Caltrans Seismically Retrofits
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
The seismic retrofit of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Approach was completed in early 2009. The entire western half of the bridge now meets seismic safety standards.
The West Approach was one of the most complex transportation projects in state history. It involved completely retrofitting a one-mile section of Interstate 80. This stretch of I-80 links San Francisco to the Bay Bridge and carries more than 280,000 vehicles a day. This project included rebuilding the double-decked roadways so that each deck has independent columns and foundations. This was vital to making the structure seismically sound. Prior to the retrofit, the roadways shared a single foundation system.
To keep traffic moving and to minimize neighborhood disruptions, construction and demolition were performed through a series of six highly complex phases, which often required major lane reconfigurations, traffic shifts and temporary deck closures.
Caltrans went to extreme lengths to minimize impacts to motorists by scheduling work during weekends and at night. Sometimes this meant consolidating work into a condensed time frame. Hundreds of workers often toiled around-the-clock to get the job done before heavy commute hour traffic began. This was all done under pressure to meet timelines and costs.
The project was completed seven months ahead of schedule. The public was kept informed with an innovative, extensive and award-winning public outreach program. Caltrans gave print and broadcast media access to project leaders and engineers, simulations showing traffic flow on temporary and permanent roadways, and access to the work site in order to develop a thorough understanding of the project and to educate and inform the public.
Rebuilding the West Approach took place in a densely populated neighborhood. Construction and demolition occurred within mere inches of homes and offices. Keeping neighbors, motorists, and the general public informed was crucial during major demolition and construction work. Outreach efforts included community meetings, door-to-door canvassing, establishing a project hotline, mailings, public service announcements, and media and legislative outreach. Throughout the project, public information officers worked closely with nearby residents and businesses to keep them informed of progress and resolve any concerns. The patience of nearby residents and businesses was greatly appreciated, and their support throughout the project was a key factor in its success.
Doyle Drive – Golden Gate Bridge
Gets New Link in San Francisco
Caltrans is preparing to break ground on the $1 billion Doyle Drive seismic retrofit and replacement project. The Recovery Act contributed $50 million to this project to provide a new access to the Golden Gate Bridge within a national park and replace the aging, seismically vulnerable structure. Caltrans, the San Francisco Transportation Authority, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transit District, the Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs are collaborating on the project. Other cooperating agencies include the city of San Francisco’s Department of Recreation and Parks, Department of Parking and Traffic (now known as the Municipal Transportation Agency), and Department of Public Works.
Strategic Highway Safety Plan
The Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) was released in September 2006 to address an assortment of traffic safety issues. Historically, California has led the nation in the number of vehicle crashes largely because of the state’s significant size, population, and high volume of traffic. Caltrans has partnered with 80 different public and private agencies to reduce highway fatalities by
20 percent, from 1.25 to 1.00 per 100 million vehicle miles a year. The SHSP will ultimately reduce vehicle crashes and the unfortunate consequences of death and injury that often follow. This past fiscal year, Caltrans completed specific actions to improve safety including increased school district awareness of the state-funded Safe Routes to School program, expanded joint safety training for field personnel and law enforcement officers in work zones, and increased training of local and county design engineers on how to accommodate older drivers and pedestrians.
Using Technology to Improve Safety
An innovative technology was tested in the Bay Area under the tutelage of Caltrans’ Division of Research and Innovation and University of California Berkeley’s Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (California PATH). The Mobile Century/Mobile Millennium project gathers and transmits travel information data from participants to their smart phones using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology run through an algorithm to protect users’ identities. It was tested with 100 UC Berkeley students on Interstate 880 between Hayward and Fremont and expanded to a one-year testing period with the general public in November 2008. It also gathers data from city streets to expand smart travel options to arteries leading to freeways. This information is being folded into the Safe and Efficient Travel Through Innovation and Partnerships for the 21st century (SafeTrip-21). The $13.4 million partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation and Caltrans is field-testing technologies designed to reduce gridlock and traffic-related fatalities and injuries on roadways through GPS-equipped cellular signals in the Mobile Millennium project. Vehicles transmit real-time data over the roadway in a 200-mile radius in the Bay Area. Motorists can see traffic conditions, get train arrival time information and, in the future, will hear audible alerts about upcoming red lights, school zones, and pedestrians crossing the road, all on their smart phones. The world’s largest multimodal field test of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies, SafeTrip-21 represents a convergence of existing technologies including multimodal trip planning and traveler information; safety advisories; onboard displays of commuter rail and transit bus connections; electronic toll collection; and parking reservation and payment services in a national field test to advance the development of a Vehicle Infrastructure Integration system, which uses Wi-Fi and dedicated short-range communications. This technology was demonstrated at the ITS World Congress conference in New York City in November 2008.
