AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: SR 37 Improvements  (Read 2397 times)

andy3175

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1212
  • Location: San Diego, California, USA
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 09:49:48 AM
    • AARoads
SR 37 Improvements
« on: January 10, 2016, 10:16:03 AM »

California SR 37 is known for its limited capacity and location in a sensitive tidal marsh at the north end of San Pablo Bay. While many desire expansion of the facility, it would come at an environmental cost. A Highway 37 Stewardship Study was conducted in 2012, and the findings of that study are encapsulated in the latest SR 37 Transportation Concept Report, which was issued about a year ago, on 1/12/2015: http://hwy37.ucdavis.edu/files/upload/resource/TCR%2037-FINAL-SIGNED.pdf

Since SR 37 connects Novato with Vallejo, it passes through several counties. This report lists the stakeholder agencies as Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM), Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA), and Solano Transportation Authority (STA). SR 37 is described as follows:

Quote
SR 37 follows 21 miles along the northern shore of San Pablo Bay linking US 101 in Novato, Marin County with Interstate 80 (I-80) in Vallejo, Solano County. It serves as a vital connection between the eastern and western counties of the northern San Francisco Bay Area, and the Central Valley. It is the northernmost non-mountainous east-west link between US 101 and I-5 (via I-80 and I-505) in the State. From US 101 to the signalized SR 121 intersection at Sears Point, SR 37 is a four-lane expressway. Another signalized intersection is at Lakeville Road. East of Sears Point, it becomes a two-lane conventional highway with a median barrier as it crosses the Napa-Sonoma marshlands. At Mare Island, a four-lane freeway begins. The route continues eastward, mostly on an elevated structure, to its termination at I-80. This segment crosses SR 29 in the City of Vallejo.

The report goes on to discuss specific issues on SR 37 surrounding flooding (sea level rise) and traffic congestion due to the lengthy two-lane segment in the middle of the route:

Quote
The most defining issue for Highway 37 is its vulnerability to flooding during heavy storms. Flooding has repeatedly occurred in the past, requiring closure of the roadway. With rising sea levels, flooding events will likely grow more frequent. The concept identifies the two-lane conventional segment between SR 121 (Sears Point) and Mare Island (Vallejo) as a candidate for widening from two to four lanes in order to close the gap between the two four-lane segments on either end. This widening would alleviate the PM eastbound peak hour commute congestion caused by the lane reduction. There is concern that increasing the number of lanes on any facility creates only temporary congestion relief and in the long run will result in additional travel demand. In the case of SR 37, because of the local geography and environment, the lack of population centers and very limited development along the corridor, building out (the middle segment) is not expected to significantly increase demand, and could allow HOV/ transit options to be introduced in the corridor.

The 2012 Highway 37 Stewardship Study (and the 2015 SR 37 Transportation Concept Report) presented five alternatives to address the middle segment's location on wetlands and narrow footprint. They are:

- no expansion
- expanded footprint
- causeway
- strategic co-alignment
- tunnel

A study that either came out last month (December 2015) or is yet to come will evaluate these options; the study (called State Route 37 Integrated Traffic, Infrastructure and Sea Level Rise Analysis) should be available at http://hwy37.ucdavis.edu/ at some point.

A series of media reports came out in Fall 2015 to discuss options ... some ideas being considered include complete realignment of SR 37 away from the marsh, perhaps by shifting it inland or over the bay.

http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/rising-seas-traffic-threaten-highway/article_66cf6eac-c503-5f9f-a55b-3ce5ef7caf83.html (discusses the SR 37 Stewardship Study and environmental issues with the route)

http://www.petaluma360.com/news/4615552-181/plans-to-privatize-hwy-37 (discusses toll potential with public private partnership to construct new facility, as proposed by United Bridge Partners)

http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_28864779/highway-37-woes-have-north-bay-counties-joining (discusses various counties coming together to discuss SR 37 issues)

http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/new-push-to-keep-highway-high-and-dry/article_f3238b05-741b-5bd9-a7c3-663f8c7f8857.html (pegs cost of  causeway at $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion and a levee road expansion at $770 million)

So, we'll see what if anything comes of this discussion.
Logged
Regards,
Andy

www.aaroads.com

jeffe

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 52
  • Location: California
  • Last Login: August 27, 2017, 03:02:06 AM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 02:21:30 AM »

The State Route 37 Integrated Traffic, Infrastructure and Sea Level Rise Analysis report is now available.  It starts on page 9 of the following PDF:
http://hwy37.ucdavis.edu/files/upload/minutes/StakeholderMeeting4Minutes_8.21.2015Final.pdf

Three alternatives were looked at, one on a levee and two bridge options.  All three alternatives call for two traffic lanes each way, 10 foot outside shoulders, and 17 foot inside shoulders.  The 17 foot shoulders will allow for a 12 foot lane and a 5 foot inside shoulder in the future.

