🛣 Headlines About California Highways – July 2023

Boy, we now look back fondly on the cloudy and dreary June, don’t we. It has been hot hot hot, with numerous days well over 100°, at least here in the San Fernando Valley. It makes me thankful that I (a) have LADWP (for the new Net Metering doesn’t apply to municipal electric), (b) I have a goodly sized solar system. I’ve recovered from my MOHS surgery. I haven’t had time for any road trips, but there should be some during August. I’ve also started work on the next round of updates to the highway pages, and expect those to be done sometime in September.

I’m also really happy because I finally have a reasonable solution to syncing my iTunes library to my Android phone (and am finally away from iSyncr, my previous solution). The new solution involves Syncthing, which is open-source software that runs on a variety of platforms that allows you to syncrhonize or mirror directories. So I mirror my iTunes Music library to my phone.  I then use GoneMad Media Player as my music player (as it works very well playing music stored locally on my phone, and has smart playlists).  Lastly, I have a perl script I’ve written that can take a saved stats.xml file from GMMP, combine it with the data in the iTunes Library.XML, and generate a new stats.xml file to load back into GMMP. This gives me my metadata. The script also produces copies of the playlists as .m3u files, suitable to copy to the phone. The only thing this doesn’t do is move metadata back into iTunes, but you can’t have everything. Email me if you need more details.

The last episode of the first season of the podcast is now up. Season 2 will have 10 episodes on Route 1, and two on Route 2. I’ll start writing the episodes in the next month or so, and hopefully we’ll be back in late September or October. Visit our Spotify for Podcast episodes page, our main podcast site, or use your favorite podcasting app to catch up on our back episodes. We have a 6-part series on the history of the state highway system, and a 4-part series on highway numbering.

What else? We’re still attending theatre: recent shows have included Beetlejuice at the Pantages; Cinderella at 5-Star, and Stew at the Pasadena Playhouse.

OK. You should be caught up now. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for July:


[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

  • California Highways: Route by Route logoCARxR 1.12: The Organizations of the State Highway System. We close season 1 of the podcast with an episode that focuses on the organizations involved with the State Highway System. In this episode, we discuss organizations you might have heard about, but don’t know about: The California Transportation Commission, the California Coastal Commission, Caltrans, the Regional Transportation Planning Agencies, and AASHTO. After this episode we’re taking a short break, but should be back in the fall when we’ll start exploring the California state highway system, route by route.

Back episodes are available at the Podcast’s forever home, as well as on its Spotify for Podcasters home. The Spotify (nee Anchor.FM) link also has links to the podcast’s page on most major podcasting services.

Highway Headlines

  • Caltrans earmarks $2.3B for future state transportation projects (The Sun-Gazette Newspaper). The California Transportation Commission recently invested close to $2 billion into improving the state’s transportation infrastructure. Not only that, the commission also approved an additional $2.3 billion for future projects in Fresno and Tulare County areas, including ones in Kingsburg, Visalia and Parlier. The nearly $2 billion allocation announced on June 29 reflects over $571 million in funding from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and over $257 million in funding from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
  • State grants extension for Highway 156 interchange project (KSBW 8). The Transportation Agency for Monterey County announced several extensions for the Highway 156/Castroville Boulevard project. The project, approved under Monterey County’s Measure X in 2016 by 67.7% of Monterey County voters, was initially delayed by PG&E utility relocation work. In May, TAMC announced that the project was not expected to meet all the criteria by the June 30 funding deadline. In their June meeting, the California Transportation Commission approved an environmental impact report for the project. A 12-month time extension was also approved to request the $20 million Trade Corridor Enhancement Program funding. The extension provides time for PG&E to complete the utility relocation work and for Caltrans to finish right-of-way certification.
  • California Invests Nearly $2 Billion in Transportation Infrastructure, Approves Another $2.3 Billion for Future Projects (Caltrans). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) this week invested nearly $2 billion into improving the state’s transportation infrastructure while approving an additional $2.3 billion for future projects. The nearly $2 billion allocation reflects more than $571 million in funding from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and more than $257 million in funding from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The $2.3 billion is comprised of $1.75 billion representing the third funding cycle of programs established by SB 1 and $540 million in active transportation projects sponsored by local metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), charting the course for future allocations. The additional $1.7 billion for future investments cover three SB 1 competitive grant programs: $1.1 billion for the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP); $507.4 million for the Solutions for Congested Corridors Program (SCCP); and $142.4 million for the Local Partnership Program (LPP). The programs included, for the first time, input from the new Interagency Equity Advisory Committee in the evaluation of projects. This funding round also marks the first cycle to incorporate all principles of the state’s Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure.
