2016 Caltrans Excellence in Transportation Awards Winners

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Each year, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) highlights the best of its work and the work of its partners through the annual Caltrans Excellence in Transportation Awards Program. Caltrans received nearly 100 entries from within Caltrans, public agencies, private contractors and consultants across the state. Congratulations to those of you who have worked hard to make these projects a reality by participating in the effort to provide positive and measurable improvements in transportation, resulting in a lasting benefit to the state of California.

Intermodal Transportation System

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)

  • City of Anaheim
  • HOK
  • Clark Construction Group
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff

The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)

The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)

The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) is a LEED Platinum certified transit center. The Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana metropolitan area has the nation’s worst air quality and is known as being the nation’s worst locale for traffic jams. ARTIC streamlines access to 10 different modes of transportation services for over 3 million Orange County residents and 40 million visitors annually. The iconic facility is substantially improving acceptance of public transportation and sustainable community initiatives. The ARTIC terminal is a 120-foot-tall, 67,000-square-foot landmark coined “the most complicated steel structure ever attempted” by the American Institute of Steel Construction. Inherent to its design, ARTIC improves ease and efficiency of alternative transportation and mobility, promotes energy efficiency, increases access to recreation and nature, increases health benefits, and addresses climate change by encouraging mass transportation while promoting and preserving natural resources. The transportation hub connects people to their jobs, education, and entertainment while promoting sustainable transportation.

The Highway (Rural)

Jameson Canyon Road Widening Project

  • Caltrans District 4
  • Solano Transportation Authority
  • Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Jameson Canyon Road Widening Project

Jameson Canyon Road Widening Project

To safely accommodate increasing motorist travel between Napa and Solano Counties, Caltrans partnered with the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency and the Solano Transportation Authority to widen a 5.8-mile stretch of State Route 12 (SR-12) through Jameson Canyon Road from a two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway. The project included property acquisitions from 27 property owners, over 40 electrical and telephone pole relocations, and other major utility relocations, such as a Department of Water Resources aqueduct, city of Vallejo water pipelines, and four private water and irrigation pipelines. To minimize right-of-way impact, the project included construction of over 23,000 linear feet of retaining walls. The project also added a concrete median barrier along the project route and is improving safety and travel times throughout the region. During construction, there was continuous access to about 50 residences and businesses, including golf courses, a winery, and vineyards. Communication with emergency responders, city and county governments, the public, media, and local businesses and residents was key in keeping the SR-12 Jameson Canyon Project moving forward.

The Highway (Urban)

Ramon Road Corridor Improvements

  • City of Cathedral City
  • Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Ramon Road

Ramon Road Corridor Improvements

Ramon Road is a primary economic and life line corridor through the Coachella Valley. The corridor is important for commerce, residential, regional circulation and other uses. It connects Cathedral City, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Riverside County and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. As the main connector for the Palm Springs Airport and for the Cathedral City emergency response command center at Fire Station 412, the corridor serves as the primary alternate route to Interstate 10 in a major closure between the Indian Avenue and Bob Hope Drive interchanges. Using innovative processes, the corridor reconstruction widened, landscaped, and increased traveler safety while preserving resources and protecting the desert environment. The Coachella Valley experiences seasonal population increases of nearly 30 percent (and higher for certain festival celebrations), and it is an efficient and safe transportation system. This corridor is critical to allow visitors to get to and from the regional airport, their lodging and various festival locations.

Major Structures

State Route 178/Morning Drive Interchange

  • City of Bakersfield
  • Caltrans District 6
  • Kern County
  • Kern Council of Governments

State Route 178/Morning Drive Interchange

State Route 178/Morning Drive Interchange

State Route 178 (SR-178) serves as the primary access corridor for northeast Bakersfield, which has experienced tremendous residential development in recent years as the city has grown to become the state’s ninth largest city. With this growth has come increased congestion. The SR-178 Interchange Project replaced a stop-sign controlled “T” intersection with a full interchange and extended the four-lane freeway eastward for a distance of nearly two miles. The project also widened Morning Drive to three lanes in each direction on the north side of SR-178, and extended Morning Drive south of the freeway. The project opened to traffic in August 2015, and has relieved congestion and improved travel times in this area of Bakersfield. Morning Drive’s new direct connection between SR-178 and SR-58 has enhanced north-south mobility, improved connectivity between neighborhoods on both sides of the freeway, and created opportunities for much-needed retail and commercial development in northeast Bakersfield.

