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Author Topic: CA 99  (Read 13030 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #125 on: January 16, 2020, 09:52:14 PM »

I think 30 or so years from now California could be a very different place if the state doesn't start waking up to some dysfunctional realities that could screw its real estate industry and overall economy for a really long time. Young, American-born residents are leaving the state in droves due to the insane living costs. Combine that with America's current anti-immigrant, borderline nationalist vibe. That sours potential foreign buyers from wanting to snap up over-priced real estate properties along the coast when the American owners are getting really old and wanting to cash out. There's going to be a lot of people who paid huge for their homes and possibly very few people wanting to buy. Lots of other big urban markets around the US are headed in this direction.

Anyway, the elites in California just need to enjoy that bubble economy while it lasts.

30 years from now CA-99 will be a fully Interstate-class facility, whether it carries an Interstate designation or not. It probably won't. At the same time the town fathers along or near the coast who blocked various US-101 upgrades in the past could be crying out for them in earnest as a means of trying to spur local economic development.

Ironically almost none of those urban housing issues are present along the corridor of 99.  99 is mostly in agricultural centric area, the cost of living and mode of life is almost completely opposite to the big cities.  Home prices around places like Fresno and Bakersfield are very reasonable compared to the rest of the state.  Right now 99 is on track to be fully modernized sooner rather than later.  If the project south of 198 can get funded again that will be a huge boost the viability of the Golden State Freeway through Tulare County. 
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sparker

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #126 on: January 17, 2020, 05:10:00 AM »

I think 30 or so years from now California could be a very different place if the state doesn't start waking up to some dysfunctional realities that could screw its real estate industry and overall economy for a really long time. Young, American-born residents are leaving the state in droves due to the insane living costs. Combine that with America's current anti-immigrant, borderline nationalist vibe. That sours potential foreign buyers from wanting to snap up over-priced real estate properties along the coast when the American owners are getting really old and wanting to cash out. There's going to be a lot of people who paid huge for their homes and possibly very few people wanting to buy. Lots of other big urban markets around the US are headed in this direction.

Anyway, the elites in California just need to enjoy that bubble economy while it lasts.

30 years from now CA-99 will be a fully Interstate-class facility, whether it carries an Interstate designation or not. It probably won't. At the same time the town fathers along or near the coast who blocked various US-101 upgrades in the past could be crying out for them in earnest as a means of trying to spur local economic development.

Ironically almost none of those urban housing issues are present along the corridor of 99.  99 is mostly in agricultural centric area, the cost of living and mode of life is almost completely opposite to the big cities.  Home prices around places like Fresno and Bakersfield are very reasonable compared to the rest of the state.  Right now 99 is on track to be fully modernized sooner rather than later.  If the project south of 198 can get funded again that will be a huge boost the viability of the Golden State Freeway through Tulare County. 

The issue with the section of CA 99 in Tulare County (essentially from the north end of Delano to the Kings River) are the absolutely huge number of substandard (read low -- 15'6" and under) overcrossings.  Even the widening project from Goshen up to the Kings River didn't tackle the low overpasses; they just widened the carriageways beneath them.   Just traveling on 99 in the south part of the county through the small towns of Tipton, Earlimart, and Pixley is a blast from the past -- most of the structures date from 1963 or earlier, when even Interstate standards allowed clearances less than 15 feet.  Many of these overpasses have gashes or chunks broken off by overheight trucks passing under them -- trailers can and do "bounce" anywhere up to a couple of feet over their stated height, particularly on aging jointed concrete pavement.    The latter issue (old/uneven pavement) has seen quite a few "spot" repair projects including asphalt "capping" -- but with breaks under the bridges so as not to exacerbate the clearance problems.  Of course there are solutions -- raising the bridges, scooping out/lowering the pavement underneath them, or simply reconstructing the overcrossing to present standards.  The latter is cited in the CA 99 "master plan" as Caltrans' preferred methodology -- although like with most recent plans of this type, it doesn't include dedicated funds to accomplish this; it's dependent upon either multi-year STIP programmed outlays or the use of maintenance funds to effect sporadic fixes. 