Ortega Highway Project Completed
One Year Ahead of Schedule
The $40 million State Route 74 Ortega Highway safety improvement project, a three-mile section in San Juan Capistrano, was completed in two-thirds of the contract time, and under budget. The old facility had narrow lanes, limited turnout areas, and a high accident rate. The project’s goal was to reduce incidents and improve roadway safety and highway drainage.
Seeing Through the Fog —
Safety Improvements Save Travelers
In an effort to eliminate deadly multi-vehicle freeway accidents during the Central Valley’s winter fog season, Caltrans completed an innovative and comprehensive Fog Pilot Project aimed at reducing the severity of those collisions on local freeways.
Caltrans installed extensive equipment to provide a more immediate fog warning system for drivers along a 12-mile stretch of State Route 99 through the Central Valley. It is based on a successful, albeit smaller, system already
in place in the Stockton area.
The integrated electronic devices will incorporate detection systems that monitor weather patterns and traffic conditions. Combined, these systems will automatically communicate messages regarding potentially hazardous road conditions directly to drivers via dozens of electronic freeway message signs posted along the project corridor.
The installation of equipment begins approximately 1.5 miles south of the Fresno County/ Tulare County line near the Kings River and concludes approximately 10.5 miles to
the north of that border near Manning Avenue in the city of Fowler. This stretch of road was chosen because of the frequency of dense fog and reduced-visibility incidents in recent years.
The integrated systems that will make up this project include weather stations, electronic freeway message signs, microwave vehicle/motion detectors, and visibility sensors.
Highway Safety Improvement Program
The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is an integral component of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Caltrans has administered this program for many years to reduce the number and severity of collisions on California’s roadway system.
Caltrans has established programs to identify roadways, intersections and ramps that might need safety improvements for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. A total of 76 safety projects were awarded at a cost of $117.4 million during the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Caltrans works with local agencies to identify and fund local safety projects with HSIP and High Risk Rural Roads Program funds. During the 2008-09 fiscal year, Caltrans approved 111 safety projects totaling more than $56 million.
Safety Agreement Protects Workers
In July 2008, Caltrans entered into an agreement with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to be proactive toward construction site safety. Cal/OSHA and Caltrans inspectors, often in cooperation with the contractor’s safety officer, will now review certain construction sites, identify areas of safety concern, and have them addressed to proactively reduce the likelihood of a serious safety incident. The effort is reducing safety incidents and costs.
Grants Give Students Safer Routes
Caltrans manages the state and federal Safe Routes to School programs, which have improved safety for children in grades K-12 who walk and bicycle to school. The programs fund local projects, including installing sidewalks, signs and lights near public schools.
Source: Caltrans Local Assistance Division
In fiscal year 2008-09, Caltrans awarded $48.5 million to cities and counties for 106 projects funded through the state’s Safe Routes to School program, for the fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-10. This program is designed to give students in grades K-12 easier and healthier ways to travel safely to and from school by funding projects such as construction of new sidewalks, bicycle trails, installation of crosswalks and signals at intersections, as well as distribution of bicycle helmets, and implementation of safety campaigns and training.
Californians Slow for the Cone Zone
Caltrans’ Slow for the Cone Zone public education campaign continues to have a positive impact with its simple, straightforward message aimed to train, educate, and remind California’s drivers to decrease speed in construction and maintenance work areas.
This multifaceted, strategic approach sends a powerful message. With a little less speed and a few more seconds, lives are saved in work zones. For instance, slowing from 65 mph to 45 mph greatly increases a driver’s ability to maneuver safely through detours or navigate lane changes and merging traffic.
Caltrans has shown just how effectively a public education campaign with a clear message can work to reduce injuries, incidents and deaths. Key elements of the Slow for the Cone Zone campaign include general, teenage, and Hispanic outreach identified through current market survey results.
According to statistics released in 2008, the total number of deaths attributed to collisions in work zones decreased 39 percent from the previous year. However, with the number of work zones increasing due to Proposition 1B, the 2006 transportation bond, and future Recovery Act funded projects, we need to continue our diligence in getting the message out to California motorists.
The message is clear — Slow for the Cone Zone is building awareness both locally and nationally to change unsafe driving behavior one motorist at a time.
Improving Teen Driving Through
Slow for the Cone Zone Campaign
In December 2008, Caltrans announced the winner of its “Street Skills” New Driver Safety Sweepstakes. Julia Huggins of Scotts Valley High School near the Central Coast received a 2009 Toyota Scion xB and a $1,000 check, donated by Clear Channel and the American Automobile Association (AAA).
“Street Skills” was a statewide program that quizzed teen drivers online about safe driving in highway work zones and was part of a fall 2008 tour that hosted 49 safe driving events at high schools during lunch hours and at football games. Caltrans sent more than 900 driving safety kits to public and private schools.
Great information, including driver safety quizzes for high school aged drivers in both English and Spanish, is posted at www.slowfortheconezone.com.