With the end of the year here, I’ve been thinking about all we’ve accomplished in 2010, despite numerous challenges. We’ve been incredibly busy this past year – District 7 had one of its biggest construction programs ever. I’m pleased to report that we’ve been successful in meeting our milestones and delivery goals, and made strides in strengthening partnerships. Thank you to everyone for participating in these achievements. You’ve done an outstanding job.
Next year promises to be just as busy. We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us, including three huge projects, each roughly a billion dollars: the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Project, the I-5 Corridor Project in south Los Angeles County, and the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, which you’ll read more about in this issue. I have complete confidence that we’ll meet our milestones and delivery goals for these projects as well.
While we have much to celebrate in District 7, this is a time of sadness, too. A few weeks ago, Caltrans lost Gary Smith, a maintenance leadworker in District 3, who was killed while providing traffic control for a Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team. (Read more about MAIT in this issue.) Gary’s death is a tragic and senseless loss, and he will be profoundly missed.
Whenever a member of the Caltrans family is hurt or killed on the job, it stands as a stark reminder of the inherent dangers in our work environment. We must always remain alert to potential hazards. (That goes for office staff as well as field workers.) This is particularly important now. With the holidays in full swing, many motorists are distracted by all they have to do, and they’re not focused on driving. We need to be safe and make sure we look out for ourselves and each other.
At the end of my first calendar year as District 7’s director, I want you all to know that I’m proud of the work we do here. Because of the type of organization Caltrans is, our efforts sometimes go unrecognized by the public, the vital services we provide taken for granted. But the entire Executive Team, myself included, is appreciative of your hard work, your commitment, and your motivation. The dedication of District 7 employees is amazing to me. You are a credit to yourselves and the department. I thank all of you for your efforts, and wish you a very happy holiday season and a joyous new year.