🛣 Headlines About California Highways – December 2023

2023 is rapidly coming to a close, and so I wanted to get the December headline post out a little early. The primary reason is that I need to go through the December headlines to finish off the November/December updates to the highway pages. You can expect that post to follow on the heels of this one, pretty shortly. There may also be another podcast episode, but we’re having trouble scheduling the recording session. So it’s more likely you’ll get 2-3 episodes in January to make up for a light December. Next up: The election year of 2024. Oh. Boy.

December was busy, what with the conference in Austin at the beginning of the month, and our daughter coming into town. We got one episode recorded and up — and it was an interesting one, talking all about Big Sur and the impact of highway closures there. We had planned on recording another episode this week, but various issues have delayed that. I hope we’ll be able to record it this weekend, and perhaps I’ll get it edited and up — but who knows. On the positive side, the scripts for the two Route 2 episodes are written and being reviewed. A short break, and then I’ll start researching and writing Season 3, covering Route 3 through Route 7. As always, you can keep up with the show at the podcast’s forever home at https://www.caroutebyroute.org , the show’s page on Spotify for Podcasters, or you can subscribe through your favorite podcaster or via the RSS feeds (CARxR, Spotify for Podcasters) . The following episodes have been posted this month:

  • California Highways: Route by Route logoCA RxR 2.04: Route 1: San Luis Obispo (SLO) and Big Sur.  In Episode 2.04 of California Highways: Route by Route, we continue our exploration of Route 1 by exploring everything about the segment in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County and the portion in Monterey County up through Big Sur until just S of Carmel. This includes the Five Cities (Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, Shell Beach (actually part of Pismo Beach), Arroyo Grande, and Oceano (unincorporated county land serviced by the Oceano Community Services District)), San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Cambria, and San Simeon, as well as the (in)famous Big Sur. This episode also features an interview with Anneliese Ågren, a resident of Big Sur. As always, we go over the history of this segment of the route, the history of the route through various communities , the freeway plans, discuss relinquishments, names, and some current plans. We also talk about the history of slides on the Sur, and what people should know about the impacts of those slides. Looking forward, episode 2.05 will continue our exploration of Route 1 with the portions in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo county from Carmel through Devil’s Slide (Montara). (Spotify Link)

The updates to California Highways are nearly done; I just need to incorporate this headlines post. Other than that, theatre reviews have started up again. I’ve posted “new style” reviews for A Christmas Story – The Musical at the Ahmanson, and MJ – The Musical at the Pantages, as well as my plan for theatre reviewing going forward in 2024 (which includes a summary of my 2023 shows).

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2024. Please spread the word about the California Highways: Route by Route podcast. Review it, rate it, share it. If you’re listening to the early episodes — yes, the sound quality does get better (I’ve learned a lot about audio editing). You’ll find it in your favorite podcatchers; you can also just subscribe to the RSS feed.  If you listen through Spotify or a podcatcher, I may even see the numbers go up. The Spotify RSS feed is here.  Our most played episode is just under 150 listens according to Spotify; for this season, the best is at 71 (Route 1 in LA County). I’d love to see the numbers grow.

Well, you should now be up to date. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for December:


[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

  • Caltrans Announces Public Information Meeting for Proposed State Route 154 and Foxen Canyon Road Intersection Improvements (The Santa Barbara Independent). Caltrans District 5 will hold a Public Information Meeting regarding a proposal to implement improvements at the intersection of State Route 154 and Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos. The public is invited to this meeting which will be held in an open house format at the St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in Los Olivos on Tuesday December 12th from 6 pm until 8 pm. The public will be able to learn more about this project, view informational displays and ask questions of the project team, including staff from engineering, traffic operations and environmental. Caltrans considered current and future traffic volumes, collision data, and other factors to identify feasible safety enhancements that would address a pattern of collisions at the intersection and support safe and efficient travel for all users now and into the future. The preliminary evaluation indicates that a traffic signal or a roundabout would be feasible alternatives at the intersection. Now that the preliminary evaluation is complete, we will lead a more detailed analysis to identify a preferred solution, and we are looking for public input.
  • Google apologizes for trapping Calif. drivers in the desert (SFGate). Google has apologized for sending a gaggle of Californians on a road to nowhere in the desert as they tried to make their way home from Las Vegas. The apology comes after Shelby Easler went viral on TikTok for documenting her experience after Google Maps promised her family a faster way out than Interstate 15. “The minute we got in the car to leave from Vegas, it popped up on Google Maps as a suggested alternative route to avoid the dust storm,” Easler told SFGATE over Instagram DMs.
  • Toll lanes open on 405 Fwy in Orange County (KTLA). It’s finally here, Orange County. On Friday, new express lanes on the 405 Freeway opened, providing what officials say is a faster option for those willing to pay and less congestion for those who aren’t. “Everyone is going to benefit from this program,” Darrell Johnson, CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority, told KTLA’s Ginger Chan. “We’re very proud of the work that we’ve done with our partners at Caltrans and all of the cities along the corridor.” The lanes, which span 16 miles from the 605 Freeway at the Los Angeles County line to State Road 73 in Costa Mesa, use electronic tolling, requiring drivers to have a FasTrak transponder.
  • Mammoth $2 billion 405 Freeway project completes with express lanes opening (Los Angeles Times). The opening of new express lanes on the 405 Freeway in northwest Orange County on Friday marked the final step of a massive $2.16-billion highway improvement project. But in many ways, it also wrapped up one of the region’s last major freeway expansions as transportation officials move toward more sustainable and efficient investments. “The era of the big highway projects are over,” said Marlon Boarnet, an urban planning professor at USC and the director of the METRANS Transportation Consortium. “The big, big highway projects are going to become more rare. … [Future work] is going to become much more part of a more balanced system.”
  • LAFD Finds Nearly 2 Dozen Freeway Underpasses Need Fixing (LAist). In the wake of the 10 Freeway fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department inspected all state-owned freeway underpasses in the city and has identified nearly two dozen properties with violations. LAFD inspectors reviewed 50 underpass properties that are similar to where that massive fire sparked in downtown L.A., and 23 of them were referred to the State Fire Marshal for fire code violations. In addition to fire code issues, inspectors were looking for health and safety code violations. Specifically, LAFD looked at hazardous materials storage that exceeds the state reporting threshold of 55 gallons of liquid, 200 cubic feet of gas, and 500 pounds of a solid. LAFD also kept an eye out for improper storage or use of hazardous materials.
