Monday, November 24, 2014

AASHTO Has Spoken And ... Caltrans Wins!

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced that California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) earned the Grand Prize and the People's Choice awards in the 2014 America's Transportation Awards competition.

A record 73 transportation projects from 36 states and the District of Columbia were nominated in the 7th annual competition. The 10 projects that received the highest number of points in four regional competitions were in the running for the top prizes announced today, at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Charlotte.

"There were many projects worthy of recognition in this year's competition," said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. "But the Caltrans and Florida DOT projects exemplify the best of the best. Their use of innovation and creative problem-solving improved the lives of the nearby communities and their economies. We sincerely tip our hats to all the hard working professionals who helped make these projects a reality."

Caltrans' San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span project received the Grand Prize, determined by a panel of judges. The $6.3 billion project replaced a nearly 80-year-old structure with a new, modern bridge featuring advanced seismic response technology. The bridge, which was constructed to last more than 100 years, is designed to accommodate future expansions of light rail and other modes of transportation.

The Grand Prize and People's Choice award winners were presented with $10,000 cash prizes to be used to support a charity or transportation-related scholarship program of the agencies' choosing.
Learn more about the contest and this year's entries at

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two-Hour FULL CLOSURE of I-5 in Burbank This Sunday

If you drive I-5 through Burbank late at night on weekends, this post if for you. I-5 will be closed in both directions between Burbank Boulevard and Buena Vista Street on Sunday, November 23, 2014, from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. while a Burbank Water and Power crew relocates an electrical utility line. All on- and off-ramps in the work zone will be closed as well. A signed detour will be provided so you don’t get lost. (See details below.)

Although the closure of ALL lanes won’t begin until 2 a.m. on November 23, lane closures will start on Saturday, November 22, at 11 p.m. and will end on Sunday, November 23, at 6 a.m. So, if you’ll be driving I-5 during this window, expect delays. Check out the motorist advisory for this closure here.


Northbound I-5 Detour: Traffic will exit I-5 at the Burbank Boulevard off-ramp. Traffic exiting east on Burbank Boulevard will go north on San Fernando Boulevard, east on Amherst Drive, north on Glenoaks Boulevard, and south on Buena Vista Street to the northbound I-5 on-ramp. Traffic exiting west on Burbank Boulevard will continue west on Burbank Boulevard, go north on Victory Place, and then north on Buena Vista Street to the northbound I-5 on-ramp.

Southbound I-5 Detour: Traffic will exit I-5 at the Buena Vista Street off-ramp, then head south on San Fernando Road, east on Winona Avenue, south on Buena Vista Street, south on San Fernando Boulevard, straight to Victory Place, and east on Burbank Boulevard to the southbound I-5 on-ramp.

The work is part of the I-5 Empire Project in Burbank, a series of freeway improvements between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street. More information about the project is here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

CTC Allocates $368 MIllion for 115 Biking and Walking Projects

Good news for bikers and walkers! The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has adopted 115 biking and walking projects as part of the state’s $368 million 2014 Active Transportation Program (ATP), making it the nation’s largest non-motorized transportation program. The CTC will allocate $133.6 million to the projects at its future meetings.

The adopted projects come from California’s eight largest Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Fresno Council of Governments; Sacramento Area Council of Governments: Southern California Association of Governments; Metropolitan Transportation Commission (Bay Area); San Joaquin Council of Governments; Stanislaus Council of Governments; Tulare County Association of Governments; and Kern Council of Governments.

Last year, Governor Brown signed legislation creating the ATP. The new program combined several small bike and pedestrian-related grant funds into a comprehensive program.

The Westside Pedestrian and Bicycle Facility Improvements Project in Ventura is one example of a project that received ATP funding. The $1.5 million project will construct sidewalks and sidewalk improvements, curb extensions, a bike lane and install rectangular rapid flashing beacons and crosswalks in Ventura on Cedar Street from Prospect to Poli Street, and on Ventura Avenue from Kellogg Street to DeAnza Drive. The improvements will enhance safety and connectivity for walkers and bikers in an area with high volumes of non-motorized use.

