In 2008, Caltrans, using full lane closures, rehabilitated a .75-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento built just a short distance away from the Sacramento River. Roadway engineers dubbed this the “Boat Section” of I-5.
The interstate needed substantial rehabilitation to repair drainage systems and replace pavement just north of the U.S. Highway 50/Capital City Freeway interchange. The major artery through the Sacramento area carries more than 190,000 vehicles each day. This segment was dubbed the “Boat Section” because it was built below the water level of the nearby Sacramento River, and had a long history of leaking and flooding.
Caltrans worked with the contractor on an innovative full-lane closure plan to shorten the time it would take to completely rebuild the interstate from five years of nighttime and weekend work, to just 35 days of around-the-clock construction. Construction-related traffic delays never exceeded more than 20 minutes. Traffic counts reflected that, for more than two months, drivers demonstrated their spirit of cooperation by finding alternative routes, taking transit, working with their employers to alter schedules, working from home, and avoiding needless trips.
A big component of this project was a comprehensive public outreach campaign and collaborative partnership between Caltrans, the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento, the California Highway Patrol, downtown Sacramento businesses, and local emergency service providers. The public awareness campaign included a Web site, media advertising, daily e-mails to the public, community outreach, and assistance with media relations and press events.
Delivering Projects On-Time
Caltrans has delivered 100 percent of the 334 projects scheduled to list (advertise) during the 2008-09 fiscal year. These projects have a total estimated construction value of $3.7 billion. Caltrans has successfully met this key project delivery milestone for three of the past four consecutive years, with the first year reaching 99 percent due to additional work needed on one project. This brings the cumulative total of projects readied for construction to 1,087, with a value of $11.5 billion. At the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year, there were 680 construction contracts underway with
a contract value of more than $9.2 billion.
Partnering With Industry
As part of its construction program, Caltrans field staff has enhanced their working relationships with construction industry personnel. During the past fiscal year, Caltrans and industry leaders conducted 120 joint training sessions on partnering. More than 2,500 engineers and contractors learned how to successfully work together to complete construction projects quicker and cheaper.
This year, Caltrans updated its Field Guide to Partnering on Caltrans Construction Projects, a publication that helps state and construction industry field staff work together more efficiently while constructing their project. In addition, Caltrans also began requiring that field staff utilize the services of professional facilitators to improve their working relationships.
U.S. Highway 101 Carpool Lane Project Completed
Six Months Ahead of Schedule
The $14 million U.S. Highway 101 project widened the route from four to six lanes to extend the carpool lane for two and a half miles and upgrade a congested interchange in Santa Rosa. Originally scheduled to be completed the following spring, the schedule was adjusted and operational improvements were accelerated to complete work before the 2008 holiday shopping season. Ultimately, Steele Lane was reopened before Thanksgiving — six months ahead of schedule.
New Ramp Metering System is Easier, Cheaper
This past year, the Department developed a single standard statewide ramp metering software that will reduce the time and effort spent on software maintenance and training costs.
Until Caltrans developed the new universal ramp metering software, the state had five completely different, incompatible, and separately maintained ramp metering programs. The new ramp metering software incorporates the same functionality into one standard program.
Earning Federal Trust
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is awarding Caltrans more responsibilities, and Caltrans is eagerly taking them on.
Caltrans and FHWA have partnered to develop a road map to effectively and efficiently manage the Federal Aid Highway Program, which assists states in providing for construction, reconstruction, and improvement of highways and bridges. The agreement gives Caltrans more responsibility over funding, designing, securing environmental approval, and constructing projects. It makes the process faster and more cost-effective, so the Department can deliver projects more efficiently.
In October 2008, Caltrans entered into the Construction Program Stewardship Agreement Implementation Partnering Charter to ensure successful implementation of the agreement with FHWA. Under the charter, the Department and FHWA personnel will meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve common issues as Caltrans takes on these additional responsibilities.
This graph displays the percent of projects contractors have completed on time.
Source: Caltrans Division of Project Management.