  • State Awards $132.4 Million of Infrastructure Funding to Santa Barbara Highway 101 Project (Noozhawk). The California Transportation Commission has awarded $132.4 million to the Santa Barbara portion of the massive Highway 101 project. The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and Caltrans received the funding last week, and it is the “second highest funded project in California to receive competitive Senate Bill 1 program funding,” according to SBCAG. The award comes from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Senate Bill 1 grant programs, a $2 billion investment by the state.
  • $132.4M Awarded to Santa Barbara Hwy 101 Multimodal Corridor Project (Edhat). The California Transportation Commission approved a $132.4 million award for the Santa Barbara U.S. 101 Multimodal Corridor Project on Wednesday in Suisun City, Solano County. The approval came as part of a $2 billion investment announced by the state from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and competitive Senate Bill 1 (SB1) grant programs. The commission awarded Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) $132.4 million to complete construction of Highway 101 improvements and carpool lanes in Montecito and the City of Santa Barbara to the Hermosillo Road off-ramp, while also providing planned electric buses for Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District, coastal access improvements, zero emission vehicle charging and contactless card readers for the Coastal Express operated by the Ventura County Transportation Commission.
  • County, city working on roundabout projects (Tehachapi News). Roundabouts — sometimes called traffic circles — are coming to Tehachapi. At least two projects are in the works — one in the Cummings Valley and the other at the intersection of Tucker and Highline roads in Tehachapi Valley. Jay Schlosser, development services director for the city of Tehachapi, introduced the proposed project at Tucker and Highline — at the southeastern corner of the city — to members of the City Council at a special meeting on June 29. The council, in partnership with Kern County, unanimously approved an application for funding for the project.

  • Project aims to ease traffic, reduce accidents on 57/60 ‘choke point’ (Daily News). Federal, state and local officials have launched the third phase of the State Route 57/60 Confluence Chokepoint Relief Project. With a total cost of $444.12 million, officials say the changes aim to relieve traffic congestion at “one of the most complex and problematic freeway junctions in the nation.” Once complete, officials said it will enhance traffic flow, alleviate congestion, improve commuter safety and air quality and increase the efficiency of the movement of goods. “We are excited to be breaking ground on this regional highway priority project,” San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments President and Monrovia Mayor Becky Shevlin said in a statement. “For decades, the SR 57/60 confluence has been a constant burden for commuters and businesses in our region, solidifying its position as California’s most notorious truck bottleneck. Today, we take a significant step forward in addressing those traffic challenges head-on.”
  • State awards Caltrans funds for Highway 101 improvements (Coastal View). The California Transportation Commission awarded $132.4 million to the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for the U.S. Multimodal Corridor Project, which covers improvements to Highway 101, and the completion of carpool lanes in Montecito and Santa Barbara. The award was part of a $2 billion investment announced by the state from the 2021 Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Senate Bill 1 (SB1) grant programs. “SB 1 continues to deliver funding to the highest priority transportation projects within our district and all across California,” said Senator Monique Limón in a press release. “I am excited to see Highway 101 take these crucial steps towards being completed and becoming a model for zero-emission transportation on the Central Coast and throughout the state.”
  • $65M grant awarded to project aimed at easing congestion on Highway 101 (KSBY). The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments received a $65 million grant from the California Transportation Commission to fund a new project that would expand Highway 101 through Pismo Beach. The project aims to alleviate a nightmare many drivers face and try to avoid. “I am well aware of the traffic on the one highway there, so it just seems to get worse year after year,” said Jerry Alcorn, visiting from Fullerton. “Weekends are worse with the RVs and everything else coming into town,” added Shell Beach resident Ed Lubinsky.
  • Second Otay Mesa border crossing may open later than planned (Los Angeles Times). The anticipated second Otay Mesa border crossing project, also known as Otay II, could take longer than originally announced. It is now estimated that the newest port of entry could open in 2026 instead of late 2024. However, the project manager on the U.S. side said they were working around the clock in hopes of opening it before then. On Friday, the San Diego Assn. of Governments, known as SANDAG, and the California Department of Transportation — agencies in charge of the Otay Mesa East project — were granted $140-million from the California Transportation Committee for the project. This completed the funding strategy for the $1.2-billion project, said Mario Orso, project manager with Caltrans.