Safe mobility for everyone—including pedestrians and bicyclists—is part of Caltrans’ mission to provide a sustainable transportation system that will help make California a better place to live and enhance our economy. The ATP supports a healthy lifestyle that also helps achieve California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The complete list of all 115 ATP project is here. Info about the ATP is here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I-10 Full Freeway Closure this Weekend

 Caltrans will close BOTH directions of I-10 between the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) and Baldwin Park Boulevard Sunday, November 16 from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Motorists will experience delays and are strongly advised to use alternate routes.

The closures are part of the $66 million 10/605 Design-Build project, which will create a flyover bridge from the southbound San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) to the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway (I-10). Detour signs will be posted to direct motorists. Anticipated project completion is fall, 2015. Caltrans reminds you to Slow For the Cone Zone.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact Yessica Jovel at (213) 897-1876 or Public Affairs at (213) 897-3656. Caltrans apologizes for this inconvenience as we work to improve I-10

Veterans Honored With Purple Heart Trail Signs

Just in time for Veterans Day, Caltrans, in partnership with Chapter 750 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, State Senator Hannah‑Beth Jackson, and Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long, installed Purple Heart Trail signs along US Highway 101 in Ventura to mark the sacrifices and contributions of veterans to this country. This segment, which is part of a larger network across the nation, covers the entire length of Ventura County on US Highway 101. The 36-mile segment in Santa Barbara County just north of this segment was designated in 2010. 

The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the congressionally sanctioned Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to commemorate and honor all men and women who have been wounded or given their lives in combat while serving in the U.S. armed forces. The Purple Heart Trail originates in Mount Vernon, Virginia, and traverses the United States to California. 

Check out the video below to see the Caltrans Mission Hills sign crew installing a Purple Heart Trail sign on southbound U.S. 101 near Bates Road.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dr. E.D. Botts: WWI Veteran, Public Servant, and Creator of Botts' Dots

Dr. E.D. Botts
Ever heard of Botts’ Dots?  If you’ve ever driven on a freeway in California you’ve seen Dr. Botts’ dots, which are also known as raised pavement markers, buttons or traffic markers that help to guide freeway traffic and remind (bump, bump) motorists that their vehicle is crossing into an adjacent lane.

In 1950 Dr. E.D. Botts joined the Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, (now known as Caltrans) as a Senior Chemical Testing Engineer in the Materials and Research Department in Sacramento. 

Moderate to heavy rainfall or darkness caused the painted white lines on freeways to disappear.  In 1954, Botts developed a type of raised button or dot made of concrete to substitute for the painted white line.    Eventually, it was discovered that dots made of polyester or epoxy-type resin plastic were more durable.  In 1966, “Botts’ Dots” was mandated for Los Angeles area freeways in 1966 – millions were installed. 

Botts was widely known for his work with paints used by the Division of Highways for improved traffic striping and the protection of structural steel.  He also pioneered the use of epoxy resins in binders and adhesives, and received national recognition for his work.

Model shows arrangement of dots with reflectorized pavement markers in 1966.

Botts, born in Missouri in 1893, served in the U.S. Army during World War I, received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.  In 1924 he became chief chemist for American Marine Paint Co. in San Francisco.  From 1928 to 1944 he was a professor of chemistry at San Jose State College (now University).  He was a technical adviser to the Small War Plants Corporation and the U.S. Department of Commerce in Los Angeles.  He also served for two years as a research chemist with the Veterans Hospital in San Fernando Valley.  Botts stayed with the Division of Highways until his retirement on January 1, 1960.  He passed away in 1962.     

Source: California Highway and Public Works, January-February 1960 and Caltrans Headquarters Library    

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Whittier Boulevard Paving Project Begins this Week!

If you drive Whittier Boulevard between Valley Home Avenue and Washington Boulevard in the City of Whittier, you're going to notice a lot of construction activity in the coming months, starting this week.

Caltrans is beginning a $1.4 million project that will repave Whittier Boulevard (aka State Route 72), and then add new thermoplastic striping and signal loops. Crews will begin putting down temporary striping this week, grind the pavement next week, and start on the asphalt work later this month. The project will be completed in January 2015.

The work will be done entirely at night — between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. Lanes will be closed but there will be no full closures, meaning you'll always be able to get through in both directions. All lanes will be open during the day. There will be no closures on major holidays.

