at 5 a.m. Tuesday and will remain in place until 3 p.m. Wednesday, Caltrans reports.
- California, Mexico Sign Historic Toll- Sharing Pact for Otay Mesa East Port (Times of San Diego). The United States and Mexico signed a historic agreement Monday to share toll revenue at the new Otay Mesa East port of entry. Representatives of SANDAG and Caltrans joined U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Supervisor Nora Vargas at the signing ceremony in Mexico City. The agreement calls for a single toll collection point on the U.S. side of Route 11, a toll rate set by SANDAG, and designates the North American Development Bank as custodian and distributor of the toll funds.
- Governor Newsom Announces Binational Partnership with Mexico to Advance New Port of Entry at San Diego-Tijuana Border (Governor’s Office). Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a historic agreement that strengthens California’s partnership with Mexico and advances key border projects and initiatives. In Mexico City, state representatives and a delegation of regional leaders joined the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to sign the new Toll Revenue Sharing Agreement with Mexico which supports the construction of the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry at the San Diego-Tijuana border. The new state-of-the-art border crossing facility will reduce wait times, curb greenhouse gas emissions, power economic growth and bolster binational trade along the busiest border region in the Western Hemisphere.
- Green T1: Terminal Island Transition Plan (2015) (Caltrans). Poor health outcomes and conflicting land-uses around the Terminal Island Freeway prompted the City of Long Beach to apply for an Environmental Justice Grant in 2013. Environmental Justice is an effort to first recognize that communities of color, and those with a limited income are more likely to be exposed to environmental hazards; motivating cities to find innovative solutions to improve the quality of life and health outcomes in such communities. The Green TI project looks at the first/last mile of the Terminal Island Freeway, and includes the community vision, preliminary feasibility study and design concept aimed at transforming the segment of State Route 103 to a local-serving road, while increasing open space and buffering the West Long Beach neighborhood from air, noise, light and visual pollution. The design concept and future implementation strategies described in this document serve as a road-map for the project as it moves forward. Additionally, this document serves as a compilation of findings from community and port-related engagement events that were held to identify alternative and preferred design concepts for the reuse of the TI Freeway. The project is referred to as the “Green TI Plan” throughout this document.
- Draft 2023 Federal Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP) (Caltrans). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) prepared the Draft 2023 Federal Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FSTIP) in coordination with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and the Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) in California. The FSTIP is a federally mandated document required to be updated every two years. The Draft 2023 FSTIP includes phases of capital and non-capital transportation projects prioritized to receive federal funding under Titles 23 and 49 of the United States Code during federal fiscal years 2023 through 2026. The FSTIP also includes regionally significant projects regardless of the funding source. Each of the State’s eighteen MPOs prepares a Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP), which includes federal, state, local, and transit projects within its boundary. These FTIPs are included in the FSTIP by reference. The Draft is available for public review and comment beginning October 10, 2022, through October 31, 2022.
- Ħ Ridge Route Preservation Organization – November / December 2022 Newsletter (RRPO). The Ridge Route Preservation Organization has accomplished quite a bit so far. We can’t do it without your support. We have a lot more to do! Here is a short list of some of those.
Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)
- Former US Route 101 through Soledad. Soledad is a city located on the Salinas River of Monterey County which is presently bypassed by the freeway alignment of US Route 101. US Route 101 originally entered Soledad northbound over the Salinas River via Nestles Road and Front Street. US Route 101 was realigned onto an extension of Front Street via an underpass of the Southern Pacific Railroad during 1936. The freeway alignment of US Route 101 in Soledad opened in 1960 and much of the former surface alignment became part of the western segment of California State Route 146 in 1964. Pictured as the blog cover above is US Route 101 on Front Street as depicted in the July/August 1958 California Highways & Public Works. US Route 101 appears below on Nestles Road and Front Street on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Monterey County.
- Former US Route 99 in Brawley. Brawley is a city located in Imperial Valley of the Sonoran Desert of Imperial County, California. US Route 99 through its history in Brawley was largely aligned on Main Street and 1st Street until it was truncated to downtown Los Angeles in 1963. This blog will explore the history of US Route 99 in Brawley. Pictured as the blog covered is the dedication ceremony along US Route 99 on the then new New River Bridge in Brawly on July 17, 1953. Below US Route 99 can be observed on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Imperial County passing through Brawley.
