But before I talk about what’s in this issue, I want to remind all employees to be very conscious of their surroundings and careful of their personal safety at all times. Last month Katie Fasoli, a 23-year-old Landscape Crew worker in South Region, was on foot in a controlled closure along northbound I-710 at the Rosecrans off-ramp when she was struck by an errant vehicle, suffering injuries to her leg that could require up to eight months of recovery.
The Caltrans family wishes Katie all the best and does not want a single other worker injured on the job. So be safe out there.
One of the ways the Department promotes safety for all freeway and highway users is through the network of traffic cameras that convey roadway conditions to the Transportation Management Center (TMC). This information is vital for managing and predicting traffic conditions. As you will read in this issue, District 7 is currently in the process of upgrading our traffic cams to provide better resolution and better monitoring.
We have a lot to be proud of this season. One of our big accomplishments is starting reconstruction on the SR-60 Paramount Bridge less than three months after a tanker fire demolished it. The state really pulled together to get this expedited; it took a lot of cooperation not only internally but externally as well. Special thanks to AT&T and California Edison for moving utilities and a huge thanks to Design, Structures and Maintenance for all their work to reopen the road during the holidays. Even better news is the fact that the new bridge will be completed by June, thanks to an infusion of federal emergency funds.
Another article discusses the status of Highway 39 as we continue to work with the county and the Forest Service to chart the best course for that road. Caltrans recognizes that Highway 39 serves a purpose for recreational users, but current traffic volumes make it difficult to justify the state’s cost to service it.
On March 19, Caltrans and regional transportation agencies began construction of the $110 million I-5 Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project that will significantly improve congestion and enhance safety on the heavily traveled corridor. This is part of six I-5 corridor improvement projects from the Los Angeles/Orange county line to the San Gabriel River. Caltrans, along with our partners, are investing in this corridor because of its great importance to the regional transportation system.
Other good news is District 7’s good fortune in having Diana Gomez as our new Deputy of Operations. Deputy Gomez brings a lot of experience from her long tenure in headquarters and District 6 operations, where her achievements included being recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business and as one of the top 100 Hispanics in the technical field by Hispanic Engineer. We all welcome her and look forward to the great work she will do in District 7.
One of the things we address in this issue is the importance of adhering to the Department’s Media Policy, which is to refer all media to the Public Affairs office. Believe me, when a reporter sticks a camera in your face, you want a professional in your corner, so it is of vital importance to always let a PIO handle the media.
Image is always very important. With the public’s eyes on Caltrans constantly, if you break the rules in any way, someone will see you and someone is going to make an issue of it. When you are in a state vehicle or doing state business you need to act professionally and present a good image because you are reflecting on the whole department.
In terms of workload, we now have more than 110 projects under construction. But to keep our other divisions busy, we have to continue to generate new work by partnering with local agencies and extending our reputation for excellence and outstanding customer service. One of the most important things we can do to retain funding is timely and detailed submission of timesheets. They are the record of what we do. And be sure to report your equipment usage. In this Use-it-or-Lose it environment, accurate reporting is critical.
And, finally, we have a tribute to our Caltrans children’s creativity with the winners of the annual Children’s Highway Safety Poster contest and…RE of the year!
Have a safe and productive quarter.