  • Driving on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu is about to change (KTLA). An ambitious multi-million-dollar project begins Monday to improve safety and traffic flow along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, including the area where four Pepperdine University students were killed in a crash in October. As part of the “Traffic Signal Synchronization Project,” crews will install communication lines between existing traffic signals on PCH between John Tyler Drive and Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Officials said this will allow signals to be controlled remotely by Caltrans to lower speeds and reduce congestion.

  • Carmageddon: Highway 1 expansion, rail trail and the latest roadwork (Lookout Santa Cruz). The multitude of road and infrastructure projects in the works around Santa Cruz County need to go through several steps before they can break ground. That includes environmental review, applying for funding and seeking public input. With more major road projects on the way, Santa Cruzans will have a chance to give their thoughts on that upcoming work this week. Though the Highway 1 expansion project is well underway, the third and final phase of the project is still in the environmental review stage. In June, the California Transportation Commission staff recommended that the agency reject the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s (RTC) request to fund the phase in June. The RTC plans to reapply for funding in 2025, but this week, it will hold a public input event as staff prepares for the design phase.
  • Centennial Corridor near completion-CalTrans, Bakersfield (KBAK – Bakersfield Now). It may be an early Christmas gift for Bakersfield commuters. The Centennial Corridor is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. However, there are doubts on the completion date. The project connects CA-99 to CA-58 bypassing a large stretch of Rosedale Highway. An exclusive statement shared with Eyewitness News from the City of Bakersfield said “We understand the Centennial Corridor Project is of great interest to the community. We estimate that the Centennial Corridor is about 99% complete at this time.”
  • Three California freeways among ‘most loathed highways’ in America: survey (Yahoo/KSWB). Brake lights, honking horns and drivers battling it out to the very end of merge lanes — all things in which California motorists are familiar with. For those who live in the Golden State, gridlocked traffic is nothing new. This may be why three California freeways are among the “most loathed highways in America,” according to a recent survey. Vehicle dealer Gunther Volvo Cars Daytona Beach surveyed 3,000 drivers across the U.S. in October 2023, and then ranked the top 100 most loathed roads to drive on based on those results.
  • Highway 1 at Paul’s Slide estimated to reopen in spring 2024 (KSBW). Caltrans announced the reopening date of Highway 1 in Big Sur, which has been closed following damaging winter storms, on Friday. According to Caltrans, the highway will reopen in late spring 2024. Months of work have been put into Paul’s Slide, where the highway was washed out from the 2023 winter storms. Caltrans noted that the upcoming winter could slow the reopening date if they are also destructive.
  • New state grant gives boost to Highway 37 upgrades (The Bay Link Blog). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) today approved a $50 million grant to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to help MTC, Caltrans and project partners advance transportation and ecological resilience along State Route 37 between Vallejo and Sears Point. This includes restoration of the tidal marsh known as Strip Marsh East in Solano County and replacement of the existing Highway 37 bridge over Tolay Creek in Sonoma County with a much longer bridge that will promote restoration of the historic San Pablo Baylands adjacent to and north of the highway by allowing more water to flow into and out of the creek channel.
  • Caltrans and Metro Using “Auxiliary Lane” Freeway Widening Loophole for Non-Aux Lane Projects (Streetsblog Los Angeles). Content warning: this one is wonky. It’s a sad tale, involving intricacies of state environmental law, and how agencies and departments – namely Metro and Caltrans – bypass environmental regulations in order to keep on widening freeways, so more drivers can pollute already-pollution-burdened communities. What is an Auxiliary Lane? Caltrans defines an Auxiliary Lane as “An outer lane on the right side of a freeway that begins at an on-ramp and ends at the following off-ramp.” Metro defines auxiliary lanes as “outside lanes extending between an on-ramp and a subsequent off-ramp.”
  • No, Opening a $2 Billion Freeway Expansion Project is Decidedly Not the End of Southland’s Freeway Era (Streetsblog Los Angeles). Hey! Did you hear that Southern California’s big freeway era is over? Spoiler: it isn’t. Caltrans and the Orange County Transportation Authority just opened their 16-mile $2.16 billion 405 Freeway widening project, which added four additional lanes from Seal Beach to Costa Mesa. Like much freeway expansion in whiter, more well-off communities, this project did not include any full property acquisitions (just partial takings “slivers,” mostly from parking lots), as it was nearly entirely within Caltrans right-of-way. The press are framing this 405 project as the end of an era.
  • California High Speed Rail Plans, Explained (California.Com). California’s ambitious plan to establish a high-speed rail system has been a topic of significant interest and debate. This project aims to transform transportation in the state, linking major cities with an efficient, sustainable, and fast mode of travel. The California High-Speed Rail (HSR) seeks to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, with extensions to Sacramento and San Diego, ultimately creating a new era in Californian mobility.
  • A guide to road safety and transportation terms and definitions (Oaklandside). Oakland residents have consistently told us that dangerous roads, traffic collisions, and crumbling infrastructure are top concerns they want the city to fix. That’s why we’ve made road safety and transit one of The Oaklandside’s core reporting beats. A big part of this work is explaining technical terms to readers, unpacking engineering concepts and road construction methods, and describing various pieces of infrastructure that are built onto roads and paths. As with any complex field of work, transportation policy and engineering can be dominated by jargon and obscure terms.
  • Caltrans Inspecting Sites Under Freeways And Bridges For Potential Risks (LAist). Following the fire that shut down a stretch of the 10 Freeway for just over a week, Caltrans has identified dozens of similar sites that could pose a safety risk. The state agency took inventory of all the so-called airspace sites, including evaluating details like how close they are to key infrastructure and what the sites are used for, and determined that 38 out of 601 active leases were potentially risky. However, according to the agency, “only a limited number of sites have been identified as presenting a specific fire or safety risk.” Publicly available data show that Caltrans inspected 21 sites along the 10 Freeway after the fire broke out on Nov. 11. The majority of those were for parking, while the others were identified as being used for industrial purposes. Caltrans also conducted an inspection of an airspace site along the 5 Freeway, as well as an inspection of four telecommunication tower sites in Orange County along the 73 Freeway.
