California Highway Headlines: 2/1/2013-2/15/2013

userpic=roadgeekingTime for another installment of articles related to California Highways:

  • I-405 Project Update: New, higher capacity on-ramp opens near Skirball Center. Marking a new milestone for the I-405 Improvements Project, contractors on Sunday opened a brand new I-405 onramp south of Skirball Drive in the Sepulveda Pass.
  • Three Government Committees Reject Current Plans to Widen I-710 Between Long Beach and East LA. Following thousands of comments from leaders within community health and environmental coalitions, the State-led project to expand I-710 from eight lanes to 14 lanes for 17 miles from Long Beach to Route 60 in East Los Angeles was delayed. The Project Committee, am advisory committee to Metro, Caltrans and the Southern California Association of Governments, halted the project with an astounding “no” on the proposed routes. Meanwhile, the Long Beach City Council I-710 Oversight Committee recommended that Caltrans and Metro recirculate the draft EIR, allowing for more public comment.
  • Groundbreaking held for another project to widen I-5 freeway between I-605 and Orange County border. The project that broke ground will widen I-5 for 1.2 miles between Shoemaker and Silverbow avenues by adding a general purpose lane and HOV lane in both directions. The project will also widen three bridges over the freeway — at Shoemaker, Rosecrans and Bloomfield. Metro is contributing $42 million of the $214 million cost of the project, with Metro’s money coming from Prop A (1980) and Measure R (2008) sales tax increases approved by county voters.
  • I-280 SF off-ramp gets Caltrans’ attention. Potrero Hill residents living near the Mariposa Street off-ramp from southbound I-280 in San Francisco are well acquainted with the screeching tires, crunching metal and sickening thuds that accompany car crashes.
  • New Bay Bridge span (I-80) will open with party. The long, arduous and expensive task of building the new east span of the Bay Bridge (I-80) will end with one final bridge closure that includes plans for a bash featuring a public bridge walk, 10-kilometer and half-marathon runs, a bike ride and fireworks launched from both San Francisco and Oakland.
  • Officials call for committee to review US 101 interchange project. Transportation officials are extending an olive branch to the opponents of a $143 million construction project that would create elevated freeway segments and rearrange the Larkspur and Corte Madera stretch of US 101. They’re offering to create a seven-member committee that would examine alternate options.
  • Expect Detours as I-5 Gets Extra Lanes. Caltrans began its third phase of the five-year Interstate 5 Corridor Improvement Project on Wednesday, a six-phase expansion to reduce congestion between Los Angeles and Orange counties. This third phase of the $1.6 billion expansion project will add one regular lane and one carpool lane in each direction between Shoemaker and Silverbow avenues in Norwalk.
  • The reason for the ‘kink’ in the San Mateo Bridge (Route 92). Why does the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge have a “kink” in it where the high-rise section begins? I suspect that the bridge used to be straight prior to the 1967 addition of the high-rise span, but I couldn’t find any old photos to prove or disprove that theory.
  • Traffic roundabouts (Route 116) can get some in Sonoma County wound up. Undeterred, traffic planners in other Sonoma County cities and at the county level are pressing forward with plans to install roundabouts at several key intersections. That includes, in unincorporated areas, at Route 116 at Mirabel Road in Forestville and at Arnold Drive at Agua Caliente Road at the entrance to the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma. A roundabout also is being considered for the three-way intersection of Route 116 and Route 121/Route 12 in Carneros, south of Sonoma.
  • Sparks fly at open house on I-710 expansion proposals. Protesters Wednesday spoke out at an open house for the public about the first phase of the Long Beach (I-710) Freeway north extension environmental study.
  • 1936 Caltrans Video. California Highways is a film developed by the California Division of Highways in 1936. It was designed to inform the public of the continual development of the state highway system. It portrays the history of road building in the state, from the days of the Franciscan friars to the mid-1930s. It consists of 355 separate scenes from the more than 11,000 miles of the state highway system as it existed in the 1930s, including mountain, valley and desert highways and their scenic attractions. (h/t to Joel W. for this item)
  • Route 710 North Study: what’s on the table and what’s off the table. An update on the Route 710 North Study, Metro’s effort to improve transportation in the area around the 710 freeway in the San Gabriel Valley.
  • Caltrans experts, despite testing problems, say structures are safe. An analysis from a team of California Department of Transportation experts, released Thursday after more than a year of preparation, confirmed data problems involving radiation-based tests of reinforced concrete foundations for nine bridges or other freeway structures, including the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. (h/t to Joel W. for this article)
  • Once Route 91 makeover finished, toll lanes coming to I-15. When construction workers complete a dramatic $1.3 billion makeover of state Route 91 about five years from now, transportation officials hope to keep right on going, paving 15 miles of toll lanes along Interstate 15.
  • Metro to Close I-405 Lanes From Montana to Getty Center. A 2.4-mile stretch of the freeway between Montana Avenue and Getty Center Drive will be reduced from five lanes to two as part of the Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. The off-ramps will be closed during the 55-hour period. During the closure, crews will realign the freeway to incorporate a carpool lane that will eventually extend 10 miles between I-10 and US 101.
  • Plan Will Demolish Soto Street Bridge, Rework Traffic. A project to demolish the Soto Street Bridge that links El Sereno, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights to improve traffic flow is picking up after years of delay. The local historical society opposes the plan, and says there are other ways to improve the flow of traffic in the area. Constructed in 1936, the Soto Street Bridge was a joint venture between the city of Los Angeles and the Pacific Railway System, however the tracks were removed in the early 1960s.
  • Corte Madera demands new environmental plan for US 101 project. Corte Madera officials are fed up with the $143 million plan to construct elevated freeway sections and rearrange the Larkspur-Corte Madera stretch of US 101. They’re formally opposing the closure of Nellen Avenue — a potential roadblock for the planned southbound improvements — and demanding a full environmental impact report if the project moves forward.
  • Vietnam vets alarmed at prospect of being run off their road. This is an article about an attempt to rename a portion of Route 1 in Ventura after the Seabees (located at the Port Hueneme Naval Base). There was only one problem: Route 1 is already named after Vietnam Veterans in that area. (h/t to Timm Herdt at the VC Star for bringing this article to my attention).

Coming this weekend… highway page updates!