The 405 Freeway closure the weekend before went off without a hitch, and drivers breathed a sigh of relief when their commutes resumed the following Monday morning. The $277 million project aims to connect the carpool lanes between the 22 and the 405 Freeways. As an aside, Los Angeles officials continue to pursue a proposed $3 billion bond measure that would pay for road repairs within the city.
Further north, Caltrans has started work on a bypass for US Route 101 around Willits after decades of promises and delays. However, residents remain divided on whether the new bypass will benefit or harm the former logging town. Specifically, opponents decry the loss of 60 acres of wetlands required for the project, even though Caltrans set aside 2,000 acres of protected wetlands that would be cordoned off from livestock. Some of the more radical opponents have held sit-ins at the site of the project in protest. However, other residents feel that the bypass is overdue, since regional traffic currently must slog its way through the main street in Willits, adding to accidents and frayed nerves. A completed bypass would allow Willits to take control of this street and make certain livability-minded improvements, according to proponents.
Further further north, Seattle residents bid farewell to the tunnel boring machine (TBM) named Bertha, which has now slipped under downtown Seattle to dig for a highway tunnel. The project is the culmination of efforts to provide a replacement for an aging, seismically vulnerable double-decker highway that currently separates downtown from the waterfront. After years of contention, the local citizenry ultimately voted in favor of the tunnel, which will allow for the demolition of the elevated highway and the beautification of the waterfront upon completion. Engineers anticipate completing actual tunneling in September 2014 under a tight schedule and opening the highway proper in 2015. The freeway element of the 710 North Gap Closure Project proposes using similar TBM technology that would tunnel under communities without surface disruptions. In any case, follow Bertha’s progress here.