California Highways: Articles of Interest – 2/16/2013 through 2/28/2013

userpic=roadgeekingThe following are the collected highway-related headlines for the period 2/16/2013 through 3/1/2013. There are also a few ancillary items here related to funding, license plates, and the Pacific Electric:

  • New toll, carpool lanes considered for I-5 in northern Los Angeles County. Metro officials are looking into building a new combination of toll and carpool lanes along 13-1/2 miles of the Golden State (5) Freeway in northern Los Angeles County, the agency said. Allowing toll users on the new lanes would allow them to be constructed by 2018, instead of waiting 30 years for sales tax revenue to accumulate for the project, the agency said.
  • Lawmaker wants to open Southland car pool lanes (on Route 134) for off-peak use. Motorists without passengers would be able to use the car pool lanes on the 134 Freeway in Southern California during non-peak hours under legislation introduced to address the growing gridlock on state freeways.
  • New Whale Species Unearthed in California Highway Dig (likely Route 133). Chalk yet another fossil find up to roadcut science. Thanks to a highway-widening project in California’s Laguna Canyon, scientists have identified several new species of early toothed baleen whales. Paleontologist Meredith Rivin of the John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center in Fullerton, California, presented the finds here today at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes ScienceNOW).
  • Open your Golden Gate: Route 99 will get new interchanges, lose others. Work is expected to start as soon as next week to widen Highway 99 through south Stockton, a $214 million project intended to relieve traffic congestion and create a safer and more modern roadway. (h/t to Joel W. for this item)
  • California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’ (Route 135). For three years, a private citizen named Steve LeBard has led the effort to build a privately funded memorial in Orcutt, California—a tranquil small town located on the Golden State’s gorgeous Central Coast—to honor military veterans. And for the better part of those three years, he has run into a toxic blend of political correctness, anti-Americanism, and bureaucratic senselessness. Today, the memorial, which was to be built with private funds on a small piece of public land, remains unbuilt.[Cahwyguy – I read through this. It is planned for Route 135 near VAFB. What isn’t clear through the slant of the article is the real reason for Caltrans taking the stance — if it is indeed the stance of Caltrans. Usually there is some legal basis for the position that is not mentioned in these articles. I did find this article from 2011 noting the flag issue, and this blog that describes the latest problem. None of these provide the basis for the decision from the Caltrans art department.]
  • Mapping the end of the road on I-405. With the massive 405 Project now two-thirds complete, officials have unveiled a staggered endgame schedule which calls for major portions of the project to wrap up this year while work on one troublesome segment continues into 2014.
  • Metro and Caltrans mark the opening of Metro ExpressLanes along 14 miles of the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway on Saturday 2/23/13. Following on the heels of the successful opening late last year of 11 miles of Metro ExpressLanes along the Harbor Freeway, Metro and Caltrans officials joined federal, state and local elected leaders today in a preview ceremony to mark the opening of Los Angeles County’s second set of Metro ExpressLanes scheduled for 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.
  • Portion of I-15 in San Diego dedicated to Tuskegee Airmen. A three-mile stretch of Interstate 15 near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego was designated Friday as Tuskegee Airmen Highway to honor the African American pilots and air crew members who served in segregated units during World War II.
  • Caltrans projects bookend US 101. Caltrans has Santa Maria surrounded when it comes to work on Highway 101 with the Santa Maria River bridge reconstruction to the north and the Union Valley Parkway interchange to the south.
  • Old LH/ US 40 Auburn Blvd Citrus Heights Project. This is an application for the Auburn Blvd Revitalization Project in Citrus Heights. Lots of highway history. (PDF) (h/t Joel W.)
  • ‘Angelenos Against Gridlock’ protests delays in I-405 widening. A group calling itself Angelenos Against Gridlock plans a demonstration Saturday afternoon to protest delays in the 405 Freeway widening project. Also: KPCC, Brentwood Patch.
  • Bay Area to get dual carpool-toll lanes. By the end of 2015, solo drivers will be able to buy their way into 90 miles of express lanes on some of the most-clogged Bay Area freeways: I-80, I-680 and I-880 and the East Bay approaches to the Dumbarton and San Mateo bridges.
