The California Transportation Commission recently allocated $125 million to 36 transportation projects to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure and bolster the economy.

The allocations include $37 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and $31 million from Proposition 1B, the $19.9 billion transportation bond approved by voters in 2006. The remaining $57 million in allocations came from assorted transportation accounts funded by state and federal dollars.

“Today’s announcement is another important step in our commitment to rebuild California’s aging infrastructure,” says Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “My administration is working hand-in-hand with President Obama’s team to ensure Recovery Act dollars are pumped into California quickly and responsibly to stimulate the economy and invest in the future of the state’s transportation system.”

Among the projects that received funding allocations included $28.2 million to replace Spanish Creek Bridge in Plumas County.

The aging structure is on State Route 70 near the community of Keddie. SR 70 is a two-lane conventional highway that connects SR 99 near Sacramento in Sutter County and U.S. Route 395 in southeastern Lassen County. The Spanish Creek Bridge is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. It is also a contributive element of the Feather River Highway Historic District (SR 70 from post mile 35.37 in Butte County to post mile 36.0 in Plumas County), which is also a National Register eligible property.

The existing Spanish Creek Bridge was constructed in 1932 and is approaching the end of its service life. Caltrans says the bridge exhibits signs of structural fatigue, does not meet modern seismic standards, lacks standard shoulder width, and cannot accommodate some large permit loads due to lane width and structural limitations for weight loading.

Due to traffic load restrictions on the existing bridge and the condition of the structural steel, permit loads on this section of SR 70 are often denied. The bridge is approximately 23 ft wide between curbs and has an 80,000 lb. maximum load restriction. Fires, landslides, and train derailments have occurred in the Feather River Canyon requiring the deployment of heavy equipment. PG&E, Union Pacific Railroad, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection have been denied access through the area in the past due to the weight restriction.

Caltrans plans to start construction of the new bridge in March, with a completion date set for October 2013.

Other allocations include:

  • $1.9 million from the Recovery Act to construct a 6.7-mi bikeway and pedestrian access alongside State Route 99 in Chico.
  • $1.3 million from the Recovery Act to construct sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, bicycle lanes and improve landscaping on State Route 255 in the city of Arcata.
  • $31.2 million in Proposition 1B funding for a wide range of rail improvements. One project ($25.2 million) at the downtown Sacramento train station will straighten and separate a passenger rail track and platform from freight tracks. A second project ($6 million) will construct a grade separation overcrossing at 6th Street above newly relocated mainline tracks and F Street.
  • $2.4 million to perform maintenance work and repairs on a bridge on Interstate 5 at the junction with U.S. Highway 101 in Los Angeles.
  • $3 million to construct a new median safety barrier on State Route 180 to reduce the potential for cross-median collisions and $2.1 million to upgrade three bridges on State Route 168 in Fresno.

“From one end of the state to the other, transportation projects are providing jobs and improving mobility for people and businesses in California,” says Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki. “Our focus has been and continues to be ensuring that California gets the maximum benefit from the stimulus funding.”

California leads the nation with $2.1 billion in Recovery Act funding obligated to 718 highway and local street transportation projects statewide. Of these, 380 projects worth more than $2 billion have been awarded contracts to begin work, with an additional $449 million in federal stimulus funds expected to be awarded to 129 projects by February 2010. For more information on the Recovery Act visit: http://recovery.ca.gov/