  • Highway 218 construction project could cause delays in Seaside starting Monday (KSBW). A construction project on Highway 218, which is also Canyon Del Rey Boulevard, is scheduled to begin work Monday, July 10. Curbs and sidewalks will be constructed to create ADA-compliant pedestrian access. Signal and lighting systems will also be modified on Canyon Del Rey Blvd. between Del Monte Blvd. and Fremont Blvd. During construction, residents, and businesses with driveways along Hwy. 218 will have intermittent restricted access to their driveways and may need to park on nearby side streets.
  • More than $260 million in projects will improve Highway 58 over next five years (Tehachapi News). More than $260 million in improvements to Highway 58 between Tehachapi and Bakersfield are in the works over the next five years. Last week, the Kern Council of Governments announced that the California Transportation Commission awarded $9.3 million for the final ramp for the interchange at Highway 99 and Highway 58 as part of more than $2.2 billion to fund projects across the state. According to a news release issued by KernCOG, the Highway 58 mainline connection from Highway 99 to the 7-mile Westside Parkway freeway is scheduled to open to traffic with a ribbon-cutting this September, providing connectivity to Interstate 5 via Stockdale Highway west of Bakersfield.
  • I-5 Project to Improve Natomas Traffic (Natomas Buzz via Joel W.). Caltrans broke ground today on the first phase of a project designed to improve traffic on Interstate 5 through Natomas. The $39 million project will include construction of new auxiliary lanes near the Sacramento International Airport and the addition of ramp meters as well as signage to help improve safety in the area, Caltrans officials said during today’s groundbreaking. The new lanes are designed to ease traffic congestion and improve flow, particularly where Interstate 5 and State Route 99 merge and at Del Paso Road and Arena Boulevard. Additional auxiliary lanes will allow for vehicles to exit the freeway earlier towards the Sacramento International Airport.
  • Iconic I-5 rest stop and restaurant bulldozed without warning (SFGate). The Apricot Tree is no more. Gone is the 9,000-square-foot, midcentury icon that set the Central California standard for the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles (or vice versa) road trip leisure stop. The mega stop, which featured a sit-down restaurant, a takeout spot and a large gift shop, was located on West Panoche Road in Firebaugh, 150 miles south of San Francisco. Conceived and built in the early 1970s, it was a spare-no-expenses, family-friendly roadside oasis — a fossil-fueled monument to the arrival of the freeway age.
  • San Jose Creek Bridge Replacement Construction Prompts Overnight Highway Closures in Goleta Beginning Tuesday (Noozhawk). Construction for the Caltrans project to replace the Highway 101 bridge over San Jose Creek is set to begin Tuesday night, while construction for the Highway 217 bridge project is expected to start next week. While Highway 101 will remain open during construction — which will consist of the northbound and southbound bridges being demolished and replaced in separate phases — drivers can expect to encounter lane closures. Two lanes in each direction will be closed during the overnight hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Tuesday through Friday morning, and one lane will remain open in both directions
  • Caltrans To Begin Long Term Project on State Route 140 | (Sierra News Online). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to begin a maintenance project to improve the roadway surface of State Route 140 (SR-140) between East Whitlock Road and the Yosemite National Park entrance in Mariposa County. The project will repair and replace deteriorating pavement work. The pavement work will include repairing failed roadway surface locations using hot-mix asphalt and installing concrete barriers and transitions, guardrails, signage, and new electrical systems. Overnight, alternating lane closures on eastbound and westbound SR-140 will be required for motorists, roadway workers, and equipment safety.
  • Future 405 Freeway lanes in OC set to open by the end of the year (ABC7 Los Angeles). A $2.1 billion project to improve the 405 Freeway in Orange County is almost finished, and it’s set to be completed by the end of this year. “The freeway lanes are congested. The carpool lanes have been congested and what this project will do is create a better freeway for anybody that drives through the area,” said Joel Zlotnik, a spokesperson for the Orange County Transportation Authority. The project adds one general lane in each direction between Costa Mesa and the Orange County and Los Angeles County line. Zlotnik said it also creates a second lane that combines with the existing carpool lane to create the 405 Express Lanes.
  • Caltrans, local teens seek to make highways beautiful (Chico Enterprise-Record). Tile and metal mosaics, dry creek beds and non-irrigation landscaping are among the improvements that will greet travelers on Highway 70 at both the Highway 162 and Montgomery Street interchanges. The dual-site beautification project is one of 126 similar projects along state highway systems funded through Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2022 $1.2 billion Caltrans Clean California initiative. The initiative funding for the Oroville project is $1.8 million and the work is slated for completion by the end of July. Designed to foster cultural connections and civic pride, the projects, 98% of which are in under-served communities throughout the state, are 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, according to Kevin Murphy, Caltrans District 3 public information officer.