- Former California State Route 248 (Old US Routes 66-99 from Pasadena to Monrovia). Former California State Route 248 was a small post-1964 State Highway Renumbering designation of a segment of US Route 66 and early US Route 99 from Pasadena east to Monrovia. Specifically, California State Route 248 originated at California State Route 134 and terminated at Interstate 210 following the Colorado Street Bridge, Colorado Boulevard, Colorado Place, and Huntington Boulevard. Much of California State Route 248 was signed as US Route 66 until 1972 and was gradually relinquished between 1986-1992. Pictured above as the blog cover is the Colorado Street Bridge which was once part of US Route 66, US Route 66 Alternate, and California State Route 248 from 1964-1986.
- The bizarre history of the western terminus of US Route 66 in Santa Monica. US Route 66 was formally approved by the American Association of State Highway officials to be extended from Los Angeles to Santa Monica in June 1935. At the time US Route 66 had an interim terminus at US Route 101 Alternate located at the end of Santa Monica Boulevard at Ocean Avenue. In 1936 the more recognizable terminus of US Route 66 in Santa Monica at Lincoln Boulevard and Olympic Boulevard was established upon the opening of the McClure Tunnel.
- Abandoned Foresta Road between Foresta and El Portal (Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest). Foresta Road is an approximately nine-mile roadway which connects the Old Coulterville Road in the community of Foresta in Yosemite National Park to California State Route 140 in El Portal on the Merced River. Foresta Road originally opened during 1913 as lumber haul road from Foresta to the eastern terminus of the Yosemite Valley Railroad in El Portal. From Foresta the alignment of Foresta Road is notable for the approximately 2,300-foot elevation drop it descends through over the course of six miles towards El Portal in the Merced River Canyon. Much of Foresta Road was abandoned after the 2009 Big Meadow Fire destroyed the wooden deck of the Lower Foresta Falls Bridge. Since 2009 Foresta Road has largely been abandoned and is beginning to erode into the Merced River Canyon. Pictured as the blog cover is the partially destroyed Lower Foresta Falls Bridge. Below Foresta Road can be seen as a major County Highway on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Mariposa County.
- Coulterville Road, the first Highway to Yosemite Valley. The Coulterville Road was the first highway to Yosemite Valley which had been completed during June 1874. The Coulterville Road began at it’s namesake town in Mariposa County traveling eastward through the Merced Grove and Big Meadow en route to Yosemite Valley. The Coulterville Road unlike the other highways to Yosemite has barely been modernized and remains a lightly traveled back road through Stanislaus National Forest. This blog will examine the history of the Coulterville Road and what can be visited while traveling on it.
- Former US Route 101 on the San Juan Grade and through San Juan Bautista. The San Juan Grade is a former segment of US Route 101 which once connected the community of Salinas north to San Juan Bautista over the Gabilan Range. The San Juan Grade was completed as a First State Highway Bond Act project during 1915 and was a replacement for Old Stage Road. The San Juan Grade was ultimately paved in Portland Cement which was common to the First through Third State Highway Bond Acts. US Route 101 was shifted west to the Prunedale Cutoff during 1932 which led to the San Juan Grade being retained as a spur of Legislative Route Number 2. The San Juan Grade was relinquished from the State Highway System during 1935 upon the completion of Legislative Route Number 22 west from San Juan Bautista to San Juan Bautista Y. The San Juan Grade today remains one of the best examples left in California of a First State Highway Bond Act road.
- Former US Route 101 and California State Route 198 in San Lucas. San Lucas is a small community located in Salinas Valley of Monterey County along Union Pacific Railroad. Modern US Route 101 and California State Route 198 both bypass San Lucas along alignments opened during 1972. The original alignment of US Route 101 was carried on Legislative Route Number 2 via a western frontage of San Lucas now known as Cattlemen Road. California State Route 198 originally followed Mary Street via Legislative Route Number 10 into San Lucas and Main Street. From Main Street California State Route 198 crossed the then Southern Pacific Railroad where it terminated at US Route 101 at the intersection of Cattlemen Road and Lockwood-San Lucas Road. Depicted above as the blog cover is a view from Cattlemen Road and Lockwood-San Lucas Road looking east to where California State Route 198 once began. Below the junction of US Route 101 and California State Route 198 can be seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Monterey County.