California Department of Transportation

Message from the Caltrans Director

portrait of caltrans director cindy McKimKeeping California moving is no easy task, and the 2009-10 fiscal year was particularly challenging due to the economic climate that stretched our resources.

During the last fiscal year, our department oversaw more than $9 billion in transportation projects — thanks to the men and women of Caltrans who continued their exceptional work during these trying times.

Given the tremendous challenges, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) was a welcome relief. It provided much-needed cash for projects that might otherwise have not been funded.

California received nearly $6 billion in Recovery Act funds to improve transportation across the state. Caltrans led the nation with nearly $2.6 billion obligated for 991 highway-related and job training projects around the state. Examples of key Recovery Act projects include major improvements for the nation's busiest interstate (Interstate 405 in Los Angeles) and a new fourth bore at the Caldecott Tunnel on State Route 24 in the Bay Area. Also, California successfully obtained an additional $2.3 billion in funding for both high-speed and intercity passenger rail service.

In the past year, Caltrans made great progress on the stunning San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and broke ground on the Presidio Parkway, the southern access to the Golden Gate Bridge. In Central California, we are converting State Route 99 — the backbone of the state's highway system that moves goods across California — into a full-fledged freeway. Farther south, we continued work at the Otay Mesa United States-Mexico border crossing in San Diego.

Working with our partners, Caltrans has also developed a number of innovative solutions and technologies that will allow us to deliver our projects quicker and make our roads and bridges safer and stronger. Using these new technologies, the department can respond after an earthquake to quickly assess the condition of the state's bridges and roadways. In addition, new construction techniques will increase worker and motorists' safety while decreasing traffic impacts and construction time.

This report is organized under the topics of safety, mobility, delivery, stewardship, service, and financial. We hope you enjoy learning more about how Caltrans has met the challenges of the current economic environment to produce a world-class transportation system.


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Caltrans Projects Pave the Way to RecoveryAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act logo

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Recovery Act, a $787 billion economic stimulus package designed to put people back to work and provide more than $27 billion to improve the nation's transportation infrastructure. California's share of Recovery Act dollars for transportation was the nation's largest, including nearly $2.6 billion for highways and local streets.

The Recovery Act is helping construction workers across California. For example, Bart Pensinger, a construction manager in San Diego County, was laid-off from his job in photo of construction manager bart pensinger. photo courtesy of Mr. Bart PensingerJanuary 2009 and was out of work for nearly six months. His family had exhausted their savings and was on the verge of defaulting on their mortgage. In May 2009, thanks to $74 million in Recovery Act funding, construction began on a State Route 905 project in San Diego, and Pensinger, hired as a project manager, went back to work. The project will create an estimated 1,400 jobs and is critical to the flow of goods between the United States and Mexico.

Since March 2009, Caltrans has leveraged more than $2 billion in Recovery Act funds with other state and local sources for nearly 1,000 transportation projects, putting $3.8 billion into California's economy. Nearly $600 million was, as of the fiscal year's end, paid to transportation contractors — ranking California second nationally in Recovery Act funds paid.

Thanks to efforts by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Caltrans and local transportation officials across California expedited the use of Recovery Act funds. As a result, jobs are being created and retained while we improve California's transportation system. These jobs are not just with contractors, who buy equipment, fuel, and other supplies, but also with trucking companies, small and disadvantaged businesses, and suppliers of construction materials. The economic activity generated by the Recovery Act supports thousands of jobs and yields sales tax revenue for the state.

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Recovery Act Funds Highway Projects

In April 2009, Caltrans broke ground on its first Recovery Act-funded project, the $23.7 million Interstate 80 Rehabilitation Project in the Bay Area financed by $19.5 million from california recovery logothe Recovery Act. The resurfacing project, to be completed in fall 2010, transformed a 50-year-old section of I-80 into a smooth new roadway for nearly 200,000 daily commuters and truckers. The project came in nearly 40 percent under original cost estimates, and Caltrans has directed the savings to advance other highway projects.

