Friday, October 12, 2018

How Do We Build Median Traffic Barriers?

Caltrans median traffic barriers provide a safe separation of vehicles flowing in opposite directions. What is the process involved in building them?

A trench is cleared to build a footing:

A rebar frame for the footing  is placed into the trench:

And then encased in concrete:

Then a rebar frame for the barrier is placed into the concrete:


Then concrete "forms" are built over the barrier's rebar frame:


Then concrete is poured into the forms:

Finally, the forms are removed to reveal the concrete barrier rail with decorative facing:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Three Caltrans Districts to Host L.A. Workshop on Planning Grant Programs

LOS ANGELES -- Three Caltrans districts in Southern California are hosting a workshop on the Planning Grant Programs on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, following the call-for-applications announcement.

Caltrans Districts 7, 8 and 12 are hosting the event, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in downtown Los Angeles. 

Caltrans District 7 includes the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura. District 8 includes the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside. District 12 covers Orange County.

The location of the workshop is the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), 900 Wilshire Blvd., 17th Floor (Policy Meeting Room A), Los Angeles CA 90017.

Space will be limited at the workshop, so interested individuals are asked to RSVP by Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, via email to 

Parking is limited at the SCAG building, so please consider bus or rail transit options.

Join in with your web browser as a guest at
Call in by phone at (669) 900-6833. Meeting ID: 747202432.

Fiscal Year 2019-20 Grant Application Guides, application forms and required templates are posted on the Division of Transportation Planning Grants website at including Sustainable Communities Grants ($25 million) and Adaptation Planning Grants ($6 million).

The application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.

Caltrans Headquarters will host a Statewide Transportation Grant Webinar on Oct. 9, 2018, from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. More information is available at the website listed above,

Monday, September 10, 2018

Spreading the Word, Help is Available in a Crisis

New signs on State Route 118 promote awareness of a suicide crisis line's toll-free number.
To encourage people to reach out for help in a time of crisis, and to promote public awareness of support services, Caltrans installed a new type of sign on State Route 118 in the city of Moorpark in Ventura County.

A total of 16 signs were placed on and near a high bridge in July 2018 informing people that help is available and providing the toll-free telephone number for a 24/7 suicide crisis support line.

The new message, in English and Spanish, grew out of a collaboration between Caltrans and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a nonprofit agency that provides a variety of services in Southern California.

Earlier, local government officials had asked Caltrans whether steps could be taken to prevent avoidable deaths, such as a fence along the long, curving bridge near the junction of State Routes 118 and 23 in eastern Ventura County.

Fencing, however, would block a driver's line of sight, raising safety concerns. So officials evaluated other possible measures.

The signs were created and installed in the hope of benefiting people who feel despondent, and their families and friends, as well as informing the public at large that such services are available.

The signs also could help prevent injury to others. Below the bridge are streets, pedestrians, bicyclists and railroad tracks that carry passenger and freight trains daily.

The signs are in English and Spanish since those languages are widely used in Southern California. Didi Hirsch Suicide Crisis Line counselors can serve callers in any language by using their translation services.

On July 12, Caltrans, with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, attached 12 signs to the sides of the twin concrete structures -- facing traffic lanes. On July 5 and 6, Caltrans installed four ground-mounted signs visible to drivers approaching the bridge from either direction.

The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S.

Twin concrete structures comprise the Route 118 bridge over Princeton Avenue in Moorpark.

Monday, August 6, 2018

55-Hour Closure of NB I-405 Connector to Eastbound I-105 and Lane Closures on EB I-105 at I-405

HAWTHORNE — Reconstruction and pavement rehabilitation of the northbound I-405 (San Diego Freeway) connectors to eastbound / westbound I-105 (Century / Glenn Anderson Freeway) continue.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces the scheduled 55-hour closure of the connector ramp from northbound Interstate 405 (San Diego Freeway) to eastbound Interstate 105 (Century – Glenn Anderson Freeway) and of freeway lanes on eastbound I-105 at I-405 to grind, pave, and stripe lanes on I-105. The closures are subject to change and are scheduled as follows:

From 11:59 p.m. Thurs., August 9 until 6 a.m. Fri., August 10:
o Northbound I-405 connector to EB I-105 closed.
o EB I-105 reduced to one lane approaching and past the I-405 interchange.

