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By Suzy Namba Chief, Office of Landscape Architecture Coordination and Planning
Caltrans has many accomplishments to be proud of, but one of our most distinctive accomplishments was when we learned that the Philip S. Raine State Roadside Rest Area (SRRA) on State Route 99 in Tulare County had been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification—the highest possible environmental rating—by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
A mounded turf grass area was provided for children to run and play. The solar panel/shade structure supports art and information panels depict the rich culture and history of the region.
This was the first Caltrans LEED project developed by Caltrans staff. The Central Region, Headquarters Landscape Architecture, and the Division of Engineering Services collaborated to create a sustainable and innovative design. Regular meetings were held to discuss project features, LEED requirements, resolve issues, and assign action items in order to keep this unique project on track. This project signifys the benefits of good communication and positive attitudes. The entire project team deserves kudos for their hard work, perseverance, and dedication to creating an exemplary facility for the traveling public.
The Raine facility, one of 233 buildings in California to achieve the LEED Platinum milestone, is one hour south of Fresno near Tipton and serves more than four million visitors annually. Caltrans previously earned LEED Gold certification for its Los Angeles office and LEED Silver certification for the district office in Marysville.
Caltrans replaced the rest area’s landscaping with drought-tolerant and native plants, which, along with improved irrigation, will save an estimated 12 million gallons of water annually that can be put to good use by Central Valley farmers. During construction, Caltrans sent all construction waste to recyclers instead of the landfill and incorporated regional materials from within 500 miles of the project.
Pedestrians leaving their vehicles enter the Rest Area core, passing a seat wall that depicts ribbons of traffic traveling along State Route 99.
The following upgrades transformed the Raine facility into an energy-efficient rest area that will save taxpayer money and better serve travelers:
USGBC is recognized as the country's leading authority on green building standards.
“Caltrans’ LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Caltrans serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”
A local artist was commissioned to paint murals portraying the region, which were placed on panels within the pedestrian core area under the solar panel/shade structure..
The Raine rest area was originally constructed in 1965, with upgrades added in 1984. The latest construction project at the facility began in April 2011 and was completed in fall 2012.
Caltrans is responsible for 87 SRRAs throughout California. In 2000 Caltrans began rehabilitating the SRRAs to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, California Occupational Safety Health Administration, and State Water Resources Control Board mandates, and to reduce highway facility life-cycle costs and meet departmental sustainability goals.
Department of Transportation
Landscape Architecture Program
1120 N Street, MS 28
Sacramento, CA 95814
Headquarters and District Landscape Architecture contacts