Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: The March Mile Marker!

The March 2015 issue of The Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report is now available. What exactly is The Mile Marker? It’s a plain-language report (no engineer-ese) written for anyone who wants to know how well Caltrans is performing and the condition of California's transportation infrastructure. 

Here's a snapshot of what's in this issue: 

   -> Alternatives to the gas tax to fund transportation. 

   -> Caltrans’ emergency response to the Napa earthquake. 

   -> Caring for California’s 1,300 bridges. 

   -> How Caltrans is using technology to improve mobility. 

   -> Caltrans’ efforts to reduce highway fatalities.

And much, much more! Read the full report here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Catlrans Hearts Walkers and Bicyclists

Think Caltrans is just freeways? Think again! Although building, operating and maintaining the freeway system will always be an important part of what we do, Caltrans is increasingly involved in active transportation projects — "active transportation" being transpo-speak for walking and bicycling. 

The Caltrans News Flash below looks at how the department and local communities are partnering up to increase transportation options that encourage physical activities. The goal is to increase the proportion of trips accomplished by biking and walking, which will help achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals and enhance public health.

More information about the Active Transportation Program is here


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Open: North Broadway and Grand Ave. Ramps to US 101

Grand Avenue on-ramp to US 101
At 3:40 a.m. today the North Broadway and Grand Avenue on-ramps were reopened to daytime traffic.  The ramps will still close intermittently at night through mid-April.  These ramps were part of multiple locations along US 101 closed as part of a project to replace the existing bridge rails, bringing them into compliance with current safety standards.

The bridge rail project is 75% complete.  The entire project completion is estimated late spring 2015. Construction activities for the next two weeks are as follows.  This work schedule is subject to change:

March 16 through March 30
Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Southbound US 101
Highland Avenue/Cahuenga Boulevard off-ramp – Estimated completion mid-May
Vine Street/Franklin off-ramp – Estimated completion mid-April.

March 16 through March 30
Intermittent night closures, Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

Northbound US 101

North Broadway on-ramp – Open daily

State Route 110/US 101
Grand Avenue on-ramp SR-110 – Open daily  

Closures include lanes and ramps within the project parameters.  Some weekend work may be required, excluding holidays.  Motorists, local businesses and residents may experience noise and vibration from construction activities.  Expect traffic delays, plan ahead and leave early.  The contractor for this $4.3 million project is Peterson-Chase of Irvine, California. 

Please Be Work Zone Alert.

Broadway on-ramp to US 101


Friday, March 13, 2015

Construction Crew Discovers Five Million-Year-Old Whale Fossil

What happens when a construction crew finds a fossil — say, five million-year-old whale vertebrae? This actually happened recently to a construction crew working on a Caltrans project in Orange County. Check out the video below to learn more about how Caltrans handles fossil discoveries and to see how incredibly HUGE whale vertebrae are.

Friday, March 6, 2015

I-5 Florence Avenue Interchange Groundbreaking

On Thursday, March 5 Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $215 million I-5 HOV / Florence Avenue Interchange Project,  the fifth in a series of six construction projects to widen I-5 between the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) and the Orange County line. This project will ease traffic congestion for the more than 170,000 motorists who travel it daily. Once completed, the Florence Avenue Interchange project will add one HOV lane and a general purpose lane in each direction of the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) as well as increase vehicle capacity on Florence Avenue.

District 7 Director Carrie Bowen (5th from left) along with representatives from  Metro, CHP, I-5 Consortium Cities JPA and the cities of Santa Fe Springs, Downey and Norwalk break ground on the project.
Featured speakers at the groundbreaking event included Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Don Knabe, Downey Mayor Luis H. Marquez, Santa Fe Springs Mayor Pro Tem Richard J. Moore, Downey Councilmember Fernando Vasquez, Norwalk Councilmember Michael Mendez,  Metro Deputy CEO Lindy Lee and Captain David Moeller, Santa Fe Springs Area Commander with the California Highway Patrol.

Construction on the project began in February 2015 and will be completed in fall 2019.
For information  on all construction projects taking place on I-5 please visit the

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Caltrans Going Multi-Modal! Report Highlights "Active Transportation" Achievements

Did you know that California is now one of the nation’s top 10 bicycle-friendly states and has one of the nation’s largest programs to encourage walking and biking? These are just two of the achievements highlighted in Caltrans’ annual Non-Motorized Transportation Facilities Report.

