Caltrans Extends a Thank You
Many Caltrans employees provided service not only to the Department, but to their fellow citizens and the world around us. These acts range from project oversight to training, and from protecting the environment to special projects that assist citizens in ways that we might not think about automatically. The service section of the Caltrans Annual Report is a tribute to the long hours and commitment that Caltrans employees have given this year to help others — often without recognition.
The $54.8 million Tudor Bypass, a new four-lane expressway that serves some 17,000 commuters, opened on SR-99 south of Yuba City. Even as the bypass was being completed, construction engineers from Caltrans District 3’s north region thought about recycling the old highway for other projects. Instead of hauling away excess base material to the landfill, engineers stockpiled it for use on a future interchange on Highway 99 at SR-113. Such “out of the box” thinking could save taxpayers substantial future costs.
Caltrans District 7 (Los Angeles and Ventura counties) also provided public service — in an otherwise thankless job. Caltrans spent roughly $13 million in litter and debris removal this fiscal year in that area alone — some $3 million more than last year. Crews swept 31,875 lane miles, picked up 11,500 cubic yards of debris, disposed of 16,983 cubic yards of litter, and cleaned up 267 spills. In addition, workers removed more than 2,980 square feet of graffiti.
Also, staff in Los Angeles worked closely with the California Film Commission and the CHP to assist the commercial film industry — issuing more than 600 film permits this year.
In the high desert country east of the Sierra Nevada, Caltrans District 9 (Bishop) helped complete the Padre Point Visitor Area. It is one of three locations for scenic viewpoints and visitor facilities that Caltrans and the Death Valley National Park have worked to create. These facilities are designed for traffic safety improvements and protecting natural features.
Two locations, Zabriskie Point and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, already have been constructed with state and federal funding. Padre Point Visitor Area is the third and last location originally identified.
Padre Point on SR-190, within the park, is a heavily visited scenic viewpoint. However, cars parking on a gravel turnout have damaged the area’s sensitive environment. The turnout had no defined entrance or exit points, and it caused gravel to be tracked onto the highway as vehicles entered and exited.
In addition to furthering public safety, the project helped protect the natural environment, enhanced the visitor experience by providing ADA-compliant sidewalks and accessible viewing areas with interpretive displays and other visitor amenities.
In another mostly rural and scenic part of the state, Caltrans District 2 (based in Redding) helped to move the components for 44 wind turbines destined for the Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm near Burney on SR-299, east of Redding.
Seven large parts, some as long as 185 feet, were delivered each day on separate, oversize trucks, and escorted by the CHP. The heaviest part of the wind turbine was the generator, which weighed 245,000 pounds. Transports began in the early mornings, and ran every day except weekends and holidays through the beginning of August.
Since the trucks came from various directions, many routes in the district were affected by the presence of these long, slow loads. Caltrans took the lead in public outreach for this project. The Caltrans District 2 public information office prepared a communication plan and began a robust public outreach campaign to inform local residents, truckers and travelers.
Hundreds of miles south of Redding, Caltrans had a role in helping the San Diego Padres begin their 2011 season. Downtown San Diego welcomed a new pedestrian railroad crossing bridge in April — paid for in part by Caltrans — just in time for the Padres’ opening game. The bridge, just south of Petco Park, is at Park Boulevard and Harbor Drive and spans railroad and light rail tracks, as well as a major four-lane divided highway. The $26 million cost was borne jointly by local and state agencies.
In other examples of service:
Due to changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other legal requirements, Caltrans developed field guidelines for temporary pedestrian facilities through Caltrans construction zones. Training was provided to personnel responsible for developing, approving and implementing work zones, including temporary routes for public use.
This allowed districts and transportation partners to deliver, on schedule, a record number of transportation projects in their delivery contracts for the fiscal year, as well as projects funded by the Recovery Act.
In addition, Caltrans completed a “plain language” conversion of its specifications and standard special provisions. The clarity provided by these rewritten contract documents will speed project delivery by making projects easier to document, construct and administer.
Caltrans District 8 (San Bernardino) completed Phase II of its I-215 Widening Project this year. The lead agencies, Caltrans and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBAG), needed to inform businesses and the public about upcoming construction. The two agencies developed monthly partnering sessions with businesses and residents. These included task force meetings with the city of San Bernardino and members of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as emergency personnel. Caltrans and SanBAG also published a monthly newsletter focusing on completions and upcoming projects.
Caltrans District 12’s $57 million SR-91 Eastbound Lane Addition, the first Recovery Act transportation project in Orange County, won the Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC) Project Achievement Award. After receiving $47.9 million from the Recovery Act, the project was completed in a year and ahead of schedule.
The project added a new lane on six miles of eastbound SR-91, between SR-241 and SR-71, clearing a critical bottleneck in the main goods transportation arterial between Riverside and Orange counties.
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