From 10 p.m. Fri., August 10 until 5 a.m. Mon., August 13 (55 consecutive hours):
• The northbound I-405 connector ramp to eastbound I-105 will be closed.
• Eastbound I-105 will be reduced to two lanes approaching and past the I-405 interchange.

Some lane and ramp closures may start as early as 7 p.m.
The eastbound El Segundo on ramp to northbound I-405 will remain open.
The northbound I-405 connector to westbound I-105 will remain open.

Drivers exiting LAX are advised to avoid entering eastbound I-105. Exit onto eastbound  Imperial Highway and rejoin eastbound I-105 at Freeman Ave. Or, exit onto eastbound Century Blvd. to southbound Hawthorne Blvd. to the on ramp to eastbound I-105. See attached detour maps.

Connector ramp detour: traffic may exit northbound I-405 to eastbound Imperial Highway and rejoin eastbound I-105 at the Freeman Ave. on ramp (east of Hawthorne Blvd.) Detour signs will be in place.                                                   

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Caltrans Recycles!

Caltrans Recycles!

Caltrans is in the process of widening the freeway, adding lanes and reconstructing interchanges along I-5 from I-605 to the Orange County line and from SR-134 to Buena Vista Street in Burbank. As we demolish old interchanges, bridges, ramps and sound and retaining walls, we keep the demolished concrete and metal.

One of our contractors then utilizes a large machine called a "crusher" to separate the metal and crush the concrete into pieces small enough to be used as aggregate to back-fill retaining walls and as base layer to build new freeway lanes. The crushed aggregate travels over a conveyor belt and is deposited into a large pile. Front loaders then load the recycled aggregate into trucks that deliver it to various construction sites within our overall project.

This recycling effort prevents negative impact on our environment and reduces project cost to our taxpayers. This is just another example of Caltrans fulfilling its mission statement to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California's economy and livability.

The photos below show the "crusher" and other equipment in action recycling our concrete and metal debris:



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

10 on I-10: 55-Hour Weekend Closures on I-10 Begin June 15

Beginning this weekend, Caltrans will conduct ten 55-hour weekend lane closures on the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) between Atlantic Boulevard and Rosemead Boulevard for bridge rehabilitation work. Along with the closure of the I-10 Metro Express Lanes, on- and off-ramps and local streets will also be closed. The first 55-hour weekend closure will begin Friday, June 15 at 10 p.m. and continue through Monday, June 18 at 5 a.m.

Friday, June 15 at 10 p.m. through Monday, June 18 at 5 a.m.
·       Eastbound I-10 Express Lanes at Atlantic Boulevard
·       Eastbound I-10 Atlantic Boulevard North on- and off-ramps
·       Westbound I-10 Atlantic Boulevard South on- and off-ramps
·       Both directions of Atlantic Boulevard between I-10 and Hellman Avenue 

Location of the first 55-hour weekend closure along eastbound I-10 at Atlantic Boulevard 

Although NOT a full freeway closure, motorists should expect delays and are strongly advised to use alternate routes, avoid the area or use public transit. Additionally, motorists can check traffic conditions before they leave by calling 511 or visiting the Caltrans Quickmap at

For more information regarding the I-10 55-hour closures and closure updates, please visit the project webpage  

10 55-hour weekend closures will take place on I-10 for bridge maintenance activities

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

In Burbank at I-5, Full Closure of Buena Vista Street on May 18-21

Buena Vista Street, looking south from the undercrossing at I-5 in Burbank.

The I-5 Buena Vista Street undercrossing in Burbank, looking north.
BURBANK — Buena Vista Street at the I-5 (Golden State Freeway) undercrossing is scheduled to be closed May 18-21 for paving and striping as part of the Empire Project, a series of improvements to Interstate 5 in Burbank.

From 10 p.m. Friday, May 18, to 6 a.m. Monday, May 21, Buena Vista Street is scheduled to be completely closed in both directions between Winona Avenue on the north and San Fernando Boulevard on the south.

Detours will be posted. The schedule is weather-permitting and subject to change.

Also closed for paving, at the same time, will be the northbound I-5 San Fernando Boulevard on-ramp, located north of the future I-5 interchange under construction at Empire Avenue in Burbank.