  • Napa Valley Highway 29 roundabout, signal plans evolving (Napa Valley Register). More information has emerged for two proposed traffic control features on Highway 29 in the heart of Napa Valley wine country — an Oakville Cross Road roundabout and a Rutherford Road traffic signal. The two projects have a combined estimated construction cost of $6 million. Work could begin in summer 2024 and take about 16 months to complete. Several hundred pages of studies are available for public comment. They include a 109-page environmental study, a 67-page cultural resources study and even a seven-page construction vibrations study. The conclusion, after looking at potential California red-legged frog habitat and stormwater runoff and numerous other factors, is that the two projects, with mitigations, would have no major environmental impacts.
  • An old median near a Los Angeles freeway sat empty for years. Now it’s affordable housing (Fast Company). From a car windshield flying across an overpass, the new housing development in South Los Angeles may look like a freight-load of cargo: shipping containers, stacked four- and five-high like giant Legos, appear randomly arrayed near one of California’s largest and busiest freeway interchanges. In fact, the complex is meticulously designed to make the most of its challenging site on a triangular median and old railroad right-of-way in the city’s Broadway-Manchester district. The corrugated modules are oriented to minimize ambient traffic noise and to surround an open space landscaped with vegetation and irrigated by greywater that will help offset air pollution. When certified for occupancy early next year, “Isla Intersections” will provide 53 single-bedroom apartments, about 375-square-feet each, and onsite services—permanent supportive housing—for formerly unhoused individuals. Ten are allocated for formerly unhoused veterans.
  • Deceleration Lane Coming To Half-Mile Segment Of I-15 In Corona (Lake Elsinore, CA Patch). An Inland Empire lawmaker Thursday announced that Caltrans will move forward with reconfiguring a half-mile segment of Interstate 15 in Corona to facilitate safe flows of traffic onto a freeway exit. Assemblyman Bill Essayli, R-Norco, said that months of negotiations between his office and Caltrans officials had netted a positive outcome in the form of a $6 million project to add a “deceleration lane” to southbound I-15 between Old Temescal Road and East Ontario Avenue. “This project will help reduce traffic congestion and related collisions in the area — at no additional toll or cost to commuters,” Essayli said.
  • First glimpse of plans for $900 million bridge show giant arches, roundabout freeway entrance (Long Beach Post News). Long Beach officials revealed updated plans Saturday for a new $900 million bridge that is slated to replace the aging Shoemaker Bridge and add 5.6 acres of park space to Downtown, something the city hopes to complete by 2028. The new renderings show a modern cable-stayed bridge with 240-foot tall angled arches that meet in the middle of the 765-foot-wide bridge. Building the new structure is part of a plan to realign Shoreline Drive, which would significantly change how drivers enter and exit the 710 Freeway in Downtown. The current plans have cars using a new roundabout that will circulate traffic onto the bridge, 710 Freeway or city streets. Some other proposed features include a protected bike lane that would connect Fashion Avenue to the Los Angeles River bike path on the east side of the river as well as a pedestrian observation point on the south side of the bridge that looks toward Downtown. The design shown to the public has not been finalized.
  • Why Wikipedia’s highway editors took the exit ramp. (Slate). Wikipedia, road infrastructure, and drama—one of these things doesn’t sound like the other. But when Ben, also known as bmacs001, posted a TikTok video promising to “spill the tea” on how the site treats road and highway articles, the Wikipedia contributor suspected that people would find the topic intriguing: “Forty of Wikipedia’s most prolific editors have seceded and made their own wiki, and I’m among them.” Ben was part of the contingent of Wikipedia editors who contributed to the site’s pages covering road and highway infrastructure—everything from Interstate 80 and Route 66 to tinier highways on the side of the Jersey Shore. “We’ve been chugging along doing our own thing on the ’pedia for the past two decades now, but in the past couple of years, our little corner of the site has come under attack,” Ben said. Faced with so much hostility, Wikipedia’s highway enthusiasts felt they had no choice but to break away and form a separate project: AARoads Wiki.
  • Flurry of activity on North Bay highways as cash influx lets Caltrans tackle delayed projects (Northern California Public Media). Though Californians love to complain about pump prices, there’s no denying that the extra revenue is fueling work that’s easing bottlenecks, improving road safety, and reacting to rising seas. Higher gas and diesel taxes along with increased registration fees have hardly proven popular, though the influx of cash has allowed the state transportation agency, Caltrans, to tackle long-planned and delayed work up and down California–including plenty here in our own backyard. Perhaps the biggest—eliminating the Novato Narrows chokepoint—a perpetual rush hour jam where 101 shrinks to two lanes between Novato and Petaluma—is well underway, with completion expected in about 18 months. Other, less monumental work is also getting done.
  • Well-trafficked California highway rest stop to close for a year (SF Gate). A well-traveled California rest stop will be closed for an entire year starting Tuesday, Caltrans announced. CH Warlow Rest Area, located on California State Route 99 just south of Fresno, will close on Dec. 12. It’s expected that “wastewater, electrical and infrastructure upgrades” will take about 12 months to complete. If Google reviews are any indication, the rest stop is popular among motorists: It boasts a 4.3 star average out of over 600 reviews. Along with restrooms, the road stop has picnic tables, electric vehicle charging stations and a pet-friendly area. The rest stop was dedicated in 1970 to Chester Warlow, a State Highway Commission member from 1943 to 1961. Warlow grew up in Fresno and attended Stanford and Harvard Law, and oversaw 99 during a time when it carried “as much traffic as the rest of the state highways put together,” the Fresno Bee wrote in 1970.
  • Calif.’s high-speed rail linking LA, Vegas bucks trend, is on schedule (SF Gate). The trip between Las Vegas and Los Angeles can become a tumultuous trek. Interstate 15 is often backed up for miles, which Caltrans has addressed by temporarily opening the shoulder lane during peak traffic congestion. The 270-mile drive can take four to five hours with no traffic, but often stretches well past six hours during busy days. Some California drivers have attempted to bypass the slog by following a route supplied by Google Maps, only to end up stuck in the desert during a recent dust storm. America’s only private rail company says there’s a better way: a bullet train connecting the two regions in just over two hours. Brightline, which has successfully brought a passenger rail line to Miami and throughout Florida, has set its eyes on Southern California.