  • Bike lanes along El Camino? Caltrans proposal catches Palo Alto off balance (Almanac Online). Palo Alto famously loves to bike, as its expanding network of bike boulevards, school routes and new projects like the bike bridge over U.S. Highway 101 demonstrate. Even so, the idea of installing bicycle lanes along El Camino Real has proven to be a hard sell for the local community despite years of analysis and pockets of support from regional planners and transportation officials. During the pandemic, a joint effort by Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City and Menlo Park released a Peninsula Bikeway study, which explored different options for creating a “bicycle superhighway” that would span the four Peninsula communities.
  • Drivers on the 405 Freeway in O.C. could pay $10 tolls, get extra lanes. Would it help with traffic? (Los Angeles Times). Commuters on the 405 Freeway in Orange County could soon be driving in new lanes and paying tolls of nearly $10 to use the express lanes during peak hours. But some experts raised doubts that expanding the freeway could mitigate traffic. The project will span 16 miles between Costa Mesa and the L.A. County line and add one regular lane in each direction, said Orange County Transportation Authority spokesperson Joel Zlotnik. It will also add a second lane that combines with the existing carpool lane to create the 405 Express Lanes.
  • Wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills moving closer to completion (ABC7 Los Angeles).  A major wildlife crossing for the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills is taking another big step forward. Crews are expected to pour 850 tons of wet concrete for the foundation of the bridge. The project will allow animals to move safely above the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon. Once completed, it’s expected to be one of the world’s largest wildlife animal crossings.
  • Long-term Highway 101 lane closure starts Monday, runs through January (KSBY). A long-term closure of both a northbound and southbound lane of Highway 101 about a mile and a half south of Buellton starts Monday, July 17 at 7 p.m. The right, or No. 2, lanes in both directions from the Nojoqui Creek bridge to south of the Santa Rosa Road overcrossing will be closed until mid-January 2024 as a Caltrans contractor begins a bridge-widening project. There will be five-foot shoulders through the construction zone for bicyclists. The project will widen the northbound and southbound bridges by 10 feet.
  • Bay Area drivers may get automatic tickets for going 11 mph over limit (SFGate). Drivers may soon get speeding tickets without ever talking to an officer, if a bill gets approved authorizing speed limit cameras. The program would give speeding drivers a ticket by using speed cameras and an automatic billing system, according to Assembly Bill 645. “The speed safety system shall capture images of the rear license plate of vehicles that are traveling 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit and notices of violation shall only be issued to vehicles based on that evidence,” the bill states. Fines would start at $50 for going 11 mph over the posted speed limit and increase from there.
  • Committee OKs eight projects for $379 million in RM 3 cash (The Bay Link Blog). MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee today approved an allocation of $379 million in Regional Measure 3 toll dollars to fund eight transportation projects across the Bay Area. The committee’s recommendation will be considered by the full Commission at its July 26 meeting. Among the allocations recommended is $130 million for construction of the VTA Eastridge to BART Regional Connector(link is external). The project is a 2.4-mile extension of VTA Light Rail from Alum Rock to Eastridge. The RM 3 dollars would complete a funding plan along with $313 million in VTA Measure A funds and about a $90 million state investment. Work would start this year with completion expected in 2028.
  • Bike lane on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge seen as major cause of pollution (CBS San Francisco). Bike lanes are typically seen as being environmentally friendly. But some Bay Area leaders say the one on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is causing an increase in pollution. “I’ve been here most of my life and I have a love for this city of Richmond,” said resident Joe Fisher. But what he hates is the commute across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. He says he’s tired of seeing cars idling endlessly, inching along the bridge with the bike lane empty, or – if not empty – at least under-utilized. “We don’t want to eliminate the bikers, that’s not what we’re trying to do,” said Fisher. “There’s only 17 bikers on average in the morning during that time. We just want to make it fair.”
  • Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path still underutilized as test run nears end (KTVU). A four-year program set to conclude in November will determine the worthiness of a bike and pedestrian pathway that eliminated a traffic lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the Bay Area. The bicycle and pedestrian path across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge cost taxpayers $20 million. Since the pathway’s opening in 2019, it has been severely underutilized, with only 281,000 bikes having used the bridge. In recent weeks, 139 bikes cross each weekday, and 434 bikes cross on weekends. The highest number to have crossed the bridge was last July last year, with 747 bikes.