Stewardship of the Environment

The Fort Goff Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project

  • Caltrans District 2
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries

State Route 178/Morning Drive Interchange

The Fort Goff Creek Fish Passage Restoration Project

Caltrans identified the barrier caused by the culvert carrying the water of Fort Goff Creek under State Route 96 as a top-priority fish-passage remediation project. The project provided Caltrans with a unique opportunity to work with several state and federal agencies and the Karuk Tribe of Siskiyou County, whose ancestral tribal territory is within the project area. The stream-bed restoration project replaced the 15-ft-diameter corrugated metal pipe culvert with the Fort Goff Creek Bridge, a 60-ft-long, single-span precast concrete structure. The bridge’s construction allowed the channel section and the stream bed beneath the highway to be restored to a natural state, providing unimpaired passage for anadromous fish (a fish born in fresh water that spends most of its life in the sea and returns to fresh water to spawn). Removing the barrier opened miles of habitat for the migration, spawning, and rearing of threatened and endangered species, including steelhead trout and chinook and coho salmon. The Fort Goff Creek Fish Passage Restoration project has demonstrated that when a group of people come together for a single cause, many barriers can be removed and bridges built, opening new territory for others to follow.

Transportation Related Facilities

City of Clovis Dry Creek Trailhead

  • City of Clovis - Planning and Development Services
  • City of Clovis - Public Utilities Department
  • BMY Construction Group, Inc.
  • Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.

City of Clovis Dry Creek Trailhead

City of Clovis Dry Creek Trailhead

The City of Clovis Dry Creek Trailhead is a 3-acre open space amenity that is a vital link in the local transportation system. The Trailhead opened to the public as an innovative open-space facility that tackles the issues of health, air quality, land use, conservation of natural resources, and planning for the future. Each aspect of the trailhead was designed to enlighten the community about the city’s history and surroundings and to protect natural resources. Key sustainable features include drought-tolerant landscaping, an underground stormwater retention system, reduced construction and operational costs, and a focus on conservation and improved water management. The trailhead promotes bicycling as an alternate form of transportation to reduce traffic congestion, decrease air pollution, and improve the community. The site includes bicycle and vehicle parking, bike repair stations, bike racks, restrooms, picnic areas, drinking fountains, lights, benches, and pedestrian bridges. The result is a beautiful facility that promotes healthy living, protects natural resources, and provides education about the area’s history.

Transportation System Operations Improvements

Sloat Boulevard Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System

  • Caltrans District 4 - Division of Operations
  • City and County of San Francisco - Department of Public Works

Sloat Boulevard Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System

Sloat Boulevard Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System

Caltrans and the City and County of San Francisco developed a project to construct a pedestrian hybrid beacon (or HAWK) system, sidewalk bulb-outs and American’s with Disabilities Act–compliant curb ramps to enhance pedestrian safety along Sloat Boulevard (State Route 35), at the intersection of Vale Avenue and Forest View Drive. This major urban arterial accommodates approximately 24,000 vehicles per day and connects Skyline Boulevard (SR-35) with 19th Avenue (SR-1). It serves local and regional motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians from the residential homes and nearby schools. This project used the first HAWK system on a California state highway and was completed before the start of the school year, an important consideration to the community. The collaborative effort set an aggressive schedule and incorporated an innovative design-build approach within Caltrans’ encroachment permit process, leveraging each agency’s strengths and abilities. Both agencies benefited by meeting community expectations and quickly enhancing pedestrian safety. As the first of its kind on a state highway, this HAWK system will likely serve as a model for enhancing safety at other uncontrolled marked crosswalks throughout California.

Traveler and Worker Safety

State Route 154/246 Roundabout Project

  • Caltrans District 5
  • Granite Construction, Inc.

