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California Projects Receive $185 Million Shot in the Arm

Fri April 16, 2010 - West Edition

Caltrans preparing roadbed for replacement and repaving.
Caltrans preparing roadbed for replacement and repaving.

Contractors in California, one of the states hardest hit by construction job losses, received good news in February when the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $185 million to 43 transportation projects across the state.

Of the $185 million, $30 million came from Proposition 1B, the $19.9 billion transportation bond approved by voters in 2006. The remaining funds are a mixture of state and federal dollars.

The new CTC allocation went to projects large and small. Some of the largest include $69 million to repave and repair 100-lane mi. of Interstate 680, which lies east of Oakland, and $26 million to widen State Route 99 in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties.

A number of the smaller projects in the $200,000 to $2 million range will repair damage caused by winter storms. Others are maintenance projects that have been on the back burner for some time.

For instance, the CTC funds will allow the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to rehabilitate elevated structures on Routes 80, 101 and 280, in the heart of San Francisco, to prevent failure of structural elements and clogging of the drainage system. This $9 million project consists of replacing the current drainage system, as well as joint seals and rocker bearing pads, and treating the bridge decks with methacrylate.

“Nothing is wrong but we want to make sure that nothing happens, to prevent any kind of structural failure,” said Stephen Williams, a public information officer for Caltrans

Many of the structures in the area were built more than 60 years ago. Williams said: “It’s just necessary to seismically upgrade those, not only because seismic standards have changed and we live in a seismically active area, [but also because] after that amount of time, your infrastructure just starts to get old.”

Williams estimates that construction on this project will begin in 2011; it will be coming out to bid in May or June. Construction is expected to take approximately 2.5 years, which means a completion date in 2013 or later — more than seven years after Caltrans first started looking at the project.

The project may have languished longer without CTC funding.

When asked about the importance of the new CTC allocation, Williams replied: “Obviously we’re thrilled. And as long as that keeps happening, the roadways will remain safe and [our] people will be working and our contractors will be out there working.”

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