In a speech to the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Caltrans director Will Kempton announced April 19 that — for the first time ever — Caltrans has broken the $10 billion threshold for projects under construction. The previous record level for construction was $8.8 billion in fiscal year 2001-02, adjusted to present value.
“This is truly unprecedented,” said Kempton.
California’s transportation revitalization began when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reinstated $2.7 billion in Proposition 42 (devoting state sales tax on gasoline) funds. Last year, the governor and the legislature’s bipartisan leadership made it possible for voters to approve two historic transportation measures: Proposition 1B, a $19.9 billion bond aimed at reducing traffic congestion, improving goods movement, and creating jobs; Proposition 1A permanently protects Prop. 42 funding, ensuring billions of additional dollars will be available for transportation.
At the end of the last fiscal year, Caltrans came close to delivering its overall goal of 174 projects valued. Caltrans moved 173 projects to the ready to list stage, the point at which they are advertised to attract bids from contractors. This fiscal year, Caltrans intends to move 286 projects to the ready to list stage and is aiming for 100 percent project delivery.
The $10 billion in transportation improvements now under construction include:
• Los Angeles — U.S. 101/Interstate 405 — This is one of the nation’s busiest interchanges. A $46 million project will ease traffic backups and eliminate the need for I-405 motorists to cross several lanes to access the U.S. 101 connector.
• Bay Area — Third Street Light Rail — Caltrans is providing $64 million in funding to extend a San Francisco Municipal Railway line more than 5 mi. (8 km) to the San Mateo County line. This vital public transit project, which includes 19 new rail stations, will provide service for the first time to the eastern section of San Francisco.
• San Diego — Interstate 15 Managed Lanes – This project is expanding I-15 with four new lanes in the median between State Route 163 in San Diego and State Route 78 in Escondido. A movable barrier will enable traffic to be “managed,” meaning lane configurations can be changed to improve the traffic flow for morning and evening commutes, special events, etc. A Bus Rapid Transit System also will be added, providing motorists a transportation alternative.
• Fresno — Highway 99 Widening — A $62 million project is converting Highway 99 from four-lanes to six-lanes between Kingsburg and Selma in southern Fresno County. This project will enhance goods movement and ease traffic congestion for commuters in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.
• Bay Area — San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge — With $4.5 billion in construction currently under way, Caltrans continues making good progress on this landmark project. The west span is finished, and the east span’s Skyway portion is 93 percent complete. Work begins this summer on the $227 million Oakland Touchdown Project, which will connect the bridge’s Skyway section to the Oakland Toll Plaza.
• Riverside — 60/91/215 Interchange Project — This project will unclog traffic bottlenecks for motorists and truckers traveling on three vital Inland Empire highways. Four mi. (6.4 km) of new HOV lanes are being added, all three highways will be widened, and a new truck bypass lane will be constructed.
• Los Angeles — East side Light Rail Extension — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Gold Line is being extended six mi. (9.6 km) from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to East Los Angeles. Eight new stations are being constructed. Caltrans is providing $240 million in state funding.
• Orange County —Interstate 5 Gateway Project. This $206 million project is adding HOV, mixed-flow, and auxiliary lanes from State Route 91 to the Los Angeles County line. This will complete construction of an HOV network in Orange County and relieve traffic congestion for more than 172,000 vehicles that travel this area daily.
For more information, visit www.dot.ca.gov.