The project will require nighttime parking restrictions beginning the week of November 10, so keep an eye on the signs.

When the work is complete, you'll enjoy a much smoother, easier drive on Whittier Boulevard. In the meantime, Caltrans thanks you for your patience. Please slow for the cone zone to help keep you, other motorists and the construction crew safe!

10/605 Direct Connector Project update

If you have found yourself traveling along the San Bernardino (I-10) Freeway in the San Gabriel Valley recently, you may have noticed the progress being made with construction of a $66 million direct fly-over connector from the southbound San Gabriel River (I-605) Freeway to eastbound I-10. The direct-connector is a 30-foot wide single lane connector that will be 58 feet at its highest point. Once completed, the connector will improve traffic flow, reduce commuter delays due to merging vehicles and provide improved goods movement, and enhance safety and mobility in the region. Retaining walls along southbound I-605, falsework and construction of the columns for the connector have been completed.  Upcoming construction will include roadway work along the eastern end of the bridge, and further falsework and column installation work.

View of the direct connector from I-605.

The direct connector will be 58 feet at its highest point.

Retaining walls and soundwalls are being constructed as part of this project.

The connector touches down just east of Frazier Street, with the roadway continuing underneath the Bess Avenue pedestrian crossing.

California's Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Create a California Culture of Safety

Register NOW—The events are FREE!

How can we improve traffic safety in California?
Meet face-to-face with like-minded safety stakeholders in California and talk about what you would do improve traffic safety in the state. Over 450 stakeholders gave us their opinions last week in a series of webinars. If you did not participate—or even if you did—this is your chance to let us know what problems you are facing, whether you have an innovative approach that’s working, and how the SHSP can make a difference in your community.

Traffic Safety Summits

Southern California
November 12, 2014
8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
California State University, Los Angeles
Golden Eagle Student Union

Northern California
November 14, 2014
8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
California State University, Sacramento
University Union Ballrooms 2 & 3

Tell your thoughts on:

  • Impaired Driving Older Drivers Roadway Departure
  • Occupant Protection Commercial Drivers Intersections/Interchanges
  • Speeding/Aggressive Driving Motorcyclists Work Zones
  • Distracted Driving Pedestrians Tribal Safety
  • Young Drivers Bicyclists Emergency Medical Services

To register, visit:
For more information, contact:
Ursula Stuter, Caltrans, (916) 654-6101,
Audrey Wennink, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., (312) 665-0218,

Summit registration deadline is November 7, 2015, and you can register at the event.

Any person with a disability, who requires a disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services, in order to participate in the meeting, may submit a written or electronic request for such modification or accommodation no later than five days prior to the scheduled meeting. Please send your request to Vince Becerra, (916) 651-6130,

Monday, November 3, 2014

Caltrans Seeks Your Input on How to Improve Interregional Transportation

In an effort to improve community outreach and strengthen California’s interregional transportation system, Caltrans is seeking ideas from the public on how to improve transportation between regions of the state. (More information is available here.)

California’s population is projected to grow to 50 million people in the next decade and a half, which means we need to not only preserve existing transportation infrastructure but also invest in new transit modes that move ever-increasing numbers of people and goods.

The purpose of the forthcoming “Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan” is to identify the best ways to invest in interregional transportation corridors to strengthen California’s economy and livability while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

For highways, the state will apply a “complete streets” approach where highways are designed to improve all modes of transportation. For rail, the state will explore improved integration of rail systems, including the high-speed rail system, to better serve interregional travelers. Caltrans will also look at the interregional systems of trails and bikeways, and where those can be improved to support active transportation.

As part of the upcoming public outreach, Caltrans will host five 2014 public workshops and a webinar to solicit input and feedback on how to draft a modern transportation plan for interregional corridors. The closest to Los Angeles is the one in Fontana:

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Caltrans District 8, Fontana Office
Management Center Independent Assurance Bldg.
13970 Victoria St.
Fontana, CA

And for those who can’t make it to Fontana, check out the webinar:

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Click here for further information. The event will also be posted here for viewing afterward.

After incorporating public feedback, Caltrans will write a draft document for further public comment in February 2015.

Additional information on the “Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan” can be found here, where the public can also submit written comments and ask questions.