Zaca Station to Orcutt Drainage Rehabilitation

Project Description

As a result of inventory and hydraulic analysis activities performed by the Culvert Inspection Program of the District Hydraulic Branch, 13 drainage culverts within the project limits were identified to be in need of repair or replacement. All identified drainages have varying levels of damage, shape loss, joint separation, and outlet scouring. The proposed strategy for each culvert varies depending on each site condition. Eight culverts will be repaired via the cut-and-cover method, usually accomplished by digging a trench with an excavator. At one location, the project proposes to cut across the U.S. Route 101 southbound lanes and will require staged construction to ensure that at least one lane of traffic is available at all times. The remaining drainage improvements include other strategies such as: stabilizing the channels and reconstructing ditches, placing new or replacing existing pipes, culvert invert paving, and joint repair. In most cases, the repair work is not anticipated to have a significant impact on traffic flow because it will take place in the center median or beyond the outside shoulder.

The project proposes 16 lighting improvements at two different interchanges: the Los Alamos Interchange and the Cat Canyon Intersection. The new installations and replacement of fixtures will include demolition or replacement of fixtures and/or foundations, related excavation for new foundations, installation of service cabinets, and utility trenching. Other existing lights can be found at interchanges throughout the project limits.

Various existing types of Transportation Management System elements occur throughout the project limits. Transportation Management Systems are implemented by Caltrans to improve the flow of vehicle traffic and improve safety. Technologies such as closed-circuit television cameras, microwave vehicle detection systems, and traffic count stations are used to collect and send traffic data to transportation management centers. The project proposes to replace existing closed-circuit television systems at two locations. Existing microwave vehicle detection systems at two locations will also be replaced. A traffic count station will be installed at one location in both the northbound and southbound directions.

Project Benefits


  • Improve and restore culverts to their water conveyance purpose, which would protect embankments and roadways from potential failure.
  • Replace existing lighting elements that are beyond their useful life and install additional lighting elements to enhance lighting conditions at the Los Alamos Interchange and the Cat Canyon Intersection.
  • Replace and add Traffic Management System elements to improve the collection of traffic data and notify the traveling public of traffic conditions.


  • As documented in the Drainage System Reports for the culverts within the project limits, many deficiencies were noted. These include corroded or worn pipe inverts, perforated pipe sections, joint offsets, and significant ditch, channel, and slope erosion, which lead to lower water conveyance capacities and costly emergency repairs.
  • The District Electrical unit recommended the rehabilitation of lighting elements that have reached the end of their service life within the project limits.
  • Without the proposed Transportation Management System improvements, traffic information collected from within the project limits might be unreliable.

Estimated Funding Breakdown

Funding Source Funding Amount
State $4,990,000
Construction Cost $73,980,000 (includes all project locations)

Proposed Project Schedule

Process Date
Final environmental document to be completed November 2022
Design to be completed June 2024
Advertise October 2024
Construction to begin January 2025
Construction to be completed May 2026


Project Contact

Jason Wilkinson, Senior Environmental Planner
Phone:  (805) 540-9165

Barak Miles, Project Manager
Phone:  (916) 995-7456

District 5 Public Information Office 
Phone:  (805) 549-3237


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  • Initial Study with Mitigated Negative Declaration - FINAL November 2022 (PDF 7MB)
  • What Should You Do?

    • Please read the document. Additional copies of the document and the related technical studies are available for review at the Caltrans District 5 Office, 50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401.
    • Tell us what you think. If you have any comments regarding the proposed project, please send your written comments via U.S. mail to: Jason Wilkinson, California Department of Transportation, 50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401; contact Jason Wilkinson by phone at (805) 542-4663, or submit comments via email to:

    Submit comments by the deadline: June 15, 2022.

    Title VI Information

    The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) assures that no person shall, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and Federal Executive Order 12898 (Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations).

    Caltrans will make every effort to ensure nondiscrimination in all of its programs and activities, whether they are federally funded or not, and that services and benefits are fairly distributed to all people, regardless of race, color, or national origin. In addition, Caltrans will facilitate meaningful participation in the transportation planning process in a nondiscriminatory manner.