Other examples of the Recovery Act-funded projects include the Interstate 405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project in Los Angeles. California's bleak economic situation looked as if it would delay the start of a new 10-mile bus/carpool lane on the I-405. The state was planning to sell millions in bonds to help pay for the project, but the economic downturn made it impossible. The project was able to start on schedule when Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority secured $190 million in Recovery Act funding. It was the third largest Recovery Act funding allocation for a transportation project in the nation.

photo of interstate 405 in los angeles

In spring 2009, crews began a four-year task to construct the new northbound bus/carpool lane on I-405 through the Sepulveda Pass from Interstate 10 to U.S. Highway 101. When the project is completed in 2013, there will be 72 continuous miles of bus/carpool lanes in either direction on I-405 from the San Fernando Valley to Orange County. Bus/carpool lanes typically carry two to three times more people at peak traffic hours than conventional mixed-flow lanes.

This I-405 widening project is also the first design-build highway construction project in Los Angeles County. Design-build combines both project design and construction into one contract with the goal of expediting a project's completion.

photo of interstate 215 in san bernardino

Recovery Act dollars also enabled Caltrans to start work on other Southern California projects, including the next two phases of the Interstate 215 Widening Project through downtown San Bernardino. Funding for these phases includes $128 million from the Recovery Act. The project will improve access to the east and west sides of San Bernardino with 17 new bridges and direct connectors to Interstate 210.

photo of buses traveling on state route 91 in orange countyThe first shovels went into the ground in November 2009 on Orange County's largest Recovery Act transportation project — a $59.5 million job to ease a chronic traffic bottleneck by expanding State Route 91, a major transportation artery connecting Orange County with the Inland Empire. The project is funded primarily by nearly $48.5 million in Recovery Act funds.

A $100 million infusion from the Recovery Act launched construction in December 2009 on one of the Bay Area's showcase projects, the San Francisco Presidio Parkway. The project, which is well ahead of schedule, is intended to replace Doyle Drive with a modern, seismically safe, parkway. The 73-year-old access road to the Golden Gate Bridge is part of a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County.

In July 2010, construction began on the parkway's second major phase — a $116 million project to build the Battery Tunnel and a temporary bypass. The contract is funded photo of construction work being done on the presedio parkway in the bay areaentirely by the Recovery Act — and was awarded 41 percent lower than Caltrans' estimate. The savings of $41 million in Recovery Act funds will be redirected to help pay for additional highway projects.

Additional projects in the Bay Area include the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore Project, which received $192.4 million in Recovery Act funding. This $420 million project on State Route 24 is constructing a fourth tunnel bore, which will relieve traffic congestion for some 160,000 vehicles a day by eliminating the need to reverse the traffic direction twice a day in the existing center bore.

In February 2010, California learned it would receive an additional $130 million through the Recovery Act's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery photo of a cargo ship in the port of oaklandGrant program for a quartet of key projects: $46 million for the Presidio Parkway in San Francisco; $33.8 million for freight corridor improvements at Colton Crossing in San Bernardino County; $30 million for the ports of Oakland, West Sacramento, and Stockton to move freight via barges; and $20.2 million for a new freeway interchange at the Otay Mesa East border crossing in San Diego County.

For more information on the Recovery Act projects, visit

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High-Speed Rail out of the Station

In January 2010, California was awarded $2.3 billion in Recovery Act funding for high-speed and intercity passenger rail — more than any other state. High-speed rail is set to receive $2.2 billion while nine vital intercity passenger rail projects will collect nearly $100 million. High-speed trains will link San Francisco, Sacramento, the Central Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego. In California, "high-speed trains" really means high speed — up to 220 mph — which will allow passengers to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 2 hours and 40 minutes. Building the 800-mile high-speed train system is estimated to create up to 600,000 jobs. And these jobs aren't limited to construction or engineering. High-speed rail will produce employment across the state in many areas, such as food, materials and retail sales. Construction is expected to begin as early as 2012.

artist rendering of california's high-speed rail project. Renderings provided by NC3D

Voters in 2008 elected to issue nearly $10 billion of state bonds for high-speed rail. California is home to the second (Pacific Surfliner), third (Capitol Corridor), and fifth (San Joaquin) busiest intercity passenger rail corridors in the nation. With 5 million annual passengers, California has more than 20 percent of all Amtrak riders. Since 1990, the state has invested more than $1.3 billion in infrastructure and equipment for intercity passenger rail and about $1 billion in operating support.