But an additional issue with the Tulare County 99 segment is that it features the lowest overall traffic volume of the entire corridor; considerably lower than from the Fresno area north, which functions as an agricultural-product "conveyor belt" to the food processors in the Bay Area and Stockton-Sacramento.   That section has gotten considerably more attention re upgrades/expansion than the portion to the south -- most probably because it featured the last expressway segments of the whole Valley corridor -- the section south of Fresno was full freeway by the late '60's -- albeit not to current standards -- so it was viewed as a fait accompli by both DOH/Caltrans and the general driving public.  It wasn't until the massive traffic increases on the corridor by the '80's corresponding to the rapid growth of Bakersfield, Fresno, and the Modesto area coupled with increased regional agricultural output that pressure to make the corridor more efficient was felt.  But the priority was to eliminate the grade crossings rampant north of Fresno; the already-completed freeway south of CA 198 was relegated to secondary consideration.   And as of 2017, the entire corridor -- Wheeler Ridge to Sacramento -- is full freeway, regardless of age or standards. 

And Max is completely correct -- if the housing prices along 99 lag behind the coastal regions, that will prompt even further development up and down the corridor -- little towns like Ripon and Salida are becoming favored exurban developmental areas as overflow from Manteca and Lathrop, themselves overflow from Tracy.   CA "sprawl" tends to follow perceived property bargains, even if many of those come with outsized costs in terms of commute time and money.  So, to date, most of the "action" involved in fulfilling the CA 99 "master plan" has been directed to the north part of the corridor due to the aggregate pressure emanating from the increased regional housing supply.   For better or worse, the southern portion has received, in relative terms, the funding "scraps" as a result.       
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #127 on: January 17, 2020, 01:44:03 PM »

Regarding Tulare County there are also some really vintage right-on/right-off ramps that are pure 1950s.  Most of the existing overpasses south of 198 to Delano seem to have time stamps from 1956-1958 on them.  There is at least one left hand on-ramp that I can think off the top of my head near Tulare which can sneak up on you if youre trying to pass a truck.  As much as Tulare County segment or 99 is a blast from the past it can be barely adequate if the truckers and a slow left lane driver are present.  The other segment that has similar problems is north of Merced, but that one is already being improved due to the priority Bay Area sprawl has brought. 
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sparker

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #128 on: January 17, 2020, 06:07:10 PM »

Regarding Tulare County there are also some really vintage right-on/right-off ramps that are pure 1950s.  Most of the existing overpasses south of 198 to Delano seem to have time stamps from 1956-1958 on them.  There is at least one left hand on-ramp that I can think off the top of my head near Tulare which can sneak up on you if youre trying to pass a truck.  As much as Tulare County segment or 99 is a blast from the past it can be barely adequate if the truckers and a slow left lane driver are present.  The other segment that has similar problems is north of Merced, but that one is already being improved due to the priority Bay Area sprawl has brought. 

Addressing the Bay sprawl has certainly prompted several upgrade projects; Manteca-Stockton was completed last year, with spot improvements north all the way into Elk Grove including reconfiguring a number of interchanges in Galt and the replacement of the low-clearance (14'5"!) RR underpass near Grant Line Road.  However, much of the CA 99 segment north of Stockton still features an array of lower-clearance overpasses markedly similar to the Tulare County stretch; AFAIK there are no pending projects to remedy this.  Right now Bay Area overflow/"affordable" housing extends to the north end of Stockton; north of there much of the land is too valuable as farms and/or vineyards to be converted to housing tracts.  So the south-of-Sacramento development essentially ends at the Consumnes River floodplain; south from there to Stockton still hasn't experienced the level of development seen in Elk Grove, Manteca, and Lathrop.   It's probably not a coincidence that the segment of CA 99 passing through that less developed area has only seen "as needed" improvements; it just hasn't been prioritized like the sections serving Bay overflow.  Sort of a "mini-Tulare" situation;  most of those 15' or so overpasses will probably remain the same for quite some time.     
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dbz77

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #129 on: January 17, 2020, 09:41:57 PM »


In Texas, US-59 / US-77 between Houston and Refugio, 118 miles long, mix of non-limited-access and limited-access bypass segments, constant 75 mph speed limit, no traffic signals. Once bypasses are constructed of Odem and Refugio, this would be extended another 36 miles southwest towards I-37 connecting to Corpus Christi.
Highway 41 between Lemoore and Fresno is a fun drive (though there are traffic signals every few miles or so).