ALTERNATIVE  1 - Levee    2 - Box Girder Causeway    3 - Slab Bridge Causeway 
Cost in millions   $770       $3,100           $2,700
Logged

andy3175

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1212
  • Location: San Diego, California, USA
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 09:49:48 AM
    • AARoads
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2016, 12:41:53 AM »

Article on potential for SR 37 to become a toll road as part of its improvements:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5528661-181/lebaron-history-repeats-itself-with?ref=TSM&artslide=0

Quote
Representatives of the four counties that come together at Sears Point, where the infamous, hazardous, traffic-clogged Highway 37 goes east to Vallejo or west to Novato, have been meeting these past months to talk about making it a toll road.

Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

Eagerness to find a faster way to the Sacramento Valley has taken us down this road before. That 10-mile ribbon of highway between ditches has already been a toll road.

The current plan is, as a recent PD editorial termed it, “a back-to-the future” proposal. A policy committee was formed last fall with the intent of finding a solution to the traffic congestion on the narrow road bordered by marshland and bay water, a route that could be impacted in the future by global warming and the resulting rise of sea levels.

In May the representatives from Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties were presented with an unsolicited proposal from United Bridge Partnership, a consortium that includes FIGG Bridge, a construction company specializing in “top-down” spans — roads like I-80’s Yolo Causeway into Sacramento — and American Infrastructure, a company that finances adventures such as this.

In an important next step, the group will decide if this plan is feasible.
Logged
Regards,
Andy

www.aaroads.com

mapman

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 182
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Gilroy, California
  • Last Login: July 17, 2017, 12:27:02 AM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2016, 01:24:43 AM »

This seems to be the way transportation agencies are considering funding roadway improvements these days, especially if they lack the funds to implement roadway construction projects.  For example, TAMC (Transportation Agency for Monterey County) is considering the conversion of CA-156 (between CA 1 and US 101) into a toll road to help fund its upgrade to a four-lane freeway.  On the other hand, toll roads may not be an panacea in all cases -- just look at the CA-125 toll road debacle (where SANDAG -- San Diego Association of Governments -- had to take back control over a toll road after its chosen operator went bankrupt due to toll revenues that were well below projected forecasts prior to construction).    :banghead:
Logged

andy3175

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1212
  • Location: San Diego, California, USA
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 09:49:48 AM
    • AARoads
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 12:48:21 AM »

The discussion about a toll road for CA 37 continues...

http://www.sonomanews.com/news/6962918-181/bay-area-officials-eye-future?artslide=0

Quote
North Bay motorists suffering through congested traffic on Highway 37 or long detours from closures of the roadway caused by flooding may wish for anything to relieve them of their misery.

But does that include paying tolls?

A fee-based future appears to be gaining traction with a key advisory group tasked with long-term solutions for traffic and flooding on the heavily traversed 21-mile highway from Vallejo to Novato.

“I think everyone acknowledges there’s few options other than tolls to generate revenue needed to do a project of that scale in that location,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, chairman of the Highway 37 Policy Committee. ...

Highway 37, which skirts the edge of San Pablo Bay, is increasingly at risk from sea level rise, and this winter was closed for weeks at a time as a result of storm-related flooding. The segment east of Sonoma Raceway, which narrows to two lanes, is a particularly problematic choke-point.

Figures released Thursday showed that a 21-mile trip that normally would take about 20 minutes without traffic on Highway 37 from Highway 101 in Marin County to the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo takes about 50 minutes westbound, and 100 minutes going east, during peak commute times, which start as early as 1:30 p.m.

The speed limit across most of the highway is 65 mph.

A consultant hired by the policy group to address options for Highway 37 improvements — ranging from building a seawall to an elevated causeway — said paying for the work boils down to charging tolls or waiting for Caltrans to identify funding for the work.

That assumes the state ever makes the highway a priority. Under traditional funding methods, the state would not have enough money to start construction until 2088, beyond the lifetime of those now studying what to do with the highway, one committee member dryly noted Thursday.

By contrast, such work could be completed in as little as eight years by charging tolls and by public agencies partnering with private companies on construction, according to Jose Luis Moscovich, executive vice-president of Project Finance Advisory Limited, a San Francisco-based consultancy. ...

Under one scenario he highlighted, charging motorists a toll between $1.05 and $2.25 along segments of a newly established toll road on Highway 37 — or a total of $5 to travel the entire length from Interstate 80 in Vallejo to Highway 101 in Novato — would generate an estimated $12.5 billion over 50 years.

That conceivably would more than cover the cost of roadway improvements identified in an influential UC Davis study, which estimated the price tag for significant improvements on Highway 37 in the $1 billion to $4 billion range.

Another option would be to charge motorists a flat $5 toll just to cross the 12-mile section of highway from Mare Island to Sonoma Raceway at the intersection of Highway 121, generating an estimated $9.3 billion.

United Bridge Partners, a private investment firm with headquarters in Foster City, has proposed a toll option for that stretch of highway. Under that plan, the state would relinquish the right-of-way to the company, which would fund the construction and charge a toll to recoup its cost. ...

Novato City Councilwoman Pat Eklund, who is not a member of the highway study group, told the panel Thursday that toll roads are an “affordability issue” for low- and middle-income earners. She encouraged the panel to explore other options.