In addition, lanes will be reduced on San Fernando Boulevard at Buena Vista Street and on North Victory Place at Empire Avenue. Paving is scheduled in both areas. Also, Empire Avenue may be closed from Wilson Avenue to North Victory Place depending on the progress of work.

Traffic congestion and significant delays may occur near the closures, so drivers are advised to avoid the area or allow extra travel time.

When Buena Vista Street reopens on May 21, it will be reduced to one lane in each direction through late June for seismic retrofit work on bridge columns at the I-5 Buena Vista undercrossing.

As a result, congestion and delays are expected through June on Buena Vista Street and at nearby intersections, including Buena Vista Street at San Fernando Boulevard and Buena Vista Street at Winona Avenue.

The Empire Project includes construction of HOV (carpool) lanes, elevated railroad tracks, a new interchange at Empire Avenue and more. Information is available online at

Drivers will see more work on California bridges and highways as a result of SB 1, the state’s new transportation funding.

Caltrans reminds drivers to "Be Work Zone Alert" and "Slow for the Cone Zone."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Hundreds gather to honor and pay their respects to fallen Caltrans workers at annual Workers Memorial

On April 28, 1993, the lives for the friends, family and co-workers of Juan "John" Thome changed forever.

Thome was struck and killed by an errant driver simply for doing his job. The Maintenance Landscape Leadworker was checking on a landscape crew along State Route 60 (Pomona Freeway) in the city of Diamond Bar when he was hit by a vehicle.

Sadly, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) employees put their lives on the line every day to maintain and repair our state highway system. And since 1921, Thome and 187 other Caltrans employees have paid the ultimate price.

On April 18, hundreds of employees, family members and guests took a moment to recognize and remember workers like Mr. Thome that were killed at the annual District 7 Workers Memorial.
Among the attendees was Chrstine Thome, the widow of Juan "John" Thome, and her family. Since 1993, and every year since, they have come to the District 7 Workers Memorial to pay their respects to Thome and the 36 other Caltrans employees in District 7, which covers Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, who have been killed on the job.

Christine Thome, the widow of Juan "John" Thome, outside the Diamond Bar Maintenance Station
April 18 before the 2018 District 7 Workers Memorial. Mrs. Thome placed a wreath on sign honoring 
her late husband, who was killed by errant driver while checking on landscape crew April 28, 1993.
Since 1921, 37 Caltrans District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura Counties) employees
have been killed on the job.
This year's memorial was held at the South Region Maintenance Station under the Interstate 105 (Glenn Anderson Freeway) in the city of Los Angeles.
Held every year in April and May at the 12 Caltrans districts statewide, the Workers Memorial is a time to honor Caltrans workers who lost their lives helping drivers get where they need to go efficiently and safely.

"Every day, Caltrans employees go to work knowing that they face real risks," Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen said during the District 7 Workers Memorial April 18.

"Remembering our fallen coworkers is a sober reminder that we must continually recommit ourselves to safety every day," said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. "I would like to appeal to those who use our travel-way, if you speed, text drive impaired, distracted or aggressively, you are putting your life at risk and you are putting others in serious danger."

Pictured from left to right at 2018 District 7 Workers Memorial: Vince Mammano with 
Federal Highway Administration; District 7 Deputy District Director Maintenance Deborah Wong; 
Caltrans Director Laurie Berman; California Highway Patrol Captain Mark Garrett; 
Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen; Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) 
Planning Director Kome Ajise; and Caltrans Maintenance Chief Tony Tavares.
The last District 7 employee killed while working on a state highway was in 2016. On Sept. 1, 2016, Electrician Jorge Lopez was killed when a big rig crossed onto the shoulder while he was standing outside his vehicle on State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) near Palmdale. Prior to that, District 7 went 11 years without a work-related fatality.

Caltrans District 7 electrician Jorge Lopez was struck and killed on State Route 14 near Palmdale
when a big rig crossed onto the shoulder while he was standing outside his vehicle.

The statewide Workers Memorial ceremony will be held April 26 at 11 a.m. on the West Steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

This year, Caltrans is paying special tribute to Si Si Han, a Toll Collector who was struck and killed Dec. 2, 2017 by a driver allegedly under the influence who crashed into a Bay Bridge toll booth.

