California Department of Transportation
 

CALTRANS ANNOUNCES 2011 EXCELLENCE IN
TRANSPORTATION AWARDS


INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION

Sprinter Light Rail Transit Project

  • Caltrans District 11
  • North County Transit District
  • Simon Wong Engineering
  • San Diego Association of Governments

The Sprinter Light Rail Transit Project converted an existing 22-mile freight rail line into a light rail system that provides an alternative mode of transportation to the heavily traveled State Route 78 corridor. The Sprinter serves commuters of the north San Diego county region and students of California State University, San Marcos. The vehicles can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. They feature diesel engines that comply with strict emissions standards, getting people to their destinations in a timely and environmentally-conscious manner. The Sprinter ensures safety with its new, state-of-the-art signals and warning systems.

THE HIGHWAY (RURAL)

State Route 84 Realignment and Widening in Alameda County

  • Caltrans District 4

The State Route 84 realignment and widening project in Alameda county has improved safety by upgrading the facility to current standards. Geometric features such as the added outside shoulders and median buffer, straightened alignment, and lowered profile significantly improve safety by reducing the incident rate on the highway. The project also has features that avoid impacts to the California red-legged frog mitigation site and includes a valuable riparian corridor. Special erosion control was used to avoid impacting wetlands. The project constructed a wetland pond on-site with plans to restore riparian habitat and temporarily impacted wetlands. The project also recycled the equivalent of 18,000 tires by using 40,000 tons of pavement and base materials from the existing roadway in the new Section of SR-84.

THE HIGHWAY (URBAN)

Interstate 238 Widening and Rehabilitation Project

  • Caltrans, District 4
  • Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority

Caltrans and the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority widened Intestate 238 to six lanes, added auxiliary lanes along I-880, south of I-238, and reconstructed the connectors and ramps on I-238 and I-880. The $100 million construction project was completed nine months early, in a true partnership with the contractor, Flatiron West, Incorporated. The project has improved the quality of the users' experience in many ways. The ride is smoother, due to new overlay, and the extra capacity and improved operations with the new lanes eliminated the infamous backups. Current Caltrans standards were used throughout the project limits, creating a pleasant commute through what used to be a difficult transition between I-580 and I-880.

MAJOR STRUCTURES

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge: Yerba Buena Island Detour

  • Caltrans Toll Bridge Program
  • Bay Area Toll Authority
  • California Transportation Commission
  • C.C. Myers, Inc.

During the 2009 Labor Day weekend, the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee and C.C. Meyers, along with subcontractors and suppliers, completed an extremely challenging transportation project. Together they reached a significant seismic safety milestone by connecting the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) Yerba Buena Island (YBI) Detour. This detour will allow for the removal of a portion of the existing Bay Bridge so that construction can begin on the new seismically safe Yerba Buena Island Transition Structure. This will connect the self-anchored suspension span with the YBI Tunnel. Skidding technology, which rapidly moves or replaces whole bridge sections, is one of the more innovative engineering concepts used on this project. In one phase of the project, this innovative technology allowed a seismically deficient section of the bridge to be upgraded in a weekend instead of months. This is a "green" project, because the most unused or demolished materials are salvaged and recycled, including wood, electrical fixtures and motors, asphalt, concrete, and steel.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Geyserville Bank Stabilization

  • Caltrans District 4
  • California Department of Fish and Game
  • Ghilotti Construction Company
  • National Marine Fisheries

State Route 128 outside the town of Geyserville in Sonoma County sits in a rural setting surrounded by vineyards and natural vegetation along the banks of the Russian River. The roadway approach to the west of the Geyserville Bridge was at risk due to the flow alignment of the Russian River, which had recently eroded more than 60 feet of vineyard next to the roadway. The bank needed to be stabilized quickly to reduce the threat to the roadway, but the project also needed to provide additional wildlife habitat. This was complicated by requirements not to impact the migrating salmon and steelhead and the potential for an early seasonal rain. All these challenges were met. The design improvements are compatible with the surrounding environment and create almost an acre of new habitat. The design enhances the natural setting by installing plants that will seamlessly blend into habitat that grow into the surrounding native vegetation.

TRANSPORTATION-RELATED FACILITIES

Camp Roberts Safety Roadside Rest Area

  • Caltrans District 5 Landscape Architecture
  • Caltrans Division of Engineering Services
  • Caltrans District 5 Davenport Creek Construction
  • Diani Building Corporation.

The new Camp Roberts Safety Roadside Rest Area has increased traveler safety on U.S. Highway 101 in Central California. By replacing worn out 1960s facilities, this major renovation brought the northbound and southbound rest areas to current Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards, and modern earthquake, fire, health, and safety codes. It also greatly improved its capacity and reliability as a safe and attractive stop for more than 1.5 million people each year. The project included extensive water, septic, and electrical system rehabilitation, and constructed new restrooms, maintenance facilities, a satellite California Highway Patrol office, and many visitor amenities. Building materials and site furnishings emphasize low-maintenance, vandal-resistance, and energy efficiency, and compliment the natural scenic beauty of the surrounding area. The inviting park-like setting and eye-catching appeal encourages commuters, travelers, and truck drivers to stop and rest. Refreshed drivers are safe drivers.