Napa County’s representatives on the panel, including Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, expressed concerns about traffic being worsened on other roads as a result of motorists avoiding tolls on Highway 37. But those concerns appear a long way off. The highway study group, which isn’t planning to meet again until September, is still in the fact-finding stage. Rabbitt acknowledged frustration among some committee members at the pace of the process, which he said can be “agonizingly slow.”

Logged
Regards,
Andy

www.aaroads.com

Plutonic Panda

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 236
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Last Login: Today at 02:18:12 AM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2017, 02:46:37 PM »

It would be interesting if they left at least left one lane each way open for feee use.
Logged

nexus73

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1127
  • Age: 61
  • Location: Coos Bay OR
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 11:41:01 PM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2017, 02:56:22 PM »

Going back to designs for a freeway, why not consider a floating bridge option as we see in Seattle?  Earthquakes will cause damage to a causeway.  Going with the floating bridge means the bridge remains intact and then it becomes a smaller post-quake repair job to redo the approaches.

As for tolls, I'd rather see the Bay Area counties raise their gas tax and then eliminate all tolling agencies in the region.  That would lower the cost of administration. 

Rick
Logged
US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

sparker

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2305
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
  • Last Login: Today at 02:17:22 AM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2017, 04:26:18 AM »

Going back to designs for a freeway, why not consider a floating bridge option as we see in Seattle?  Earthquakes will cause damage to a causeway.  Going with the floating bridge means the bridge remains intact and then it becomes a smaller post-quake repair job to redo the approaches.

As for tolls, I'd rather see the Bay Area counties raise their gas tax and then eliminate all tolling agencies in the region.  That would lower the cost of administration. 

Rick

The fact that we just had a statewide gas tax increase likely precludes any local measures to follow suit; the state measure (backed by the governor) has already come under fire from anti-tax groups looking to use the state's famous/notorious initiative process to overturn the tax.  But it means the tax will have 1 1/2-2 years under its belt at the next statewide election; if enough needed projects can be front-loaded into the next 18 months or so, pressure will be on to keep it up.  But adding local measures isn't a likely next step -- taxpayers may well absorb one increase, but two is likely out of the question.  Maybe in 5 years.............................
Logged

lordsutch

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 974
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 10:49:36 AM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2017, 11:23:05 AM »

Going back to designs for a freeway, why not consider a floating bridge option as we see in Seattle?  Earthquakes will cause damage to a causeway.  Going with the floating bridge means the bridge remains intact and then it becomes a smaller post-quake repair job to redo the approaches.

You can't really float a bridge on wetlands since they're not always covered in water. Maybe in 50 years where SR 37 is now will be open water year-round, but not today.
Logged

nexus73

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1127
  • Age: 61
  • Location: Coos Bay OR
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 11:41:01 PM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 11:31:43 AM »

Going back to designs for a freeway, why not consider a floating bridge option as we see in Seattle?  Earthquakes will cause damage to a causeway.  Going with the floating bridge means the bridge remains intact and then it becomes a smaller post-quake repair job to redo the approaches.

You can't really float a bridge on wetlands since they're not always covered in water. Maybe in 50 years where SR 37 is now will be open water year-round, but not today.

You could float a bridge if a canal was built.  I guess that would be a first!  At least this idea preserves the bridge after the inevitable earthquakes come along.  Let the water absorb the shock!  Assuming the global warming prediction takes place, the water rises above the canal and if not, the bridge floats anyway.

Rick
Logged
US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

kkt

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3576
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Last Login: September 19, 2017, 10:22:49 PM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2017, 02:23:18 PM »

I'm not at all sure a floating bridge would do better in an earthquake.  Each pontoon in anchored by cables to the bottom of the lakebed, as well as attached at both sides.  It doesn't seem like it could end well for those attachment points to be shaking relative to each other.

The wetlands would be problematic due to liquefaction, too.  Columns down to bedrock, holding the roadway above the surface of the swamp, so swampdwelling critters could easily cross under the road?  Also make it not matter so much when the water level rises.

Logged

sparker

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2305
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
  • Last Login: Today at 02:17:22 AM
Re: SR 37 Improvements
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2017, 04:23:34 PM »

I hate to say it -- it's a waste of a perfectly good Napa River high-level bridge -- but maybe CA 37 can't, in the long run, be saved.  The portion east of CA 121 was in fact a later "add-on" to the state highway system (LRN 208) -- as SSR 48 -- as a shortcut avoiding the "dry land" routing that is now 121.  It might be best to consider abandoning the portion east of Sears Point and constructing an expressway along the CA 121 alignment to CA 29/Napa.  The present CA 37 segment north of Vallejo could turn north onto CA 29 and be signed as the latter route (hardly any through traffic uses the surface CA 29 alignment through central Vallejo).  Caltrans could (literally) sink untold funds into trying to stabilize CA 37 -- but considering that it's likely to be under water in the not-too-distant future, a more permanent and viable solution might be the answer. 
Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.