Si Si Han, a Bay Bridge Toll Collector, was killed Dec. 2, 2017 when a box truck collided with the toll booth
she was working in. She is survived by her husband, Ryan, and their 10-year-old daughter, Ashly.

Caltrans will also honor Annette Brooks, a District 4 (Bay Area) Structure Steel Painter Supervisor who was shot and killed April 24, 2017 at the Rio Dell, Calif. Maintenance Station. 
Caltrans Structural Steel Painter Supervisor Annette Brooks worked for the state of
California for more than 36 years when she was shot and killed at the Rio Dell
Maintenance Station, approximately 25 miles south of Eureka.
Caltrans is committed to proving safe and efficient work zones, both for the traveling public and employees working on state freeways and highways. Safety is our number one priority, and honoring our fallen workers is a tragic reminder of the risks workers face every day.
Drivers can prevent tragic outcomes both to themselves and highway workers by slowing down in work zones, keeping their eyes on the road, avoiding texting and other distracted driving habits, as well as complying with the Move Over Law. Passed in 2007, it requires drivers to move over if it is safe to do so, or slow down when approaching vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights, including Caltrans vehicles.

Together, we can make sure Caltrans employees and other highway workers are able to get home to their families every night.

"Highway worker safety is everyone's responsibility...Be patient. Don't speed. Be Work Zone Alert," said Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Update on Long-Term Reconstruction of Northbound I-405 Connectors to Eastbound & Westbound I-105

HAWTHORNE - The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has reconstructed the following two connector ramps:
The northbound I-405 (San Diego Freeway) connector to eastbound I-105 (Century / Glenn Anderson Freeway) was closed for 14 weeks for reconstruction. It re-opened at 5 a.m. on January 3, 2018.
The northbound I-405 connector to westbound I-105 was closed for almost 12 weeks for reconstruction. It re-opened at 3 a.m. on March 24, 2018.
Our contractor is now reconstructing and repaving one final lane of the collector road leading up to the two connector ramps. This stage of construction is scheduled to continue for several months. At least one lane of the collector road will remain open to traffic 24/7, with the exceptions that it may be closed overnight occasionally and there may be one 55–hour weekend closure during this time period to complete the project.
The right lane and auxiliary lane of northbound I-405 (San Diego Freeway) approaching Imperial Highway are scheduled to be closed from 10 p.m. Monday, Apr. 16 until 6 a.m. Tuesday, Apr. 17 to remove K-rail.
When the freeway lanes re-open, the contractor will also re-open the eastbound El Segundo Blvd. on ramp to northbound I-405 after a long-term closure.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Caltrans Navy Reservist Surprises Supervisor with 'Patriot Award' for Accommodating Military Service Duties

For United States Naval Reserve Petty Officer First Class Rodney Russell, rotating between his military and civilian life is a balancing act.

"Being a service member is extremely hard," the Navy Reservist based in Port Hueneme said. "With the deployments, unexpected travel and then to lump all that with your civilian job as well that you have to keep up and maintain."
United States Navy Reservist Rodney Russell also works as an equipment
operator for Caltrans with the Camarillo Road Crew.
When Russell isn't serving with Navy Recuit Training Command or being deployed to Afghanistan and places like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Russell works as an equipment operator with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Camarillo Road Crew.

But as a service member, his call to duty could intersect with his civilian life, and work with Caltrans. However, his maintenance supervisor, Ryan Gaudenzi, always understood, taking a flexible approach with his schedule and obligations with the Naval Reserve.

"Whenever I would come to Ryan to explain to him that I had to leave...there was never any type of push back or anything like that," Russell said. "It would always be, 'Hey. Let me know when you got to go, and thank you for your service.' That means a lot to me."

It meant so much to Russell, he thought his supervisor deserved recognition for allowing him to work around his military responsibilities.

On March 29, Russell surprised Gaudezi at Caltrans' Camarillo maintenance facility with the "Patriotic Employer Award."

"I had to put you in the spotlight," Russell told Gaudezi as he was presented with a certificate of recognition and letter of appreciation.

Navy Reservist and Caltrans Equipment Operator Rodney Russell (left) surprises Maintenance Supervisor
Ryan Gaudezi (center) with a "Patriot Award" at the Caltrans Maintenance Facility in Camarillo  March 29.
The award is in recognition of Gaudezi for supporting Russell's military commitments.
The award was presented by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Established in 1972 as a Department of Defense Program, ESGR strives to encourage employers to support and value the military commitments and service of their employees.