  • 1970s: 120 Bypass gets green light (Manteca Bulletin). Manteca’s move away from a heavy dependence on agriculture and government jobs started in the 1970s. Spreckels Sugar was the biggest non-government employer when the decade started with 350 full-time and part-time jobs. The city had less than 10,000 residents. Ten years later, Indy Electronics displaced Spreckels as the top employer as almost 800 workers were working in the electronics plant. Indy was part of the Manteca Industrial Park that sprouted in former fields along South Main Street. The city’s population at the close of the 1970s was pushing 21,000.
  • Caltrans, TAMC to host Hwy. 68 Corridor Improvement Project open house (Monterey Herald). An “open house” to provide the public with an update on the Scenic Route 68 Corridor Improvement Project is planned for this week hosted by Caltrans District 5 and the Transportation Agency for Monterey County. The open house event is planned for Wednesday from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Hospitality Pavilion at WeatherTech Raceway, Laguna Seca, 1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway. The Scenic Route 68 Corridor Improvement Project aims to improve safety for motorists and wildlife and improve traffic flow along about 10 miles of State Route 68 between Monterey and Salinas. In addition to providing attendees with an update on the project, the open house will have an overview of upcoming events and present opportunities to provide public input on upcoming phases of the project.
  • Transportation infrastructure projects in Mendocino County announced (Ukiah Daily Journal). Several million dollars worth of highway work and tree removal in Mendocino County are included in a list of projects recently announced by the California Transportation Commission. In a press release, Caltrans explains that “the nearly $2 billion allocation (by the CTC) reflects more than $571 million in funding from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and more than $257 million in funding from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. “SB 1 and IIJA funding are helping rebuild and transform California’s transportation future, and we are putting that investment to work to create a system that allows all of us to travel in an equitable, safe and sustainable way,” Caltrans Director Tony Tavares is quoted as saying in the release. The local projects include: …
  • Caltrans to repair 17 bridges in 3 different counties (Action News Now). Caltrans announced today that they are getting ready for a bridge maintenance project. Work will start July 24 and they will be repairing 17 bridges in Lassen, Plumas and Tehama Counties. Caltrans said this work will improve travel and facilitate goods movement. Operations on the project will include polyester concrete overlays and joint seal and abutment work. “These bridge repairs are vital for keeping the structures in good shape for the movement of people and goods throughout Northern California and beyond,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares in a press release. “Thanks to accelerated funding from SB 1, this important project is set to begin soon and will conduct the needed rehabilitation efforts to keep traffic moving safely on these structures for years to come.”
  • Senator Grove Applauds Funding for Critical Highway 58 Upgrades (Mojave Desert News). Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) today applauded the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans Director Tony Tavares for supporting improvements to Highway 58 between Tehachapi and Bakersfield. The Senator joined with the City of Tehachapi and Kern COG to successfully persuade Caltrans to accelerate funding for a truck climbing lane on eastbound 58 through the Tehachapi Mountains. “I want to thank Director Tavares for being receptive to the needs of our Tehachapi community, as well as recognizing Highway 58’s critical contribution to the state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Grove. “This truck climbing lane will reduce traffic congestion through the mountains and improve traffic safety.” The new truck climbing lane will be constructed at the same time as the Keene Pavement Project, a $165 million project approved by the California Transportation Commission that makes numerous highway improvements. While Highway 58 is an important transportation route for the Tehachapi community, it is also critical for the region’s economy, in addition to providing an alternative route for more major thoroughfares such as Highway 99 in times of emergency.
  • Tioga Road reopening, bringing access back to the high country (Los Angeles Times). After a summer of standstills, some relief may finally be on the way for traffic-weary visitors to Yosemite National Park. Tioga Road, a scenic route that provides access to the high country and also serves as the park’s eastern entry point, will open 8 a.m. Saturday after months of being smothered with snow and ice, according to the National Park Service. It’s an unprecedentedly late reopening for the two-lane road, which continues Highway 120 across the park and through the Sierra Nevada — meandering past granite cliffs and lush meadows.