  • Work Continues Along State Route 20 in Nevada County (Yubanet). Caltrans is alerting motorists about lane restrictions along State Route 20 (SR-20) in Nevada County as part of the ongoing $54.6 million Omega Curves Safety Project. Occasional one-way traffic controls between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. are possible during the week at both the White Cloud and Lowell Hill segments through the end of the year. Crews are working on finishing touches of the project and installing the animal crossing fence.
  • CA Highlights Key Investments to Improve Crossings, Wait Times at US/Mexico Border (Times of San Diego). California State Transportation Agency Secretary Toks Omishakin and the San Diego Association of Governments Saturday joined state and local officials on the Siempre Viva Road Interchange to commemorate the completion of the roadway network connecting to the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. This is considered a critical investment in border region improvements to facilitate the movement of people and goods. During the ceremony, the agencies reiterated their shared commitment to keep people and goods flowing safely and efficiently between California and Mexico. To date, more than $1.5 billion of federal, state, and local transportation funding has been invested in Otay Mesa alone.
  • Highway 101 project to alleviate Pismo Beach traffic heads to Coastal Commission (New Times San Luis Obispo). Pismo Beach could give the California Coastal Commission full authority over construction improvements on the segment of Highway 101 that runs through the city. During a Dec. 5 City Council meeting, the council voted 3-2 on a proposal that would do just that with Councilmembers Scott Newton and Stacy Inman dissenting due to concerns over a lack of city control on the project and loss of Pismo Beach’s natural beauty.
  • Wildlife Crossing at Gaviota Pass Receives State Funding (Edhat). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been awarded $8 million to implement the Gaviota Pass Wildlife Connectivity and Vehicle Collision Reduction Project, aimed at mitigating wildlife-vehicle collisions and fostering connectivity between protected State Park lands flanking US 101. This initiative is part of the broader U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant program, which recently allocated $110 million across 19 wildlife crossing projects in 17 states, including four Indian Tribes. The Gaviota Pass Wildlife Project, proposed near US-101 from south of the Gaviota State Park to just south of the US 101/State Route 1 Interchange in Santa Barbara County, addresses wildlife connectivity barriers by enhancing an existing culvert and deploying 2.5 miles of wildlife fencing. These measures intend to create safer road conditions for drivers while preserving vital animal habitats. The funding for this endeavor stems from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which earmarks a total of $350 million over five years for the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program.
  • Hwy 127 from Baker to Tecopa and to Dumont Dunes is Reopen with Flagging Operations (Pain In The Pass). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues $28.1M emergency work on State Route 127 (Highway 127) to repair roadbed, pavement, backfill shoulders, armor erosion embankments, repair drainage, remove debris and address other structural damage sustained by recent summer monsoon storms.  Contractor crews are in the area clearing debris, performing roadbed repair, drainage repair and various other recovery efforts. On Monday, December 4 starting at 8 a.m., the route will be re-opened with flagging operations in place from Monday through Sunday. This is a 24-hour flagging operation, with piloting to direct traffic in both directions. Flagging operations will continue as needed due to severe undermined roadways and to allow for environmental mitigation operations to continue. The repair
    work is expected to continue through early spring 2024. The re-opening and repair timeline is weather and material dependent.
  • Rte 99/Turner Road Interchange (FB/District 10). Per the city of #Lodi the new SR-99/Turner Road Interchange will be open to traffic on Thursday, Dec. 14. The new traffic signal at Cherokee Lane/Pioneer Drive (SB SR-99 on-ramp) will begin all-way stop (red-flash) on Dec. 14, and fully-operational on Dec. 20, 2023.
  • $$ Pacific Coast Highway near Point Mugu to get retaining walls (VC Star). For years, waves slamming into Ventura County’s southern coast repeatedly washed out a steep bank along a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. The damage led to closures and costly construction on the state highway popular with drivers and cyclists. Most recently, the shoulder of the road cracked and crumbled as the bank eroded, leaving a section of guardrail hanging over the edge. Crews are now building two large retaining walls between the road and waves — work that Caltrans says will help protect against future damage and keep the road from failing. “This has been an area of concern for some time,” agency spokesman Jim Medina said. Similar retaining walls have been used by Caltrans elsewhere in the state, he said. The agency is more than two years into the $51 million project just south of Sycamore Cove, part of Point Mugu State Park. The construction site takes up a small stretch north of the popular Neptune’s Net restaurant. The highway not only has faced threats from rising sea levels and damaging surf but also debris flows. The coastal route has repeatedly been hit by mud and rock slides after wildfires in the adjacent Santa Monica Mountains. The highway closed for months after late 2014 downpours sent mud and rocks rushing down burned hillsides and over PCH.
  • Solano targeted for $314 million in Caltrans project money (Solano Daily Republic). Nine Solano County projects, with a total cost of $313.79 million, are listed in the draft 2024 State Highway Operation and Protection Program plan. They range from pavement improvement projects to bridge improvements and replacement, to drainage, guardrails and signage to replacement of the Fairfield Maintenance Station at 2019 W. Texas St. The list also includes a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System project at various locations from west of Interstate 780 to Highway 37. The NPDES is a permit program that addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.
  • December 11: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History (Metro’s Primary Resources). 1935: Work begins on modern improvements to the Conejo Grade. The highway between Newbury Park and Camarillo in Ventura County eliminates one of the most dangerous stretches of the “old coast highway” along the critical link of U.S. 101, and later opens on May 1, 1937.
  • Caltrans opens draft of state highway project list for public comment (Transportation Today). On Friday, Caltrans released its draft 2024 State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) plan for public comment. The draft is the state’s initial plan for maintaining and preserving California’s transportation infrastructure and outlines how the state will fund the approximately $16 billion in projects. The plan will be open for public comment through Jan. 19, 2024 and features a new interactive dashboard that details the location and specific for each of the nearly 600 projects in the state, including nearly 100 carryover projects where Caltrans added climate adaptation, additional safety protections and bike and pedestrian elements. The plan includes 195 new projects, totaling $6.2 billion, where planning work was completed after the state adopted its Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure in 2021. Those projects include climate, safety and multimodal features. The SHOPP covers fiscal years 2024 through 2028 and funds roadway and bridge rehabilitation or replacements, along with safety improvements, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, operational improvements and climate adaptation projects. See http://projectbook.dot.ca.gov/
  • Los Olivos Residents Renew Pleas for Safety Measures on Highway 154 at Foxen Canyon Road (Noozhawk). Los Olivos residents sought a quick solution to boost safety at a key intersection in their town, but Caltrans representatives said state laws don’t allow them to implement some of the suggestions. During a meeting Wednesday night in Los Olivos, Caltrans representatives shared the results of an evaluation along with near- and long-term fixes. The study stemmed from Los Olivos residents sharing harrowing stories about near-misses and bad crashes on Highway 154 during a meeting earlier this year and renewed the concerns Tuesday night.