I do notice rural expressways have very wide medians, which makes it easier to convert to full freeway if traffic gets heavier. Clark County 215 in Nevada is another exampled (The section in western Las Vegas was built as an expressway first, and the freeway was built in the median as funding became available.)
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sparker

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #130 on: January 18, 2020, 02:14:50 AM »

Highway 41 between Lemoore and Fresno is a fun drive (though there are traffic signals every few miles or so).

I do notice rural expressways have very wide medians, which makes it easier to convert to full freeway if traffic gets heavier. Clark County 215 in Nevada is another exampled (The section in western Las Vegas was built as an expressway first, and the freeway was built in the median as funding became available.)

The term "expressway" is pretty fluid in CA; many "named" expressways, particularly here in the San Jose area, have plenty of traffic signals.   Rural expressways such as CA 41 south of Fresno generally only feature signals at major crossing arterials (including state highways, of course) or connectors to adjoining towns.  And aside from the generous medians, many frontage roads flare out at intersections in order to be able to accommodate diamond ramps when and if interchanges are built in the future.  The CC215 example (widely spaced directional "frontage" roads with room in between to accommodate eventual freeway lanes) was pioneered in Texas several decades ago; a current example of a "work in progress" in that state that is following that motif is I-69C along US 281; it's very gradually being upgraded to a full freeway using that very method. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #131 on: January 18, 2020, 10:29:32 AM »

Highway 41 between Lemoore and Fresno is a fun drive (though there are traffic signals every few miles or so).

I do notice rural expressways have very wide medians, which makes it easier to convert to full freeway if traffic gets heavier. Clark County 215 in Nevada is another exampled (The section in western Las Vegas was built as an expressway first, and the freeway was built in the median as funding became available.)

The term "expressway" is pretty fluid in CA; many "named" expressways, particularly here in the San Jose area, have plenty of traffic signals.   Rural expressways such as CA 41 south of Fresno generally only feature signals at major crossing arterials (including state highways, of course) or connectors to adjoining towns.  And aside from the generous medians, many frontage roads flare out at intersections in order to be able to accommodate diamond ramps when and if interchanges are built in the future.  The CC215 example (widely spaced directional "frontage" roads with room in between to accommodate eventual freeway lanes) was pioneered in Texas several decades ago; a current example of a "work in progress" in that state that is following that motif is I-69C along US 281; it's very gradually being upgraded to a full freeway using that very method.

And CA 41 has one of the infamous two-lane expressway segments from Elkhorn Avenue south to Excelsior Avenue where it opens back up to four lanes.  Id argue CA 41 south of Lemoore to CA 46 also falls under that vague definition of a two-lane expressway.  It would be nice on 41 if a couple of those traffic signals between South Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue went away given how long they can be.  Most traffic can cross just fine without signals, it seems the lights are placed where there is a commercial trucking interest. 
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sprjus4

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #132 on: January 18, 2020, 12:07:20 PM »

Highway 41 between Lemoore and Fresno is a fun drive (though there are traffic signals every few miles or so).

I do notice rural expressways have very wide medians, which makes it easier to convert to full freeway if traffic gets heavier. Clark County 215 in Nevada is another exampled (The section in western Las Vegas was built as an expressway first, and the freeway was built in the median as funding became available.)

The term "expressway" is pretty fluid in CA; many "named" expressways, particularly here in the San Jose area, have plenty of traffic signals.   Rural expressways such as CA 41 south of Fresno generally only feature signals at major crossing arterials (including state highways, of course) or connectors to adjoining towns.  And aside from the generous medians, many frontage roads flare out at intersections in order to be able to accommodate diamond ramps when and if interchanges are built in the future.  The CC215 example (widely spaced directional "frontage" roads with room in between to accommodate eventual freeway lanes) was pioneered in Texas several decades ago; a current example of a "work in progress" in that state that is following that motif is I-69C along US 281; it's very gradually being upgraded to a full freeway using that very method.

And CA 41 has one of the infamous two-lane expressway segments from Elkhorn Avenue south to Excelsior Avenue where it opens back up to four lanes.  Id argue CA 41 south of Lemoore to CA 46 also falls under that vague definition of a two-lane expressway.  It would be nice on 41 if a couple of those traffic signals between South Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue went away given how long they can be.  Most traffic can cross just fine without signals, it seems the lights are placed where there is a commercial trucking interest.
The segment from Elkhorn Ave northwards could reasonably be upgraded to freeway standards... the roadway is already limited access and many of the cross roads have traffic signals. Replace those with interchanges, and overpasses for minor connections.