State Route 154/246 Roundabout Project

State Route 154/246 Roundabout Project

Caltrans and Granite Construction reconstructed the heavily traveled intersection of State Routes (SR) 154 and 246 with a roundabout in a high-speed rural environment to reduce or eliminate potential high-speed collisions. The intersection had experienced high collision rates, including injury and fatal crashes. The intersection is surrounded by grazing land, vineyards, ranches and a suburban subdivision with access to SR-246. The speed limit on all four legs of the intersection is 55 m.p.h. Before reconstruction, the intersection experienced a high collision rate for total injury and fatal collisions, exceeding the average rate for similar intersections. The new roundabout allows lanes to accommodate high turning movements and allows large vehicles, such as large livestock haulers and trucks, to use the intersection. Some travelers were hesitant to accept the new design, so public information meetings were held to educate the local communities about the use of roundabouts. Since the project’s completion, Caltrans has received no complaints about the new intersection. To date there have been no fatalities at the intersection and the anticipated collision types are mainly property damage only because of the lower speeds of traffic and reduced number of conflict points within the roundabout.

Community Enhancement

Cabrillo Bridge Retrofit/Rehabilitation/SR-163 Landscape Renewal Transportation Enhancement

  • Caltrans District 11
  • Caltrans District 11 - Environmental
  • Caltrans District 11 - Design Landscape Architecture
  • City of San Diego

Cabrillo Bridge Retrofit/Rehabilitation/SR-163 Landscape Renewal Transportation Enhancement

Cabrillo Bridge Retrofit/Rehabilitation/SR-163 Landscape Renewal Transportation Enhancement

The Cabrillo Bridge is considered the gateway to Balboa Park. The bridge provides access for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians and links travel to Sixth Avenue – a parallel arterial of State Route (SR-163). About 108,000 vehicles a day travel the portion of SR-163 under the bridge, providing access for tourism to Balboa Park. The Park is home to more than 15 museums, the Old Globe Theatre, the San Diego Zoo, the international cottages, restaurants and shops. It is considered the “Jewel of San Diego.” Rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of the 100-year-old structure was necessary to improve the structural integrity of the bridge, to help ensure the safety of the traveling public passing under the structure and across the bridge, and to provide safe access for maintenance staff inspecting the bridge, all while preserving a beautiful and historic structure. The innovative design featured a multiple-arched cantilever structure, the first such bridge in California. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the SR-163 corridor through Balboa Park was designated as a scenic highway in 1992. This same portion of SR-163 was designated the Cabrillo Historic Parkway in 2002 and listed on the National, California, and San Diego City historical Registers. The bridge and the parkway are considered significant to the city of San Diego and share a similar purpose and need, providing a context-sensitive solution with the utmost respect for the historical nature of the bridge and its environment. The project resulted in a beautifully preserved historical and important city icon.

Maintenance – Operations or Equipment

Valley Fire Response

  • Caltrans District 1
  • Caltrans District 1 - Maintenance

Valley Fire Response

Valley Fire Response

The Valley Fire, considered the third worst fire in California history, devastated over 76,000 acres in and damaged miles of State Routes 29 and 175 in Lake County in September 2015. Maintenance is an integral part of Caltrans’ emergency response. From day one of the devastating fire, Caltrans had crews on the spot and worked with other agencies to help residents escape the deadly fire. Many Caltrans workers worked long hours as flames burned around them. They kept roadways clear for other emergency personnel, set up roadblocks, then moving them, and again as the fire swiftly advanced, they helped with evacuations and controlled access to the highway. This fire was so intense that downed utility lines were burned and embedded into the asphalt, plastic culverts melted from the heat, and liquid plastic flowed like water leaving a bare tunnel of compacted soil under the roadway. Disaster assessment teams assessed what needed to be replaced or repaired. Some of the items identified during the inspections included burned wood timbers on a viaduct retaining wall, almost a mile of metal beam guardrail with burned posts, numerous signs, and about 20 culverts needed replacement or repairs. Caltrans' role is sometimes overlooked, but the work these dedicated men and woman performed was invaluable and recognized as an integral part of our first responders efforts. The area will take years to fully recover, but the work done will reduce the danger and give emergency crews a leg up the next time disaster strikes.

