California Department of Transportation

Caltrans 2013 Excellence in Transportation Award Winners


Tahoe City Transit Center

  • Placer County Department of Public Works
  • United States Forest Service
  • Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
  • North Lake Tahoe Resort Association

Tahoe City Transit Center

The Tahoe City Transit Center (TCTC) is an intermodal transportation hub just off Highway 89 that serves as a transfer point for Placer County’s Tahoe Area Regional Transit buses and other transportation modes, including pedestrian, bicycle, private vehicle and watercraft. The TCTC provides a safe, convenient alternative to using private vehicles, and it is not only modern, but also fits aesthetically in the beautiful Tahoe area. Visitor amenities such as benches, restrooms, and commuter-style bike lockers integrate into the architecture and enhance its connections to the landscape. The building itself is an expression of sustainability. In addition to constructing it with local building materials, the facility has other notable, sustainable features such as radiant heating, rainwater harvesting/storage, stormwater filtration, passive solar shading/heating, and enhanced natural ventilation. Bronze plaques celebrate the project’s commitment to the environment.


State Route 78/111 Expressway Brawley Bypass

  • Caltrans District 11
  • Imperial County Transportation Commission

State Route 78/111 Expressway Brawley Bypass

The city of Brawley, near the Mexico border in Imperial County, has approximately 3,000 trucks passing through its downtown city streets daily. The State Route 78/111 Brawley Bypass project is the final segment to the Calexico–Coachella Cargo Corridor—a regional transportation solution linking goods movement between the Calexico East Port of Entry and the rest of the United States. The project created an eight-mile corridor around the city, making travel safer and easier, while reducing traffic noise and maintenance costs. The Bypass is a rarity today in that it provided a way around the rural city of Brawley through virgin land and involved a massive amount of earthwork to complete. This allowed Caltrans to test and monitor an innovative way of moving earthwork using Automated Machine Guidance (AMG) with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment. This was the first Caltrans project designed with 3D surfaces and AMG. The GPS-guided grading equipment was highly efficient in moving earthwork for this large-scale project and is a promising new option for future large-scale construction projects. The contractor saved time checking grading and providing intermediate control reduced time grade surveying by using GPS-guided grading equipment.


State Route 65 Lincoln Bypass

  • Placer County Transportation Planning Agency
  • Caltrans District 3
  • City of Lincoln

State Route 65 Lincoln Bypass

State Route 65 is a vital interregional route serving both local and regional traffic, and is a major connector for both automobile and truck traffic between the I-80 and SR-70/99 corridors. By eliminating gridlock on both SR-65 and adjacent local roadways in Lincoln, the bypass will enhance economic vitality and preserve and enhance livability in the community. In addition, a design-build sequencing approach was used to deliver the project, allowing collaborative project management that resulted in faster project completion and significant cost savings. With exponential growth in residential, commercial, and industrial development in and around the city, and congestion worsening significantly on SR-65, the Lincoln Bypass improves overall travel times on both the highway and local roads, enhances safety throughout the corridor, reduces vehicle emissions, and promotes a more pedestrian-friendly environment in downtown Lincoln. Local residents of Lincoln enjoy using the downtown area and find it easier and safer to drive, park, and stroll. As a result, the local business community and environment in Lincoln is benefiting from the improved downtown access for residents and visitors.


Spanish Creek Bridge

  • Caltrans District 2
  • C.C. Myers, Inc.
  • Plumas National Forest, Mount Hough Ranger District
Spanish Creek Bridge