  • ‘Sloppy’ Caltrans review for Fresno freeway project demands AG Rob Bonta’s scrutiny | Opinion (Fresno Bee). Fresno County wants to build a massive industrial park off Highway 99 that will negatively impact the health of south Fresno residents that already breathe some of the nation’s most polluted air. This glaring inequity has drawn the scrutiny of California Attorney General Rob Bonta, first in his March 2022 correspondence to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors and during local appearances since. “If choices are made that are unlawful, it’s our job to enforce the law and yes, we will get involved,” Bonta said during an August news conference in Fresno.
  • CalSTA flags leased spaces under San Diego freeways for potential safety risk (Yahoo!News). A review of a state program that rents space around California’s freeways launched after a pallet fire shut down a major Los Angeles freeway last month identified several sites in San Diego County with potential risks that could threaten major arteries. The preliminary assessment — the results of which were detailed in a Nov. 22 memo from State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) Secretary Toks Omishakin to Gov. Gavin Newsom — names 38 areas that are leased through the state’s Airspace and Telecommunications Licensing Program that were concerning to officials for possible safety risks and “warrant further inspection.”
  • Fresno County Receives Millions for Highway 180 Two-Way Left Turn Channelization as California Invests Another $1.1 Billion in Transportation Infrastructure – Includes Critical Climate Change Resiliency Funding (Sierra Sun Times). The California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Friday allocated $1.1 billion for projects that will repair and improve the caltrans logostate’s transportation infrastructure. The funding includes more than $300 million for projects across California that will make the system more climate resilient while investing in bike and pedestrian pathways and increasing natural disaster preparedness. Fifteen projects, totaling $309 million, are funded through the Local Transportation Climate Adaptation Program (LTCAP), which is part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s historic $15 billion clean transportation infrastructure package in the 2022-23 state budget to further the state’s ambitious climate goals. The funding will help climate-vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
  • State provides $50 million for Highway 37, restoration of San Pablo Bay marshes (Pataluma Argus-Courier). The California Transportation Commission approved a $50 million grant Dec. 7 to replace and lengthen Tolay Creek Bridge on Highway 37 that will promote restoration of the San Pablo Baylands. The project will widen the bridge to two lanes in each direction, easing the bottleneck that often affects drivers on the thoroughfare connecting North Bay counties. The bridge replacement will also allow more water to flow in and out of Tolay Creek to alleviate concerns of sea-level rise that threatens San Pablo Bay marshes, according to the Bay Area transportation planning agency Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • Last Chance Grade Update (District 1/FB). We’ve reached a significant milestone toward a lasting resolution for Last Chance Grade on U.S. 101 in Del Norte County, releasing a crucial environmental document for public review. The coastal highway’s susceptibility to landslides and ongoing maintenance challenges necessitate a permanent solution. This document assesses two proposed alternatives — an inland bypass with a tunnel or re-engineering the existing alignment. Public input is encouraged. Please head to lastchancegrade.com for more information and to review the document.
  • Caltrans, Lodi celebrate completion of $11.2M road project near State Route 99, Turner Rd (Local News Matters). An $11.2 million project designed to improve traffic movement and create safer travel conditions in Lodi near State Route 99 and the Turner Road interchange was completed last week. Officials said the project consisted of a new roundabout at South Cherokee Lane, the lengthening of the southbound state route 99 off-ramp at Turner Road, and a new traffic signal at the Pioneer Drive/Cherokee Lane on-ramp intersection. Additionally, new overhead and in-pavement lighting, bike lanes and sidewalks to promote safe and more options for pedestrians and bicyclists was included.
  • Highway 37 marsh restoration gets $50 million state boost (Marin Independent Journal). The state has allocated $50 million to support tidal marsh restoration and the replacement of a flood-prone bridge as part of the planned Highway 37 overhaul east of Sears Point. The funding comes from the Local Transportation Climate Adaptation program, a $309 million package designed to protect state roads and railways from the effects of climate change. The Highway 37 project is among 15 selected for the first round of funding. The California Transportation Commission approved awarding the grant to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission at its meeting on Dec. 7. The marshland enhancements are the first phase of MTC’s larger $430 million project to widen the 10-mile stretch of Highway 37 between Sears Point and Mare Island.
  • California gas tax revenue will drop by $6 billion, threatening roads (CalMatters). California’s funding from gas taxes will drop by nearly $6 billion in the next decade due to the state’s electric car rules and other climate programs, “likely resulting in a decline in highway conditions for drivers,” according to a new state analysis released today. As California phases in major policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions — such as the mandates for zero-emission cars and trucks — consumers buy less gasoline and diesel, and consequently pay less taxes. Those declines in tax dollars will be partially offset by the state’s road improvement fee, which drivers pay when they register their electric cars. But the Legislative Analyst’s Office stressed that overall the state will still see a $4.4 billion drop in funding, a 31% decline, over a decade, so the Legislature and governor must come up with substantial new funding sources.
  • Bay Area gets millions from state to improve transportation infrastructure, includes climate change resiliency funding (The Bay Link Blog). The California Transportation Commission(link is external) (CTC) last week allocated $1.1 billion for projects that will repair and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure. The funding includes more than $300 million for projects across California that will make the system more climate resilient while investing in bike and pedestrian pathways and increasing natural disaster preparedness. Fifteen projects, totaling $309 million, are funded through the Local Transportation Climate Adaptation Program(link is external) (LTCAP), which is part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s historic $15 billion clean transportation infrastructure package in the 2022-23 state budget to further the state’s ambitious climate goals. The funding will help climate-vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
  • Road safety improvements coming to Bay Area, California with $139 million in federal funding (CBS San Francisco). The state of California was awarded $139 million in federal grant money Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a range of street and highway safety improvements. Some of the top awards that will be distributed around the state are $16 million for the City of Salinas, about $13 million for San Jose, $10 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and $8 million for San Francisco. The funding for the “Safe Streets for All” grants comes from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.