The report provides an overview on the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP), the largest of its kind in the U.S. In its first call for projects in May 2014, Caltrans received 771 project applications requesting more than a billion dollars. The California Transportation Commission has adopted the first program of projects for the ATP, which includes 265 projects using $368 million in ATP funds. Of this amount, $311 million is dedicated to 220 projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

The report also highlights program activities and completed projects, as well as other state and federal partnering programs to establish and improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Among the completed projects is Southern California’s first “bicycle boulevard,” which is located in Pasadena. The project improved bicycle safety and advanced the vision of commuting in Pasadena without a car.

Speaking of bikes, California jumped from 19th to 9th in the nation in the League of American Bicyclists annual report due, in large part, to notable progress in legislation, funding and policy that will make it easier to build bike lanes and mandate that drivers give cyclists three feet of space when they pass.

Also, as part of its effort to streamline construction of multi-modal local streets and roads, in April 2014, Caltrans became the third state to endorse National Association of City Transportation Officials guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways.

Caltrans’ has historically been known as a highways agency, but as the report indicates, we’re shifting our focus to creating a transportation system that links communities and is safe for all travelers, including those who choose to travel by biking and walking ... like Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty, who is pictured above with Caltrans employees putting the "active" in transportation.

You can read the full report here.

Check out the League of American Bicyclists report cards here.

See the Caltrans press release about the report here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

PCH Opens, Closes and Opens Again

Looking north on PCH south of Mugu Rock
Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) was opened at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, March 2.  

SR-1 was closed after heavy storms caused mud and rock slides that blocked all lanes of the highway at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, March 1. 

The highway was cleared of mud and debris by 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, but due to heavy rains and a possible flash flood according to the National Weather Service, SR-1 remained closed.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pacific Coast Highway in Pt. Mugu (SR-1) Opened to Public (Feb. 27)

Caltrans announced on Friday, Feb. 27 that Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) between Sycamore Day Use Area and Yerba Buena Road was opened to public access at 2:15 p.m..  An average of 10,000 vehicles uses this section of highway a day.  

Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) between Yerba Buena Road and Las Posas Road was closed after rain storms and debris slides covered the highway in December.  Repair crews were able to clear the highway and re-open it for the public for a short time.

In January a heavy storm caused more rock and debris slides, and washed out slopes near Sycamore Cove Beach requiring that highway remain closed till the end of February instead of January.  Six-miles of the 9-mile closure between Las Posas Road and Sycamore Cove Day Use Area were opened to the public on February 3.

Motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists were restricted from entering the three-mile closure because the highway was undermined in three separate locations just south of the Sycamore Cove Day Use Area. 

To repair the remaining sections highway, our contractor:

- Removed 40,000 yards of dirt or 4000 truck loads. Much of the dirt was reused to rebuild damaged sections along the highway.  Point Mugu State Park used the dirt to repair trails and CSU Channel Islands will use the dirt for a future construction project.

- Cleared dozens of drains, thousands scuppers and weep holes, and rebuilt thousands of feet of shoulders and slopes.

- Used a 200-ton Link Belt crane to place 8,168 tons of rock to help rebuild the rock slope protection south of the Sycamore Cove Day Use Area along the highway.

Union Engineering of Ventura, California was awarded this $7 million emergency contract.  The state will be reimbursed for the costs of this project under the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Fund. 

Please Be Work Zone Alert. 

Learn About the California Transportation Plan 2040 -- Webinar Makes It Easy!

In March, Caltrans will be hosting seven statewide workshops that will give the public an opportunity to discuss the State’s future transportation system and to provide input on the State’s long-range transportation plan — the California Transportation Plan 2040 (CTP 2040). Read more about it here.

To kick-off the extensive interactive effort with the public, the CTP Project Team will host a webinar this Thursday, March 5, 2015, from 2-3 p.m., and you're invited to participate. The webinar will provide an overview of the CTP 2040 and an open comment period.

Click here to register. To learn more about CTP 2040, visit the website.