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Proposition 1B Improves Transportation Across the State

Forty years ago, California created a transportation system to support one of the most dynamic economies in the world. By the early 21st century, however, the condition of the Golden State's highways, bridges, and transit had noticeably declined due to decades of underinvestment in transportation. In 2006, seeking to reverse this trend, the governor championed, and the state's legislators and voters approved, Proposition 1B, a $19.9 billion transportation bond. Since its passage, nearly $6 billion has been committed to more than 1,000 projects statewide.

In addition to highway projects, California is investing a robust $4 billion from Proposition 1B for public transit, intercity and commuter rail, and waterborne transit. California's airports and seaports are receiving $3.1 billion to reduce terrorism, and bond funding has also paid for 300 new traffic detection systems, which save more than 1,300 hours of daily travel time.

The bond is helping fund major transportation projects across the state. Near Sacramento, a 12-mile bypass around the suburb of Lincoln became a reality. This $325 million project reduces congestion by close to 4,000 hours per day. In Southern California, the $1 billion Interstate 405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project in Los Angeles and the $60 million Bus-Carpool Extension/Loma Santa Fe Interchange in San Diego County will increase mobility for commuters. In addition, projects like the $79 million Interstate 210/215 Connector Ramps project are improving economic competitiveness and quality of life by reducing delays for consumer and commercial vehicles. When completed in 2011, it will link northern Los Angeles County to the city of San Bernardino and provide another commute option for hundreds of thousands of commuters daily.

More than $1 billion in bond funding is also supporting 13 projects on State Route 99 in the Central Valley that will convert the route into a full-fledged highway. Completed nine months early, the $70 million Atwater Freeway Project is one such project. The project received nearly $50 million from Proposition 1B, allowing nearly three miles of SR 99 in Merced County to be upgraded from a four-lane expressway to a six-lane freeway. Nearly 40,000 vehicles use the highway section per day.

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San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Takes Shape

aerial photo of the new bay bridge connecting to yerba buena island "Monumental" took on a new meaning this past year as work continued on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a $6.2 billion seismic retrofit project that will replace part of the existing structure with the world's largest self-anchored suspension span. The connection of the Yerba Buena Island (YBI) Detour represented the most significant realignment of the Bay Bridge since it opened in 1936. Also, the arrival and erection of the first 12 massive deck sections for the self-anchored suspension span was another giant step, bringing the new east span's most iconic element closer to reality.

For only the second time since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the entire Bay Bridge closed to accommodate major construction. During the 2009 Labor Day weekend, the bridge closed for four days to connect the YBI detour. Crews replaced a section of the bridge east of the YBI tunnel to connect the bridge to the detour.

The historic and unprecedented construction occurred 150 feet in the air. Crews cut a massive 300-foot-long, 3,200-ton, double-deck section out of the bridge and moved it photo of night work being done on the bay bridgenorth on a set of hydraulic rails. A new 3,600-ton double-deck section built just south of the existing bridge was rolled into place, connecting the bridge to the detour. Traffic will flow on the half-mile-long detour for the next few years, allowing crews to demolish a portion of the original bridge and build a new permanent connection from the tunnel to the east span.

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Self-Anchored Suspension Span

Work on the new east span's most iconic element — the single tower, 2,047-foot-long self-anchored suspension span — took a monumental leap forward when the first permanent deck sections were delivered early from China, arriving in the Bay Area in January 2010. The trans-Pacific trip took just 22 days. The first sections were placed less than a month later, and at fiscal year end, the first 12 sections were in place. The first tower sections left Shanghai in mid-June 2010 and arrived in the Bay Area in July.

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Oakland Touchdown

The Oakland Touchdown (OTD), which connects Interstate 80 in Oakland to the Bay Bridge, celebrated its own major milestone, as all major work on the first OTD contract was completed at the end of 2009. This work included the entire westbound roadway and 500 feet of the eastbound roadway, and crews installed hinge pipe beams between the OTD and the bridge's skyway. Minor work, including installing barrier rails, grinding the roadway, and removing the temporary supports, was completed in early 2010.

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Yerba Buena Island Transition Structure

Work will begin later this year on the main Yerba Buena Island Transition structure. This structure, one of the most important and challenging, of the Bay Bridge projects, will transition traffic from the side-by-side decks of the east span to the double decks of the Yerba Buena Island tunnel and west span.

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