State Highway Route 70 in the Feather River Canyon in Plumas County is a National Forest Scenic Byway and one of the few California thoroughfares recognized as a historic highway. Completed in 1937, this 80-mile Sierra crossing celebrated many engineering challenges, including burrowing three tunnels through steep granite outcroppings and erecting four large bridges. Nearly 80 years later, replacing the Spanish Creek Bridge would distinguish its engineering challenges and graceful design. During the design phase, Caltrans dealt with technical and environmental challenges. The project site is closely bound by railroads on both sides, steep canyon walls, a high-voltage power line, historic ditches and roads, and a United States Forest Service (USFS ) campground. Stretching 354 feet, the new concrete double-arch, open-spandrel bridge is one of the longest in California. It celebrates the return of the concrete arch to the canyon and to Caltrans—only five concrete arches have been built in the past 50 years. Because of the historic nature of the highway and old bridge, Caltrans, the USFS, Plumas County Museum, and the local community created a time capsule to be opened 100 years from now. The capsule contains items about the old and new bridges, local Native American history, letters, pictures, papers, and other items that reflect life in Plumas County.


Route 46 Corridor Improvement Project – Union Segment
  • Caltrans District 5
  • San Luis Obispo Council of Governments
  • Papich Construction
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Route 46  Corridor Improvement Project

The State Route 46 Corridor Improvement project puts a high priority on protecting the environment by successfully integrating roadway improvements within a natural ecosystem. This increasingly busy east-west rural highway corridor on California’s Central Coast links the Central Valley to the Pacific Ocean for both regional commerce and tourism. This route’s traffic demand triggered a much-needed safety improvement project designed to widen the existing two-lane highway to a four-lane expressway with a separated median. Several measures were required to protect threatened and endangered species, maintain wildlife movement, buffer sensitive habitats, reconstruct wetlands, and preserve the visual integrity of the corridor. This project provides a safer highway and less maintenance. It also required an innovative and creative design approach with cost-effective solutions. Specifically, this project incorporated several elements such as wildlife crossings and jump outs to maintain wildlife connectivity while minimizing conflicts with vehicles. The corridor's scenic quality was retained, the existing habitat preserved, and existing oak woodlands were protected by constructing modified wing walls, retaining walls, and slope reinforcements. Creating new wetlands and installing native plants further enhanced the existing natural resources and aesthetic character.


Barrier Transfer Machine Facility

  • Caltrans District 11
  • San Diego Association of Governments

Barrier Transfer  Machine Facility

The Barrier Transfer Machine Facility stores equipment for transfer movable barriers and is an integral part of the Interstate 15 (I-15) Express Lanes system, the nation’s most advanced and innovative highway. The building can store up to three barrier transfer machines.  The facility also stores additional equipment and includes a fueling station. The project design includes an innovative retaining wall system that allowed the facility to be built without interfering with an existing park-and-ride and leaves room to add a bus rapid transit station. By providing a storage and maintenance facility at the northern end of the movable barrier, maintenance staff will not be required to repair and maintain the barrier transfer machines in the middle of the freeway or to transport the machines to an offsite location. The facility makes almost perfect use of space, limits environmental impacts, saves money, and helps ensure that traffic flows as freely as possible on one of San Diego County’s most critical roadways.


Interstate 110 and 10 Express Lanes

  • Caltrans District 7
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Atkinson Construction

Interstate 110  and 10 Express Lanes

The Express Lanes Project integrates variable highway and parking pricing, expanded transit services, and innovative transportation technologies to improve mobility in the country's most congested urban region. This project is one of six projects selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop innovative programs to reduce congestion through value pricing. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Caltrans, the Federal Highway Administration, and several other partners oversaw the project. The project is a design-build-operate-maintain contract, funded and administered by Metro through a Congestion Reduction Demonstration federal grant award to convert existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into “dynamically-priced high-occupancy toll lanes.” More widely known as the “Metro ExpressLanes” project, this one-year demonstration project will provide a unique opportunity to explore and evaluate a new transportation option that could potentially create faster commutes, greater capacity, and better air quality throughout the region. The reduced congestion improves safety, reduces collision rates, improves travel time, and benefits the environment. As of December 31, 2012, more than 75,000 Fastrak accounts have been opened, illustrating commuters’ desire to save time.


