CT News 2021, Issue 4

Click here for a one-webpage version of all the stories in this column, in their complete form. (Service Awards and Retirements are not included.)

Director's Corner

Good things behind us, great things ahead

Though the relentless pandemic continues to affect us in ways that have been difficult to endure, we are still fortunate to have many reasons to celebrate. Let us pause to consider how much we have accomplished in 2021. And looking ahead, we have a lot to do in 2022. I am hoping for an amazing year for all of us. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it.


District 2's fire season was a doozy

District 2: State Route 299 during the Monument Fire

We’re no strangers to wildfires here in District 2, but 2021 was exceptionally difficult. With more than 1.9 million acres burned, our district worked alongside firefighters with road closures, emergency repairs, evacuations and helping to keep the public safe.

District 2 tree crew puts safety above all else

Quentin Ramirez, Erik Groennings, and Robert Logan with the District 2 Tree Crew working on the Dixie Fire. Photo taken by PIO Haleigh Pike. When it comes to wildfires and repairing the damage caused by them, many steps are taken by Caltrans to ensure the safety of the traveling public. One of those steps is evaluating the damage to trees along our roadways.

Latest WASHTO Award winners announced

For WASHTO awards story

Caltrans’ Division of Research, Innovation and System Information (DRISI) Innovation Team (iTeam) manages an incentive program that utilizes Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (WASHTO) funding to award innovative projects and leaders. For 2021, Caltrans selected three projects to receive the WASHTO Awards.  We received 32 submissions overall.

It’s not too late to take the employee survey

For CT News news story

Thank you to the thousands of employees who have taken the opportunity to participate in this year’s Caltrans Employee Survey. Your participation in this survey makes a difference – helping us change Caltrans for the better. You have until the end of the month to complete the survey, if you have not done so already.

Hats Off

District 8 workers work to fill a void (i.e., potholes)

"I cannot express to everyone concerned what a swift, prompt job they did to make sure our little community did not have to navigate the holes any longer making it safe for everyone.  We appreciate everyone at Caltrans who made this happen."

Lost and found. Found, that is, by Caltrans …

“Finding and returning a briefcase may not be one of the world’s most momentous events, but it certainly is one of the most satisfying to the recipient when fears of identity theft and more are so prevalent.”

Health and Safety

Tips on caring for an aging loved one

Looking after an elderly parent, spouse, partner or close friend can be a rewarding experience, but it also presents challenges that can leave caregivers anxious, overwhelmed and/or intimidated by their duties. EAP provides free, confidential benefits and resources to help caregivers with a variety of issues.

Stay safe from the cold and COVID this winter

Generally, it is easier to practice social distancing outdoors, however, the cold weather may make it difficult to hold essential meetings outside. If you do have to be around others in an indoor environment, remember there are ways to maximize your safety.

Service Awards

A list of Caltrans employees who celebrated 25 or 40 years of service, or who received superior accomplishment awards, in August, September, October and November.


A list of Caltrans employees who retired in August, September, October and November.

Who's New

Will Arnold, media relations manager at Headquarters

Will Arnold is the new media relations manager at Caltrans Headquarters. Will has served Caltrans as a public information officer since March 2020. Since joining Caltrans, Will has been instrumental in developing strategies to communicate the department’s statewide messages, priorities and activities to media, stakeholders and the public.


Michael "Sumo" Sanchez, right of way agent

Michael "Sumo" Sanchez, of Sutter, passed away on Sept. 22. He was 54 years old and the 11th child born to Juan and Ofelia Sanchez of Sacramento. Mike worked at Caltrans as a right of way agent and for the state for 21 years. Born and raised in Sacramento, he relocated to Yuba City in 1999, and spent the last 20 years in Sutter.

In This Issue

Road trippin’: Napa Valley via State Route 29

CT News takes a vehicular stroll through the vineyards

... or are set so far back from the road that they are almost coy in their remote beauty ...

For decades, tourists and wine enthusiasts from all over the world have gone out of their way to visit Napa Valley. CT News took a trek down the scenic byway in mid-November, when clear weather and fall colors gave the region extra visual appeal. Traffic was relatively light, too, which is far from always the case on this famous route.

Road trippin’: Fairfield to San Andreas

Flowing through the Delta, Bay Area to the foothills

A few miles west of Lodi off the north side of Highway 12, this barn makes clear what industry dominates the region.

As State Route 12 makes its way from Fairfield to San Andreas, it transitions from pragmatic commuterism to bon-vivant winery exploration to Gold Country-blessed motoring. Ride along as CT News explores another California state highway on an overcast mid-November weekday.


Reed Parsell, Editor, Caltrans News

Tamie McGowen, Assistant Deputy Director, Public Affairs

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