The remaining 2-lane segment is also on limited-access right of way, and needs to be dualized to provide a consistent 4 lane section as well, either expressway (cross roads, no signals) or freeway.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #133 on: January 18, 2020, 11:33:40 PM »

Highway 41 between Lemoore and Fresno is a fun drive (though there are traffic signals every few miles or so).

I do notice rural expressways have very wide medians, which makes it easier to convert to full freeway if traffic gets heavier. Clark County 215 in Nevada is another exampled (The section in western Las Vegas was built as an expressway first, and the freeway was built in the median as funding became available.)

The term "expressway" is pretty fluid in CA; many "named" expressways, particularly here in the San Jose area, have plenty of traffic signals.   Rural expressways such as CA 41 south of Fresno generally only feature signals at major crossing arterials (including state highways, of course) or connectors to adjoining towns.  And aside from the generous medians, many frontage roads flare out at intersections in order to be able to accommodate diamond ramps when and if interchanges are built in the future.  The CC215 example (widely spaced directional "frontage" roads with room in between to accommodate eventual freeway lanes) was pioneered in Texas several decades ago; a current example of a "work in progress" in that state that is following that motif is I-69C along US 281; it's very gradually being upgraded to a full freeway using that very method.

And CA 41 has one of the infamous two-lane expressway segments from Elkhorn Avenue south to Excelsior Avenue where it opens back up to four lanes.  Id argue CA 41 south of Lemoore to CA 46 also falls under that vague definition of a two-lane expressway.  It would be nice on 41 if a couple of those traffic signals between South Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue went away given how long they can be.  Most traffic can cross just fine without signals, it seems the lights are placed where there is a commercial trucking interest.
The segment from Elkhorn Ave northwards could reasonably be upgraded to freeway standards... the roadway is already limited access and many of the cross roads have traffic signals. Replace those with interchanges, and overpasses for minor connections.

The remaining 2-lane segment is also on limited-access right of way, and needs to be dualized to provide a consistent 4 lane section as well, either expressway (cross roads, no signals) or freeway.

The problem north of Elkhorn is that the traffic volume likely isn't high enough to justify interchanges until maybe Adams Avenue.  With the 2-lane segment south of Elkhorn the main issue is any expressway expansion is going to consume what is left of the community of Camden.  Considering that traffic volume is kind of way too highway for a 2-lane segment with heavy CHP enforcement I kind of find it surprising that it hasn't been a priority for District 6.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #134 on: January 18, 2020, 11:38:35 PM »

With the Avenue 7 overpass being closed due to HSR construction there is presently a good opportunity to view the original alignment of US 99 from the overpass.  Even the pre-1928 alignment through Herndon can be seen east of UP tracks behind the power line in the first photos.  The first photo is looking south from Avenue 7, the second is looking north, and the third is a map a drew showing the pre-1928 alignment of US 99 through Herndon:

IMG_0023 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_0029 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Herndon by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr
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mrsman

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #135 on: January 19, 2020, 08:37:39 AM »

About how wide would you estimate the pavement those original 99 corridors in the above photos?  (To me, it seems about 15 feet)

It seems to me that it isn't wide enough for two cars to comfortably pass each other, so likely if two cars are approaching head-on, both cars would be expected to drive half in the dirt so that they could both pass.

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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #136 on: January 19, 2020, 09:05:58 AM »

About how wide would you estimate the pavement those original 99 corridors in the above photos?  (To me, it seems about 15 feet)

It seems to me that it isn't wide enough for two cars to comfortably pass each other, so likely if two cars are approaching head-on, both cars would be expected to drive half in the dirt so that they could both pass.

The Herndon Bridge was a single lane but those concrete slabs are about 20 feet wide.  That segment at the overpass would have still been in service until 99 was widened to four lanes.  You can see there probably was some asphalt top layering over the years. 
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kkt

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Re: CA 99
« Reply #137 on: January 20, 2020, 12:39:02 AM »

10 foot wide lanes were standard and considered sufficient even for major highways until the mid 1950s.  Cars and especially trucks were smaller then.
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