  • Caltrans: No estimated reopening of Highway 1 near Big Sur (KSBY). Caltrans officials do not have an estimated reopening date for Highway 1 in the Big Sur area. Officials say due to recent continued slide activity at the repair site at Paul’s Slide, an estimate for a possible reopening date for Highway 1 will not be attempted until further Geotech investigations are completed. Geotech teams continue to study drone imagery and other measurements of recent slide activity. Officials say since the mountain continues to move it is difficult to schedule and exact opening date.
  • 17 vacant homes in old 710 Freeway route to be bought by Pasadena, sold to public (Press Telegram). For the first time in 60 years, a large group of vacant houses owned by the state of California within the path of the defunct 710 Freeway extension will be purchased by the city of Pasadena, then re-sold by brokers to private buyers and families to occupy. Caltrans, the owners of about 100 properties in Pasadena located on both sides of the 710 ditch, along St. John Avenue, Pasadena Avenue, State Street and side streets since the mid 1960s, has released 17 vacant single-family homes to the city for acquisition, said Bill Huang, Pasadena’s housing director on Wednesday, July 19. By Tuesday, July 25, the city will choose from several interested real estate brokers. The staff will go to the City Council by the end of summer for approval of the specific, vacant homes the city will buy, as well as the brokers chosen to re-sell the properties to the public, he said.
  • California On Schedule to Launch Second Road Charge Pilot Program (Planetizen News). Unlike the federal mileage fee pilot program authorized by the 2021 Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act, a committee under the state Transportation Commission met the initial deadline specified in state legislation that also passed in 2021 requiring the California State Transportation Agency to conduct a second road usage charge pilot program “as an alternative to the gas tax system.” “The Road Usage Charge Technical Advisory Committee shall, by no later than July 1, 2023, make recommendations to the Transportation Agency on the design of the pilot program to test revenue collection, including the group of vehicles to participate in the pilot,” states Senate Bill 399 authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 24, 2021.
  • L.A. Freeway Expansion to Move Ahead, Sans Displacement (Planetizen News). In a victory for freeway fighters and anti-displacement activists, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced the Metro and Caltrans 605 Freeway Corridor Improvement Project (605CIP), which, per its initial plans, would have displaced hundreds of residents and impacted more than a thousand parcels in the area. The news was announced by Metro Senior Director of Countywide Planning and Development Isidro Pánuco at a meeting of the Metro Board Planning and Programming Committee on Wednesday and reported by Joe Linton in Streetsblog LA. “This is the first time that Metro staff has announced publicly and unequivocally that the 605CIP will not demolish homes,” Linton notes. “Nevertheless, Metro and Caltrans are still planning to proceed with widening the 605, the 5, and many many more Southern California freeways during a time when the dire impacts of the global climate catastrophe are becoming increasingly hard to ignore.”
  • Rolling up an (un)welcome mat: City pushes for completion, hardscaping of Highway 99 (bakersfield.com). Much like in the game of American football, daily traffic along Highway 99 is often a contest of inches. From the morning rush to the evening gridlock, cars and semi trucks edge out one another for space. Brakes are slammed and wheels are weaved between other cars, debris and intermittent potholes. Lanes open and close by signal of a radar stand and traffic cones, many of which are squashed or strewn against the shoulder, next to shredded tires and trash. Since January, there have been 27 city-issued traffic advisories, most of which involve some construction that can result in closed lanes, shoulders or other obstacles that can create traffic and headaches among those who drive Highway 99 every day. Apart from being a crucial concrete artery that cuts through the city, Highway 99 is often the first and last impression on those traveling between Northern and Southern California.
  • Residents Voice Concerns Over Vincent Thomas Bridge Repairs (Random Lengths News). The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, is planning on shutting down the Vincent Thomas Bridge either completely or partially in 2025, to replace its aging deck. However, this will create a number of logistical problems, with Wilmington being hit the hardest. One of the big problems with the project is where traffic will be rerouted if the bridge is shut down completely, or even partially. The proposed route plans will reroute traffic through Wilmington. Ashley Hernandez, a Wilmington resident and organizer with Communities for a Better Environment, said that the high volume of truck traffic that goes through Wilmington on a daily basis is already a big concern, especially on Anaheim and Pacific Coast Highway. Caltrans’ proposed alternate routes would bring more truck traffic and the pollution that comes with it.
  • Santa Barbara’s Highway 101 Widening Project Avoids ‘Nightmare Scenario’ (Santa Barbara Independent). To the commuters who face daily congestion and traffic jams along the U.S. 101: Fear not. A nightmare scenario has been avoided. On Monday morning, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) celebrated a $132.4 million award for the Santa Barbara U.S. 101 Multimodal Corridor. Approved by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), the money will fund Highway 101 improvements in southern Santa Barbara County. CTC Commissioner Hilary Norton presented the ceremonial check to local officials amid ongoing construction at the San Ysidro Overcrossing, right above the frequently congested stretch of highway between Montecito and Summerland.