SYSTEM OPERATIONS

South Avenue Interchange

  • Caltrans, District 2
  • Tehama County Public Works
  • Knife River Construction
  • Tehama County Transportation Commission

Located in the small town of Corning, the South Avenue interchange is a virtual oasis for Interstate 5 travelers and truck traffic. Corning is midway between the ports of Los Angeles and Portland, making it an ideal refueling point for trucks traveling between these cities. This strategic location has led to the development of major truck stops, motels, and related truck and traveler facilities at and near the intersection. Due to these developments, traffic has increased tremendously since the facility was completed in 1965. This project included three traffic signals, realigning and widening the northbound ramps and widening South Avenue, which greatly improved operations, enhanced safety, and provided additional capacity to accommodate future development and growth.

SAFETY

Pethill Safety Improvement Project

  • Caltrans, District 3

The "Pethill" project realigned and widened State Route 20 in Nevada County to improve safety, improve the horizontal and vertical alignment, widen shoulders, add left-turn lanes and a truck-climbing lane, and provide a clear recovery zone. The project has significantly reduced collisions. Caltrans selected the alignment that had the least impact to the environment to avoid impacts to sensitive areas, Indian grinding rocks, and other natural sources. Native trees and shrubs were planted on the slopes to blend in with native growth behind the project site, which help protect the slopes from erosion.

MAINTENANCE – OPERATIONS OR EQUIPMENT

Red Bluff Maintenance Station

  • Caltrans, District 2

The previous Red Bluff maintenance station was built in 1956 and was next to Little Salt Creek and Route 99. Due to its proximity to the creek, the facility frequently flooded during large storms, rendering portions of the maintenance station inoperable during times that it was needed most. The old station was not energy efficient, did not meet current stormwater standards, and had limited capacity to store materials and equipment. The new maintenance station is on 11 acres and is centrally located in the area it serves. More importantly, the new facility is far from the floodplain, ensuring the station will be fully operational during storms. The new facility also includes a memorial in honor of fallen District 2 Caltrans worker Moui Tran.

CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS

South Street Corridor Rehabilitation "Road Diet"

  • Caltrans District 5

The South Street corridor "road diet" portion of the State Route 227 rehabilitation project is an excellent example of collaboration between the surrounding neighborhood, local government, and Caltrans. The result was a successful context-sensitive project that meets the needs of the mostly residential corridor's pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. State Route 227 is actually a city street that runs through a neighborhood. It was converted into a highway in 1995 and was transferred back to the City of San Luis Obispo in November 2010. The road runs along a city park, an elementary school and several homes. The "road diet" worked in this context because it reduced travel lanes to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. This project rehabilitated the roadway, widened the San Luis Obispo Creek Bridge to include a sidewalk on the south side, installed new textured bridge rails, added curbed medians, upgraded existing curb ramps and driveways, and installed median islands and bus turnouts. Now, pedestrians and bicyclists only have to cross two lanes of through traffic, instead of four. Also, speeds have been reduced with the lane reduction without sacrificing traffic flow along a mile section of roadway that is an important east-west corridor in the city. Community members and city officials played an important role in identifying the problems and determining a solution that met and balanced the needs of all stakeholders.

TRANSPORTATION INNOVATIONS

Colusa 20 Embankment Stabilization Project

  • Caltrans District 3
  • Kleinfelder

Caltrans used an innovative, cost-effective alternative in the State Route 20 embankment stabilization project. The Department used the plate pile slope stabilization method, which uses small steel pipes and plates welded to vertical pieces of steel. This helps the dirt stay in place, so it protects the roadway from cracking and sliding. It also has minimal environmental and public impacts, and requires little to no right of way to construct. SR-20 severs agricultural, commercial, and recreational traffic in Northern California. The project incorporated revegetation that blends with the native setting for erosion control. Caltrans also removed old or damaged trees that were not native to the area.

PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

Eagle Camera—Dana to Downtown Project

  • Caltrans District 2
  • Turtle Bay Exploration Park
  • City of Redding
  • Golden State Bridge Contractors

Early in the Dana to Downtown project in Redding, a pair of bald eagles decided to build their nest near what would be the center of the work zone for the new bridge. The California Department of Fish and Game required Caltrans to monitor the nest to make sure the construction activity did not disturb the birds. The welfare of the birds became a hot topic, with the local newspaper running 75 stories about the eagles during the course of the project. The District 2 Public Information Office began to email (amassing a distribution list of more than 600 people) about the birds. Soon, the public could watch the birds on a live video feed. Turtle Bay Exploration Park agreed to house the video equipment and host the live feed on their website. Each year, the eagle pair successfully fledged eaglets, and the eagle fan base reached as far as France.