  • Roadshow: Highway 84 second lanes expected to open in summer of 2025 (Mercury News). Q: When will they open the second lanes on the Highway 84 widening project between Livermore and Interstate 680? A: Janis-the-Caltrans-spokesperson for Alameda County reports that Caltrans plans to open both lanes on Highway 84 in the summer of 2025.
  • Temecula Freeway Traffic And All That Construction: Relief Update (Temecula, CA Patch). A massive multi-million-dollar project that aims to relieve traffic on Interstate 15 through Temecula is moving along. The city recently shared a video update on the approximately $140 million I-15/French Valley Parkway Improvement project, which shows the status of the work underway: The I-15/French Valley Parkway Improvement project includes adding lanes on the northbound side of the freeway from Winchester Road to the Interstate 215 split. Additionally, a new flyover bridge is being constructed; the bridges at Santa Gertrudis Creek and Warm Springs Creek are being widened; and barriers and retaining walls are being built.
  • Highway Expansion Project Not Approved by California Transportation Commission (Streetsblog California). A rare thing happened last week at the California Transportation Commission meeting: a highway widening project failed to receive the usual rubber-stamped approval from the commissioners. In some ways, the vote was a fluke. But it is also a warning to highway builders that they need to stop fooling around with the California Environmental Quality Act and state climate policy requirements. It was late in the course of the two-day meeting, and time was running out, but a long list of projects recommended by staff for funding still needed approval. Commissioners were peeling off to meet other obligations, and their quorum was about to disappear.
  • $$ Highway 33 above Ojai to reopen Monday after nearly a year (VC Star). Highway 33 above Ojai will reopen Monday after being shut for nearly a year to repair storm damage. The state route through Los Padres National Forest will open to the public at 8 a.m. between Matilija Hot Springs and Lockwood Valley roads. About 32 miles of the rural highway have been closed since Jan. 10 after winter storms caused mud and rock slides. Some sections of the highway collapsed. The cost of repairs was estimated at $35 million, according to the California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans. While Caltrans officials noted the highway will open in time for the holidays, they also cautioned drivers about potentially significant delays.
  • $$ When will Sacramento start I Street Bridge construction? (The Sacramento Bee). A new bridge is set to revamp Sacramento’s city skyline, with a futuristic design unmatched by the city’s existing overpasses. It’s been more than a decade since the city decided a new bridge was needed to connect West Sacramento to the Railyards in downtown, replacing the I Street Bridge. However, residents haven’t seen ground break yet. “When does construction begin on the new Sacramento River Bridge to the Railyards? (If ever),” a resident asked Bee Curious, a community-driven series where reporters answer questions about the region.
  • Gary Richards, ‘Mr. Roadshow’ of the San Jose Mercury News, dies (Mercury News). For millions of Bay Area motorists, there are few things more aggravating than the stew of gridlock, rude and distracted drivers, mistimed signals and potholes they’re forced to navigate as they go about their lives. But for more than three decades, they found a tireless advocate at the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group who’d hear their gripes, answer their questions and bring their frustrations to the attention of the transportation officials who could do something about them. Gary Richards, better known as Mr. Roadshow, died Sunday after a long battle with a degenerative muscle and nerve disease. He was 72. His special connection to Roadshow readers kept him writing, with the help of his beloved wife, Jan, who would become known as Mrs. Roadshow. Perhaps fittingly, his final column appeared on the day that he died. “Gary Richards was a treasure in our community and in our newsroom,” said Sarah Dussault, senior editor of the Bay Area News Group, which includes the Mercury News, East Bay Times and other regional publications.
  • Roadwork in Fresno underway with nearly a dozen big projects (Fresnoland). An onslaught of transportation projects are underway in the Fresno region, meaning drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can expect to see various improvements to highways, roads and trails in the near future. Many of these projects have been years in the making, but roadwork in Fresno is finally progressing due to a combination of funding from state and federal grants and revenue from two sales-tax measures – Measure C and Measure P.
  • Caltrans Announces Gaviota Northbound Rest Stop is Now Open (Edhat). Caltrans has formally announced the northbound Gaviota Rest Area is now open following a major renovation to its wastewater and electrical systems. The troubled rest stop opened for approximately one hour last month before Caltrans promptly closed it again. On November 21, 2023, the state agency announced the opening ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday only to shut it down shortly after due to “unforeseen mechanical issues in the water supply outside of Caltrans control.”
  • Months after horrific crash, Malibu’s PCH is set for safety fixes (Los Angeles Times). On a dangerous stretch of Pacific Coast Highway known to Malibu locals as “Dead Man’s Curve,” the memory of four Pepperdine University students killed in a horrific crash looms large. After decades of calls to improve the thoroughfare’s safety, advocates wonder whether the October collision could finally spur meaningful change. Less than a mile from the site of the crash — in which prosecutors said the 22-year-old driver was going as fast as 104 mph — local and state transportation officials gathered Monday to discuss safety upgrades to the 21 miles of the highway that wind through Malibu. A $4.2-million contract approved last week will allow Caltrans to move forward on a draft list of 30 upgrades, California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin said — including enhanced striping in curves, optical speed bars (stripes spaced at gradually decreasing distances to make drivers aware of their speed), speed feedback signs, speed limit markings on the pavement and replacement of safety corridor signs.
  • Road Projects Threatened as Electric Cars Lead to Lower California Gas Tax Revenue (Times of San Diego/Cal-Matters). California’s funding from gas taxes will drop by nearly $6 billion in the next decade due to the state’s electric car rules and other climate programs, “likely resulting in a decline in highway conditions for drivers,” according to a new state analysis. As California phases in major policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions — such as the mandates for zero-emission cars and trucks — consumers buy less gasoline and diesel, and consequently pay less taxes. Those declines in tax dollars will be partially offset by the state’s road improvement fee, which drivers pay when they register their electric cars. But the Legislative Analyst’s Office stressed that overall the state will still see a $4.4 billion drop in funding, a 31% decline, over a decade, so the Legislature and governor must come up with substantial new funding sources.