Dynamic Lane Management System

  • Caltrans District 7
  • Delcan Corporation

Dynamic Lane  Management System

The Dynamic Lane Management System on northbound State Route 110 (SR-110) and the facility that connects northbound SR-110 to northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) in Los Angeles improves safety on SR-110 and is the first of its kind in the state. Northbound SR-110 to the northbound I-5 connector was previously a single-lane facility, using lane #1. The system allows lane #2 as an optional lane during peak-traffic hours. Lane management is accomplished through three consecutive overhead extinguishable message signs (EMS) in series, and one at the point of the connector. Lighted pavement markers, or Smartstuds, between lanes #1 and #2 supplement the three EMS. During peak hours, the Smartstuds are turned off, and the EMS are turned on displaying information to guide motorists from lane #2 of northbound SR-110 through the connector to northbound I-5. The system initially operated only on weekdays during peak commute periods. However, Caltrans enhanced the system to react to real-time conditions, and delays on SR-110 have declined from 20–25 minutes to less than 2 minutes. Furthermore, collision rates have reduced 54 percent. The project was well documented in several articles in the Los Angeles Times and other transportation journals and blogs and was showcased at the Transportation Research Board’s 14th International Managed Lane Conference in 2012 under “Technology Innovations.”


Garnett Creek Bridge Preservation/Cultural Enhancement

  • Caltrans District 4
  • Giampolini/Courtney

Garnett Creek  Bridge Preservation/Cultural Enhancement

State Route 29 (SR-29), outside Calistoga, in Napa County, sits in a rural setting surrounded by vineyards and natural vegetation along the banks of Garnett Creek. The project repaired the masonry arch of Garnett Creek Bridge, one of Napa County’s historic stone bridges. Constructed in 1902, the bridge is on National Register of Historic Places. On June 9, 2010, a semi-truck collided with the bridge, causing extensive damage. A temporary metal beam railing was immediately installed to prevent vehicles from falling off the bridge, and the shattered pieces of the wall were retained for reuse. A long-term repair plan was complicated; the work could not affect the creek’s biology, and traffic along SR-29 could not be blocked, and work had to be performed carefully to restore the bridge to its former level of historic integrity. Caltrans Cultural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance staff worked together to solve the challenges and repair the bridge. Caltrans partnered with stakeholders such as the Office of Historic Preservation and Napa County Landmarks, to ensure the repair was done according to established historic preservation guidelines. The project earned the Napa County Landmarks 2011 Award of Merit.


Cement Treated Recycling Project

  • Caltrans District 2

Cement Treated  Recycling Project

State Route 299 (SR-22) is a rural route connecting Nevada and northeast California. The route was rehabilitated using a nontypical design strategy that provides a case study for another method of asphalt pavement recycling. The process is environmentally friendly, uses in-place natural resources, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The rehabilitation included full-depth recycling of the existing asphalt pavement by pulverizing it to a 6-inch depth and mixing 1.5-2 percent Portland cement, producing a “super base” where no base existed. The new base created a stiff foundation to serve as a perfect platform for adding 3 inches of new hot-mix asphalt (HMA) concrete. Recycling the existing pavement and adding new HMA saves approx $$350,000 per lane mile. The project not only saved money, but also improved safety by adding 2 feet of additional pavement width. When used on low-volume routes, it is expected that the service life of this strategy is superior to conventional designs. This strategy and other recycle strategies are being evaluated for costs and benefits and may soon become department standards for low-traffic and moderate-traffic routes.