  • California facing big challenges in improving state roads. The Reason Foundation, a libertarian-leaning think tank, says in a new report that California is facing big challenges in improving driving conditions on its state-owned roads. The foundation tracked spending per mile in seven areas: miles of urban interstate highways with poor pavement, miles of rural interstates in poor condition, congestion on urban interstates, deficient bridges, highway fatalities, rural primary roads in poor condition and the number of rural roads that are too narrow. California was the only state that failed to improve in at least three areas, making strides only in repairing and retrofitting deficient bridges and in reducing fatalities during the period studied.
  • Take A Tour Of The Abandoned Subway Tunnels Beneath Los Angeles. The Los Angeles subway does not get much respect, especially when compared to more popular systems around the world. But while the current setup isn’t too impressive, it does have some noble ancestry: the Pacific Electric Red Car and Los Angeles Railway Yellow Car lines, which ran from the end of the 19th century until the 1960s.
  • Cutting edge Calif. tunnels on Route 1 poised to open. Two slick new mile-long tunnels are undergoing final safety tests this month, poised to divert motorists away from an ocean cliff-hanging roadway dubbed Devil’s Slide south of San Francisco to a smooth, Alpine-like passageway unlike any in the U.S. today.
  • Larkspur demands new environmental plan for US 101 project. Larkspur has joined Corte Madera in demanding the creation of a full environmental impact report for the controversial project to rearrange the Larkspur-Corte Madera stretch of US 101.
  • New California license plate with farming theme to hit roads. Starting next month, a commemorative “California Agriculture” license plate will begin appearing on vehicles across the Golden State. The plate, featuring a yellow sunburst rising over a pastoral green field of row crops with the words “Food, fiber, fuel, flora,” is California’s first new specialty license plate in 11 years.
  • Rosemead Boulevard Enhancement Project (Route 19). Official Rosemead Boulevard Enhancement Project Groundbreaking is this Friday, March 1 at 10 a.m. on the corner of Rosemead Boulevard and Olive Street!
  • At Last: All Of Los Angeles Transportation History Explained In Interactive Timeline & Interactive Organization Chart (At least 220 public and private transit entities have operated transit in the Los Angeles area since 1874. Two new visual interactive tools clarify the history and complex relationships of 140 years of local transit operations)
  • Tolls Could Get I-5 Carpool Lanes [in Santa Clarita] Built Faster. In [the author’s] view, the choice is this: we can have this much-needed additional roadway capacity ready-to-use by 2019 by supporting the tolling option or we can wait and build the project if and when funding becomes available, if ever. 2040 is the current estimated completion date for the alternate approach.
  • SAN JACINTO: Route 79 realignment feedback sessions. The project would move the highway from congested commercial areas of San Jacinto and Hemet to a corridor on the west side of the San Jacinto Valley between Gilman Springs Road northwest of Hemet and Domenigoni Parkway in unincorporated Winchester. Information on the project itself may be found on the Caltrans Project Page (note that the link in the article is wrong).
  • The truth about Caltrans’ Willits bypass (US 101). My wife and I moved to Willits from the San Francisco Bay Area in 1991 because we wanted to live in a small town where there was a sense of community and people lived more in balance with nature. Moving here was the best decision of our lives and we’re here to stay. But the peace and prosperity of our community is being threatened by a proposed freeway that would devastate the valley which is the heart and soul of Willits.
  • I-805 long-term construction begins Monday (2/25). The $86 million, four-mile-long Interstate 805 North project will build High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in each direction, and a northbound offramp and southbound onramp for HOV traffic on the 805 at Carroll Canyon Road.
  • Metering plans for Route 4 and Route 242 getting green light. After almost two decades in the dark, plans are rolling forward to energize metering lights in Pittsburg and North Concord by the end of the year. County transportation officials also are looking at giving the green light to metering entrances to Route 4 through Martinez and Antioch by the end of 2015.

Music: Firehouse Five Plus Two Story (Firehouse Five Plus Two): “Riverside Blues”



One Reply to “California Highways: Articles of Interest – 2/16/2013 through 2/28/2013”

  1. The other truth about the Willits bypass is that it’s too late. The job has been bid *and awarded*. It’s going to happen, the way CalTrans planned it.

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