Highway Headlines for August 2014

userpic=roadgeekingAh, the end of summer is upon us. The end of the summer roadtrips, and the end of the fights in Congress over the highway bill. Here are some headlines regarding California highways that have caught my eye:

  • I-405 Project Moves Forward. Efforts to improve one of the most heavily traveled freeway segments in the nation will continue to move forward following recent decisions by Caltrans. On July 25, Caltrans informed OCTA that the I-405 Improvement Project should include the Measure M commitment of one regular lane in each direction and add high-occupancy toll lanes at a later date.
  • Smart highway aims to cut congestion on westbound I-80. The Bay Area’s next big highway project promises to cut congestion and reduce accidents in the East Bay on westbound Interstate 80, which consistently ranks as the region’s lousiest commute – and it’s due to be finished early next year. Working at night, crews will install 11 huge gantries – metal sign frames – that stretch across all westbound lanes of the freeway in the most consistently congested and collision-ridden stretch, from Richmond to Emeryville. Those gantries will hold an array of signs giving drivers information to help them steer clear of accidents, debris and blocked lanes. It will even let them know if it would be faster to take public transit.
  • Freeway median gates completed. The next time traffic is stopped on I-10 between The Pass and Palm Springs, drivers won’t be stuck in their vehicles listening to hours of ’80s rock, country music or talk radio and eating gum and breath mints for lunch. With the construction of five median gates, drivers can now be turned around to bypass the traffic when there is a major backup.
  • Work Begins to Put Huge Park on Top of the 101 in Hollywood. Get excited Hollywood, because you are one step closer to having a huge park on top of the 101 Freeway. Friends of Hollywood Central Park, the group spearheading the plan, has finally gotten started on the first official step—environmental review process—according to a statement: “This brings us one big step closer toward achieving the long-held dream of building this much-needed park in the heart of Hollywood,” says the executive director. The 38-acre park would run over about a mile of highway, from Santa Monica Boulevard to Bronson Avenue, and hopefully “create a street-level urban park that reunites communities separated by the Hollywood Freeway more than sixty years ago.”
  • Road widening project nears completion. As the Jameson Canyon Highway 12 project begins to wind down (and what a wonderful project it is), we need to reflect upon those involved in the early stages.
  • I-5 expansion gets big green light. A plan that would expand North County’s Interstate 5 and coastal rail service won unanimous approval from the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday, giving the long-planned and controversial project one of its most important and final victories.
  • Petition created to rename Waldo Tunnel after Robin Williams. Rather than memorializing a 19th century nobody, the Waldo Tunnel and its rainbow arches north of the Golden Gate Bridge ought to honor actor and comedian Robin Williams, who became famous while wearing rainbow suspenders.
  • Can we cap the 101 freeway with a 44-acre park?. Floods of cars hurdle through the canyon along the 101 in Hollywood, spitting pollutants. Heat radiates from miles of asphalt and concrete buildings, and weary apartments line the chasm. But when Los Angeles native Laurie Goldman gazes over the twisting gray expanse, a part of town pedestrians rarely visit, all she can see is green. “I look at the freeway, and I only see the park,” she said.
  • California Highway and Interstate Historic Photos .
  • Oakland gets $6 million in state funding for transportation projects. The city of Oakland was awarded $6.1 million Thursday by the California Transportation Commission to implement two key projects in a state program designed to encourage non-motorized transportation. The money is part of a total of $221 million that the state commission awarded to 145 projects across California.