  • ‘Long-term solution’ draft released for Last Chance Grade (Times-Standard). A draft report for the future of Last Chance Grade, a volatile section of highway 101 and a major throughway to the North Coast, was released Friday by Caltrans. The project aims to permanently restore the section that is frequently subject to landslides in Del Norte County. Three alternatives have been proposed by Caltrans in an environmental impact document released Friday; a no build alternative, reengineering and realigning a section of the highway, or a 1.1 mile tunnel to be built east of the existing highway. “It’s a momentous project and it’s a big deal. Our district rarely sees a project of this magnitude,” especially the tunnel alternative, said Myles Cochrane, a spokesperson for Caltrans District one. Outreach to other agencies started in 2014, though Caltrans has proposed alternatives in the years past that didn’t come to fruition.
  • Millions Of Dollars Headed To Alameda County Infrastructure Projects (San Leandro, CA Patch). Alameda County will soon have four new cone zones. The California Transportation Commission on Friday announced more than $1 billion headed to support repair and improvement projects across the Golden State, including tens of millions to boost Caltrans efforts in the Bay Area. In Alameda County, $12.5 million will fund four projects.
  • State provides $50 million for Highway 37, restoration of San Pablo Bay marshes (Index Tribune). The California Transportation Commission approved a $50 million grant Dec. 7 to replace and lengthen Tolay Creek Bridge on Highway 37 that will promote restoration of the San Pablo Baylands. The project will widen the bridge to two lanes in each direction, easing the bottleneck that often affects drivers on the thoroughfare connecting North Bay counties. The bridge replacement will also allow more water to flow in and out of Tolay Creek to alleviate concerns of sea-level rise that threatens San Pablo Bay marshes, according to the Bay Area transportation planning agency Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
  • Death Valley roads reopen months after storms (Pahrump Valley Times). Park officials at Death Valley this week announced that 60 additional miles of backcountry roads in the southern end of the national park are now open. As stated in a Dec. 12, news release, Public Information Officer Abby Wines said Warm Springs Road is fully open where visitors with high clearance 4×4 vehicles can drive over Mengel Pass between Death Valley and Panamint Valley. “Warm Spring Canyon Gold and Talc Mining Historic District, along with Butte Valley, and Barker Ranch are points of interest along the way,” Wines’ release stated. “West Side Road remains closed just north of the junction with Warm Springs Road. Harry Wade Road is a 4×4 route that connects Badwater Road to CA-127 on the park’s southeastern corner.”
  • What’s on Caltrans’s $16B Holiday SHOPP-ing List (NRDC). What would you buy with a $15.7 billion transportation shopping budget? If you’re the California Department of Transportation, AKA, Caltrans, you’d go on a highway spending spree known as the State Highway Operations and Protection Program, or “SHOPP” for short to transportation wonks. It is the State’s largest transportation investment plan by far, and one of the biggest opportunities to shift the state out of a car-centric status-quo to a future focused on abundant mobility options, clean air and healthy communities. Caltrans released a draft of its latest four-year SHOPP plan in early December, and Californians can review the full list of projects via an interactive online portal and submit comments through January 19, 2024 via this form.
  • Freeway Businesses (LAist). Chase White’s business, Recycled Movie Sets, has become a casualty of the fire in early November that shut down the 10 Freeway for more than a week near downtown. Now, he has to move his business by Dec. 31 after seven years at the location.
  • Caltrans plans to replace state park bridge in Big Sur (KSBW). Caltrans is looking to replace the Limekiln Creek Bridge in Big Sur. The bridge, which sits across Limekiln Creek on Highway 1, 50 miles south of Carmel, would be replaced with a bridge in the same area. “The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposes to replace the Limekiln Creek Bridge in Limekiln State Park, near the community of Lucia, located on State Route 1 in Monterey County. Build alternatives under consideration include two two-span replacement bridges west of the existing bridge,” the state agency wrote in a public release.
  • December 20: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History (Metro’s Primary Resources). 1951: The Hollywood Freeway opens through the Civic Center.
  • MTC mourns loss of “Mr. Roadshow,” Gary Richards (The Bay Link Blog). MTC is mourning the loss of Gary Richards(link is external), known to legions of readers as “Mr. Roadshow,” who spent more than three decades writing about the trials and tribulations of Bay Area transportation in his Q&A column that appeared in daily newspapers across the Bay Area, including the Mercury News. Mr. Richards was honored twice by MTC with “Awards of Merit,” first in 1994 then again in 2014(link is external), for his contribution to the Bay Area’s transportation landscape via his column, which gave a voice to those who navigate the region’s roads, bridges, highways and byways. Mr. Richards began writing his six-day a week transportation column in 1991, using a typewriter to bang out his pieces. In recent years, he would get up to 1,000 emails a week in addition to tweets and Facebook messages.
  • Over $1 billion allocated to California’s transportation infrastructure (Archinect). The California Transportation Commission has announced the allocation of $1.1 billion for projects aimed at repairing and improving the state’s transportation infrastructure. The funding will be deployed to projects in areas including Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and San Diego. In Los Angeles, $12 million will be used to upgrade bicyclist and pedestrian infrastructure on an 18-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway between Redondo Beach and the Orange County line. Upgrades include Class II bike lanes, bus pads, crosswalk visibility enhancements, a rectangular rapid flashing beacon, and pedestrian push buttons, among others. Meanwhile, $6 million will be allocated to San Francisco BART expansion.
  • Caltrans Releases Last Chance Grade Draft Environmental Impact Report For Public Comment (Wild Rivers Outpost). Caltrans has opened the public comment period on a draft environmental impact report focusing on the two alternatives for a bypass around Last Chance Grade. The department released the document to the public about 10 days after District 1 Director Matt Brady told state transportation commissioners that they were about a year ahead of schedule on the project approval and environmental document phase. The draft EIS also comes about two months after U.S. 101 reopened to two-way traffic in the slide-prone area for the first time in roughly nine years. A weather-driven landslide about two weeks ago halted traffic again for a short time, Brady told California Transportation Commissioners who met in Riverside on Dec. 7.