Highway as a Main Street

U.S. 50 Trout Creek to Ski Run

  • Caltrans - District 3

U.S. 50 Trout Creek to Ski Run

U.S. 50 Trout Creek to Ski Run

U.S. Highway 50 doubles as a major highway and a main street through the city of South Lake Tahoe. This $43 million project combines environmental and main street improvements on a two-mile stretch that includes a commercial zone with businesses, hotels, a school, a beach and a regional park. One primary goal of this project was safeguarding Lake Tahoe’s clarity and to preserve the beauty of this natural resource for future generations. Local funding from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and South Lake Tahoe and land donations from El Dorado County made it possible to include meandering sidewalks, pedestrian lighting and landscaping to enhance the main street experience and improve Highway 50, making the area more bicycle and pedestrian friendly for residents and the thousands of visitors year-round. With the project complete, the public is finding it safer, more inviting, and easier to drive, ride bikes and walk to access South Lake Tahoe’s many amenities. The combination highway/main street project also enhances the aesthetic aspects of the travel experience.

Transportation Innovations to Improve Mobility Across California

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project, Pier E3 Demonstration Project

  • Caltrans Toll Bridge Program - District 4
  • Bay Area Toll Authority
  • California Transportation Commission

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project, Pier E3 Demonstration Project

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project, Pier E3 Demonstration Project

During the dismantling phase of the old East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project, Caltrans conducted a demonstration project to remove a remnant, Pier E3, by implosion using highly controlled charges. This pilot project tested the use of controlled implosion as an alternate method to the originally permitted mechanical methods for dismantling Pier E3. The project was expected to result in fewer in-water work days, have a reduced impact on environmental resources of the San Francisco Bay, and require a shorter time frame for completion. The Pier E3 blast system allowed for a much greater volume of air and wider curtain of bubbles than is normally achieved with standard systems. This reduced the noise and pressure waves from the implosion by 80 percent. This project marks the first controlled implosion used to dismantle a large marine foundation in California and on the U.S. west coast. In past bridge removal projects, marine foundations of similar stature were determined to be infeasible to remove due to potential to environment impacts and engineering challenges. Instead of abandoning these large structures in the water, Caltrans found a way to meet its environmental commitments in a safe, expeditious and responsible manner. The removal of Pier E3 restored approximately 16,995 cubic yards of San Francisco Bay that is now marine habitat for fish and marine mammals. Furthermore, once the Bay completely fills in the footprint of the remaining pier below the mudline, approximately 10,730 square feet of Bay floor habitat will be restored. Controlled implosion removed the pier in a matter of seconds rather than the anticipated four years for the original permitted method, and all workers were greater than 500 feet from the demolition activity. Traffic stops and enforcement of marine traffic safety zones during the implosion ensured no one was harmed or at risk of harm during the implosion.

Public Awareness Campaigns

Spare the Air Youth

  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • Alta Planning + Design
  • Parisi Transportation Consulting

Spare the Air Youth

Spare the Air Youth

Spare the Air Youth encourages youth in the San Francisco Bay Area to choose active transportation through coordination programs that aim to reduce transportation emissions. Spare the Air Youth helps greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction efforts through regional coordination, outreach and a grant program and is led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, in partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. In response to state legislation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission adopted an $80 million Climate Initiatives program to seek and evaluate various GHG emission-reduction strategies. A portion of the funds were dedicated to programs and strategies that targeted youth with the goal of encouraging youth and their families to opt for walking, biking, carpooling and taking transit as their primary mode of transportation. Spare the Air Youth targets K-12 students by working directly with leaders who engage with this group. Preliminary data of the Spare the Air Youth program shows that over 30,000 students in the Bay Area have been reached and a 22 percent shift to active transportation and a reduction of nearly72 miles driven per student annually, for a total of 2 million miles of reduced driving alone.

Statewide Alerts and Other Information

Contact Information

Physical Address:

California Department of Transportation
1120 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:

California Department of Transportation
1120 N Street
MS 49
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information:

Phone: (916) 653-8879
Fax: (916) 654-4358
TTY: (916) 653-4086

Public Information Contacts

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