Russell, who started his service for Caltrans in May 2016 in the Moorpark Landscape Yard, is also a member of the Caltrans Honor Guard.

The Caltrans Honor Guard plays an active role in the annual Caltrans Workers Memorial Ceremony. Typically held every April, the ceremony honors all maintenance workers who paid the ultimate price making our state highway system safe for the driving public.

According to Russell, there are 16 members of the Caltrans Honor Guard, 13 of which that have military backgrounds.

And for Russell, a Chicago native who has been in the United States Navy since 2001, having an employer that allows its employees to play an important role serving their country makes the switch between civilian and military duties easier.

"Ever since I've started working at Caltrans, I've had nothing but support," Russell said.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Caltrans Maintenance Crews Work to Provide Smoother, Safer Ride on Interstate 605 (San Gabriel River Freeway)

While many of you were still sleeping, two maintenance crews with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) were working to make a stretch of Interstate 605 (San Gabriel River Freeway) smoother and safer for drivers.

Sections of pavement on I-605 in West Whittier/City of Industry 
area that were replaced by Caltrans maintenance crews. 

On March 17 and 18 and March 24 and 25, the Pomona and Whittier crews replaced dozens of worn out concrete slabs along I-605 from State Route 60 (Pomona Freeway) in the city of Industry to Washington Boulevard in the West Whitter-Los Nietos area of Los Angeles County.

Caltrans maintenance crews replacing concrete slabs on I-605 near Beverly Boulevard.

First, crews saw cut the damaged slabs into pieces to loosen them and prevent damage to surrounding concrete slabs.

Section of roadway filled with plastic liner and rebar as crews begin placing dowel baskets
across dug out roadway.

The panels are removed with an excavator and loaded into dump trucks. Crews then make dig outs in the roadway, and fill them with plastic liner, and install a reinforcing bar (rebar) cage, placing a dowel basket across the area. Dowel baskets are used to transfer loads of materials from one slab of pavement to the next, reducing the stress on the joints and allowing the paving process to run smoothly.

Once concrete is poured in, crews level pavement with roller.

Rapid set concrete is then poured onto the roadway and leveled with a roller. Once the concrete cures, joints across the concrete slabs are saw cut to match the other slabs, and once the slab cures and achieves the strength needed to handle the weight of a car, the lane is open for business to vehicles.

Due to funding from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, also known as Senate Bill 1, state, regional and local transportation agencies have the opportunity to significantly invest in California's transportation infrastructure, fixing our roads and ultimately keeping up with regular maintenance needs.

While this work on I-605 was not an SB 1 project, drivers can expect to see improvements on the roads they drive on through "Fix-it-First" highway repairs. This includes smoother pavement, pothole filling and new lane markings statewide on 17,000 miles of additional pavement.

So far in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, we have completed two SB 1 projects, with one pavement preservation project currently under construction on Interstate 5 (Golden State Freeway) between Santa Fe Springs and Commerce, and five more pavement projects slated for construction this summer.

     Crews adding new pavement on southbound I-5 near Garfield Avenue in Commerce. The work is
     part of a $1.7 million pavement preservation project on a five mile segment of I-5 between
     Commerce and Santa Fe Springs using SB 1 funding.

    Crews working on southbound I-5 near Lakewood Boulevard in Downey. The work is part of a
    $1.7 million pavement preservation project on a segment of I-5 between Commerce and Santa Fe
    Springs using SB 1 funding.

The first project completed in our area was an $1.8 million project to repair and resurface an approximately one-mile section of State Route 57 north of the Los Angeles/Orange County Line and State Route 60 in Diamond Bar.

As we continue to tackle critical maintenance needs, we encourage the public to reach out to us about necessary repairs on our state's freeways and highways. So if you notice a pothole, malfunctioning traffic signal, or other issue on a freeway or highway in Los Angeles or Ventura County, let us know by submitting a customer service request here.

To find transportation projects in Los Angeles and Ventura County that state and local communities are investing in due to SB 1 funding, visit our interactive map here.

Together, we are rebuilding California, one bridge, culvert, lane stripe and slab of pavement at a time, and helping everyone get where they need to go safely and efficiently.