  • Giant crack in bluffs above PCH spurs emergency repairs (Los Angeles Times). The huge fissure running down the bluffs above Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica is hard to miss and was likely caused by heavy rains that soaked Southern California earlier this year, according to city officials. Months after the rain stopped, a portion of the bluffs appears to be in danger of crashing down onto the roadway below. The city will close some lanes of the highway Tuesday night to remove 2,000 to 4,000 cubic feet of earth as crews break away the soil column that has detached from the bluffs, said Rick Valte, the director of the Santa Monica Public Works Department.
  • Caltrans road, bridge projects in Tehama County (Corning Observer). The California Department of Transportation District 2 (Caltrans) has several projects slated for Tehama County roadways and bridges in the near future. Along with Stimpel-Wiebelhaus Associates, Caltrans is preparing to begin work on a pavement repair project on State Route 32 west of the junction with State Route 36 in Tehama County, and State Route 99E at the Butte and Tehama counties line north to Los Molinos. These projects are among several others in District 2 utilizing $7.3 million to replace asphalt concrete through dig outs. Other projects are in Shasta, Siskiyou, Plumas and Modoc counties.
  • Keeping up with the Hwy 25 curve alignment project (BenitoLink). The Caltrans Hwy 25 curve alignment restoration project has been even more difficult to navigate than the meandering scenic highway in southern San Benito County. The original 2015 project was designed to straighten out a double curve around a hill that the agency considered dangerous to motorists. The poorly designed project has become a money pit. According to the Traffic Accident Surveillance and Analysis System (TASAS), Caltrans claims the “rate of fatalities and injuries at the location was 12.07 times higher than the average.” Local ranchers told BenitoLink they couldn’t recall any collisions there. In 2020, BenitoLink reported that Officer Mike Rigby, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol in King City, said there was no way to determine how many traffic accidents actually occurred at any specific site along Hwy 25.
  • Part of Eastshore Highway in Berkeley closed for Caltrans project (Berkeleyside). Update, July 31: After several delays, the closure of the one-block stretch of Eastshore Highway is now closed, Caltrans said Saturday. The block will remain closed until the end of September as construction crews work on a roundabout at the I-80-Gilman interchange. There is no pedestrian access on Eastshore Highway during this period. Second Street north of Gilman is open to two-way traffic and sidewalks will remain open.
  • Contractors Ready for Billions in Caltrans Spending (Construction Equipment Guide). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) recently invested nearly $2 billion into improving the state’s transportation infrastructure while approving an additional $2.3 billion for future construction projects. The nearly $2 billion allocation reflected more than $571 million in funding from the 2021 federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and more than $257 million in funding from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The $2.3 billion consists of $1.75 billion representing the third funding cycle of programs established by SB 1 and $540 million in active transportation projects sponsored by local metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), charting the course for future allocations.
  • Caltrans to activate Hwy 58, 99 ramp meters (KGET). Ramp meters installed at several ramps along highways 58 and 99 to make merging into traffic safer are set to be activated in August. Caltrans said the ramp meters are scheduled to be activated on Aug. 7, but drivers will begin to see them lit on July 31. The ramp meters will be located at: …
  • SANDAG’S embattled Hasan Ikhrata to leave agency by end of year(San Diego Union-Tribune). Hasan Ikhrata, the sometimes polarizing executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments, submitted his resignation to the board of the planning and transportation agency late Friday. His final day will be Dec. 29. Sources close to Ikhrata told the Union-Tribune that he began calling some board members earlier this week to advise them of his impending departure. “I’m honored and humbled that I have served this region for the past five years. I’m proud of the achievements, which would have taken decades in other places to accomplish. I’m proud of the vision we built for the region,” Ikhrata told the Union-Tribune late Friday. “I will admit my relations with the board haven’t been the best but we managed to do all these amazing things regardless of this relationship.”