  • Caltrans meets with Ukiah Valley residents to gather input for Talmage Road improvements (The Ukiah Daily Journal). Caltrans held a public meeting Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Mendocino County Office of Education on Old River Road in Ukiah to solicit feedback for future improvements to Talmage Road. Representatives from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas attended the meeting as well as Talmage residents and representatives from businesses along the route. Talmage Road serves residents of Talmage, Mill Creek, and Rogina Heights, as well as being the gateway to Cow Mountain Recreation Area. It serves thousands of cars daily.
  • Ridge Route Preservation Organization – Pothole Project Approved! (Ridge Route Preservation Organization). The Ridge Route Preservation Organization was cleared by the Angeles National Forest to repair potholes along the north section of the Old Ridge Route from the 138 to the Tumble Inn. The intent is to preserve the road and make it more accessible to the public as well as emergency services. Filling the potholes can reinforce crumbling sections of the road as well as prevent further damage to the original road surface. The Ridge Route Pothole Project will begin in spring of 2024.
  • Ridge Route Preservation Organization – Volunteer Group Protects At-Risk Section of the Old Ridge Route (Ridge Route Preservation Organization). On December 16th, 5 volunteers gathered near the Old Ridge Route with the goal of protecting an at-risk section of the 100+ year old road. LA County Fire Station 77 was the first stop to fill up sandbags – as many that could fit in the bed of the pick-up truck. Volunteers came equipped with shovels and bags, ready to go! Introductions were shared and stories of how they discovered the road exchanged as they shoveled sand. The group consisted of two RRPO board members, a history major, a special effects artist and a fire photographer. All different walks of life gathered to help save this old road.
  • Bay Bridge Lights in San Francisco Could Return in 2024 (SF Standard). The Bay Bridge light show that went dark in March could return by the fall, organizers said, as they get closer to raising the money needed to restore the iconic light art installation. Illuminate, the nonprofit that installed and operated The Bay Lights for 10 years, has raised almost 90% of its $11 million fundraising goal, founder Ben Davis told The Standard on Thursday.

Gribblenation Blog (Tom Fearer)

  • Former California State Route 31. California State Route 31 was post-1964 State Highway Renumbering designation in the Inland Empire area. As defined, California State Route 31 spanned from Corona northward towards Devore along the outskirts of Cajon Pass. The corridor of California State Route 31 would be consumed as part of the new alignment of Interstate 15 approved by the Federal Highway Administration during January 1972. California State Route 31 was legislatively deleted during 1974 but signage remained for several years as Interstate 15 was being constructed.
  • Veterans Boulevard (Fresno, California). Veterans Boulevard is a new 2.3-mile arterial surface highway located in the northwestern corner of the city of Fresno, California. Veterans Boulevard carries traffic from Shaw Avenue to Herndon Avenue via a six-lane expressway configuration. Veterans Boulevard provides access to California State Route 99 and is one of the few major diagonal roadways in Fresno. Veterans Boulevard was first introduced in the 1984 Fresno General Plan and was funded as a Fresno County Transportation Authority Measure C project. The Veterans Boulevard interchange at California State Route 99 opened to traffic on November 20, 2023.
  • Northbrae Tunnel. The Northbrae Tunnel is a component of Solano Avenue located in the city of Berkeley, California. The 465-foot long Northbrae Tunnel originally functioned as part of the East Bay Electric Lines upon opening during 1912. Between 1941-1958 the Northbrae Tunnel was part of the Key System. The Northbrae Tunnel was purchased by the city of Berkeley and reopened as an extension of Solano Avenue on December 15, 1962.
  • California State Route 94. California State Route 94 is a 63-mile State Highway located in San Diego County. California State Route 94 begins in downtown San Diego at Interstate 5. California State Route 94 between Interstate 5 and California State Route 125 is carried by the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway. California State Route 94 east of California State Route 125 to Via Mercado is carried by the informally named Campo Freeway. The remainder of California State Route 94 east to Interstate 8 is carried by Campo Road. Campo Road historically was part of the stage route to Yuma and once carried the Auto Trail known as the Old Spanish Trail. Pictured as the blog cover photo is a flooded portion of California State Route 94 in the mountains east of San Diego in 1939.
  • Dog Valley Grade. The Dog Valley Grade is a historic highway corridor which connects Truckee, California east through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Verdi, Nevada. The Dog Valley Grade was scouted in 1845 by Caleb Greenwood as a safer alternative to the Truckee River Canyon. During the California Gold Rush the Dog Valley Grade would become a component of the Henness Pass Road and Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road. The Dog Valley Grade would later be incorporated into the North Lincoln Highway during 1913 and Victory Highway during 1921. The completion of the Truckee River Highway during June 1926 bypassed the Dog Valley Grade. The Truckee River Highway would become part of US Route 40 during November 1926.
  • California State Route 117 (i). The original California State Route 117 was a segment of Junipero Serra Boulevard from Crystal Springs Road in San Bruno north to Interstate 280 in Daly City. The corridor of Junipero Serra Boulevard reached San Bruno by 1952 via development as part of Joint Highway District Number 10. During 1956 Junipero Serra Boulevard was added to the State Highway System as part of Legislative Route Number 237. The adopted corridor the Junipero Serra Freeway and Interstate 280 north of San Bruno was selected by the California Highway Commission during 1960. This action led to existing Junipero Serra Boulevard being reassigned as California State Route 117 as part of the 1964 State Highway Renumbering. California State Route 117 was deleted during 1965 and Junipero Serra Boulevard was reassigned as a placeholder routing for Interstate 280 until the completion of the Junipero Serra Freeway north of San Bruno during 1970. The original California State Route 117 can be seen as it was displayed on the 1964 Division of Highways Map in the blog cover photo.
  • The Woodville ghost town and the Stockton-Los Angeles. Woodville was the original Tulare County seat and was located along the Stockton-Los Angeles Road in the Four Creeks region of the Kaweah River Delta. Woodville was settled during 1850 and had been selected as the original Tulare County during July 1852. Despite losing the Tulare County seat to Visalia during 1854 the community of Woodville would remain on the mainline Stockton-Los Angeles Road for several decades. During the 1880s the community was renamed as “Venice” and persisted into the twentieth century largely due to the presence of the 1898 Venice School House. This blog will examine the history of the community of Woodville and the role it played along the Stockton-Los Angeles Road. Woodville can be seen on the blog cover photo along the Stockton-Los Angeles Road on the 1857 Britton & Rey’s Map of California.

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