Rincon Hill Dog Park

  • Caltrans District 4
  • San Francisco Department of Public Works
  • South Beach | Rincon | Mission Bay Neighborhood Association
  • City and County of San Francisco Real Estate Division

Rincon Hill Dog  Park

The Rincon Hill Dog Park came from a partnership between Caltrans, the Bay Area Toll Authority, the California Transportation Commission, the San Francisco Department of Public Works, and the Rincon Hill community. The park is at the base of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, in a residential area and was previously leased and operated as a parking lot. With the bridge’s seismic retrofit construction, the corner became a blight of weeds and chain-link fencing. Residents expressed their desire to see the area developed as a public space. The dog park fills a void in a densely developed section of San Francisco and provides a small but valuable natural setting. The park and the slope above it provide a pleasant natural habitat with birds, flowering shrubs, and annual grasses. Nighttime lights accent the approach structure’s dramatic architecture, and the park’s design allows different uses simultaneously. Interpretive and historical displays near the street allow visibility and access to passers-by. Small-group seating areas face the streets and the Bay, making socialization easy. With a 30 percent dog-ownership rate in the community, the dog run areas meet an important neighborhood need. The park has quickly become a central part of the neighborhood for residents, as well as San Francisco visitors.


Next Generation Concrete Surface (NGCS) Special Grind Pilot

  • Caltrans District 11

Next Generation  Concrete Surface (NGCS) Special Grind Pilot

Caltrans District 11 conducted a pilot project along a one-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in San Diego County. The project used a new surface treatment, called Next Generation Concrete Surface (NGCS) and consists of grinding and grooving lanes with a new surface texture to try to reduce traffic-generated noise. NGCS is the first concrete pavement texture introduced in the last 20 to 30 years. It is also the quietest texture developed for nonporous concrete pavements. NGCS is proving to be ideal for long-lasting, economical, noise-reducing pavement surfaces. Preliminary test results show that NGCS reduced traffic-related noise by an average level of 4.5 decibels. While NGCS alone may not produce the same level of reduction as a soundwall, when used with other noise abatement measures, the effect can greatly enhance the users’ experience. In addition, NGCS addresses traffic-related noise at the source, so all users benefit—not just those near a soundwall.


Dumbarton and Antioch Bridges Seismic Retrofit

  • Caltrans Division of Engineering Services
  • Bay Area Toll Authority
  • Earth Mechanics, Inc
  • Caltrans District 4

Dumbarton and  Antioch Bridges Seismic Retrofit

The Dumbarton and Antioch bridges are Caltrans’ last seismically retrofitted toll bridges. Both bridges were deemed deficient, and each bridge presented its’ own challenges. The land approaches required additional external piles, which will be covered with an architectural treatment to better match the existing structure. In addition, a vista point and a stairway access to the ground and nearby facilities will be added. Initial analysis indicated the waterway approaches had issues, but detailed analyses and testing at University California, San Diego, showed that retrofit is unnecessary for this portion of the structure. This eased the need to access the foundations of 26 piers, saving millions of dollars. The retrofit solutions required no incursion into the Bay, no pile driving in the water, no bridge closures for the Antioch Bridge, and minimal closures for the Dumbarton Bridge. Except for the new piles on the trestles and the larger expansion joints, the traveling public will see little change to the Dumbarton Bridge and should feel an improved ride over the expansion joints. An early application of value analysis allowed the projects to be delivered on time and within budget.


State Route 52 Sunny Side Gateway Project

  • Caltrans District 11
  • San Diego Association of Governments

State Route 52  Sunny Side Gateway Project

The concept of getting Santee residents and business owners to accept ownership and provide valuable input during the life of construction was a key part of the State Route 52 Sunny Side Gateway Project public awareness campaign, and eventually contributed to the success of the project. Caltrans District 11 wanted customers to know that it would deliver on four promises – to reduce traffic congestion, improve travel times, to be environmentally responsible and that the project would provide a better quality of life. These four promises were hammered home on the front of the brochure for the SR-52 Sunny Side Gateway Project. The commitments and personalized nature of the project brochure set the tone for the rest of the campaign, with headlines such as “Something For Everyone,” “You, The Homeowner/Business Owner,” and “The Environment and You.” The message was concise, clear and consistent, and targeted the people who would be impacted and most likely to need this vital information to make informed commute choices.