  • New express lanes meet expectations in San Mateo County | Local News | smdailyjournal.com (San Mateo Daily Journal). Initial usage data about the San Mateo County Express Lanes show the program is meeting expectations, according to transit officials pleased with the initial progress. Sean Charpentier, the executive director of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, or C/CAG, said the express lanes covering 22 miles on Highway 101 running from South San Francisco to the southern county border are working as planned. Data shows the express lanes offer a trip that is 12 mph faster than the general purpose lanes during peak commute hours. Based on declared occupancy data, about 40% of drivers were HOV, 23% were single occupancy vehicles and 35% did not have a FasTrak transponder in the car. In May, the average toll paid for a vehicle during peak commute hours in an express lane was about $4.35.
  • Alaska – 50th State Added to the site (AARoads). 23 years after AARoads was started, we finally added coverage of Alaska, the 50th State and the last not previously covered on the site. Our initial updates includes photos taken in May 2023 south to Soldotna, north to Fairbanks and Fox and east to Yukon at Alcan Border. Also scanned a number of road maps from the 1960s and 70s to go along with some of our research. While representing the largest state, The Last Frontier has a limited number of roads, and just 12 numbered state routes. Although better known by their names, the routes are:
  • Partial ‘cloverleaf’ interchange proposed at Highway 46 and Union Road (Paso Robles Daily News). Caltrans and the City of Paso Robles propose to construct, in two phases, an overcrossing and partial cloverleaf interchange at the intersection of Highway 46 East and Union Road/Paso Robles Boulevard. Caltrans and the city have completed a draft initial study with the proposed mitigated negative declaration/environmental assessment for the proposed State Route 46 East/Union Road intersection improvement project. They are now hosting a public meeting to review environmental assessment study results and gather public input on the project.
  • Big park to replace unbuilt Santa Rosa freeway (Northern California Public Media). It’s not often that a local city council meeting is interrupted by a standing ovation, but after years of agitation and a decade long wait, Santa Rosa is moving forward with plans for a two-mile-long linear park. It will extend downhill from Spring Lake and Trione-Annadel State Park to Farmers Lane. Action earlier this week clears the way for city administrators to finalize and ink a deal with Caltrans for Santa Rosa to buy the strip of land, assembled more than a half century ago. Originally it was meant to serve as an extension of Highway 12’s freeway section over what’s now Spring Lake Park and over the ridge to north of Oakmont. Grassroots neighborhood opposition in the late ’80s and 90’s stopped that. Just over $2 million dollars has been raised for the purchase. Officials expect to have money left over, hinting they expect a lower price, though details of the negotiations haven’t been disclosed.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • California State Route 56. California State Route 56 is an approximately 9.84-mile State Highway located in the city of San Diego. California State Route 56 begins at Interstate 5 in the San Diego neighborhood of Carmel Valley and ends Interstate 15 in the neighborhood of Rancho Peñasquitos. The constructed portion of California State Route 56 has been complete since 2004 and is known as the Ted Williams Freeway. California State Route 56 has an unconstructed segment east of Interstate 15 to California State Route 67.
  • California State Route 115. California State Route 115 is a 35.24-mile State Highway located in Imperial Valley of Imperial County. California State Route 115 begins at California State Route 111 in Calipateria and ends at Interstate 8 east of Holtville. California State Route 115 first appeared on State Highway maps during 1956 over a segment of Legislative Route Number 187 and Legislative Route Number 201. California State Route 115 was realigned onto a bypass of Holtville during 1959 and originally had a southern terminus at Bonds Corner. During 1972 the southern terminus of California State Route 115 was shifted east of Holtville to Interstate 8.
  • Former California State Route 49 and California State Route 120 through Jacksonville. Jacksonville was a California Gold Rush mining community located on the Tuolumne River of southwest Tuolumne County. The original alignments of California State Route 49 and California State Route 120 both once passed through the town site of Jacksonville. Jacksonville was razed during 1967-71 to make way for the expanded Don Pedro Lake which inundated the town site. Featured as the cover photo is California State Route 49 and California State Route 120 near Jacksonville as seen in the July/August 1963 California Highways & Public Works. Below the original alignments of California State Route 49 and California State Route 120 in the Jacksonville area can be seen contrasted to the modern highway alignments.
  • O’Bryne’s Ferry Covered Bridge. O’Bryne’s Ferry Covered Bridge was a structure located at the Stanislaus River along the Tuolumne County and Calaveras County line. O’Bryne’s Ferry Covered Bridge was constructed during 1862 as a replacement for an earlier suspension bridge. O’Bryne’s Ferry Covered Bridge was removed during 1955 as part of the Tri-Dam project which formed Lake Tulloch. O’Bryne’s Ferry Covered Bridge can be seen as the blog cover photo as featured in the September 1950 California Highways & Public Works.

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