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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – October 2022

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cahwyguy:
It's that time of the month. Time for highway headlines. Here are the headlines for October, as well as an update on the podcast and the progress on the next round of highway page updates: https://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=16484

As always: Ready, set, discuss.

nexus73:
https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-1/d1-projects/d1-dr-fine-bridge-replacement

No mention of this project showed up on cahighways despite the Caltrans website for this project saying it was starting in Fall 2022.  Does anyone have any information on this bridge project?

Rick

cahwyguy:

--- Quote from: nexus73 on November 02, 2022, 12:33:32 PM ---https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-1/d1-projects/d1-dr-fine-bridge-replacement

No mention of this project showed up on cahighways despite the Caltrans website for this project saying it was starting in Fall 2022.  Does anyone have any information on this bridge project?

Rick

--- End quote ---

Actually, it is discussed on the US 101 page. There just haven't been any real headlines about it. I'm guessing the need for additional funding (see June 2022) delayed the final bid, and thus construction. Here's a paste of the text from cahighways, although it doesn't show strikeouts.

Dr. Fine Bridge Replacement (01-DN-101, PM 35.8/36.5)

Dr. Fine Bridge Replacement (01-DN-101, PM 35.8/36.5)In January 2016, the CTC authorized SHOPP funding in Del Norte County, on Route 101 at Railroad Avenue Overcrossing No. 01-0063, Smith River Overflow Bridge No. 01-0046, Rowdy Creek Bridge № 01-0023; also on Route 199, at Route 199/101 Connector Overcrossing № 01-0058F. Outcome/Output: Install seismic retrofit measures on four bridges to maintain bridge structural integrity. $1,650,000.

In June 2016, the CTC amended a project on US 101 near Crescent City from 0.2 mile north of the Smith River Overflow Bridge. Replace bridge. Completion of environmental studies and consultations with resource and regulatory agencies will take longer than previously anticipated due to the complexities in staging and constructing the new bridge in this sensitive environmental setting in both a coastal zone and over a classified wild and scenic river. Regulatory agencies are asking unexpected questions that require additional efforts to resolve. These items were previously identified in the project risk management plan, but now result in a delay to the project. Right of Way capital and support increases are due to permitting requirements and additional land acquisition for mitigation of wetlands impacts. This will be made a contingency project. These changes add $2,530,000 to the cost of the project and remove $58,848,000 due to contingency conversion, resulting in a net reduction of $56,318,000 to the cost of the program.

In July 2017, it was reported that public comment was beginning on the EIR covering the replacement of the Dr. Fine Bridge over the Smith River in Del Norte County (PM 35.8-36.5). The new bridge will be on the same alignment as the existing bridge, with 8' wide shoulders and a separated 6' pedestrian path on the western side. The EIR is online at www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/dr_fine/.
(Source: Caltrans District 1 FB page, 7/28/2017)

The following project was included in the final adopted 2018 SHOPP in March 2018: PPNO 0100V. 01-Del Norte-101 36.1. Near Crescent City from 0.2 mile north of the Smith River Overflow Bridge. Replace bridge. Begin Con: 12/10/2021. Total Project Cost: $82,390K.

In December 2019, the CTC had on its agenda the following SHOPP amendment: 01-DN-101 36.1 35.8/36.5 PPNO 0100V Proj ID 0100000193 EA 43640. Near Crescent City, from 0.2 mile north of the Smith River Overflow Bridge 0.3 mile south to 0.4 mile north of Smith River (Dr. Ernest M Fine Memorial) Bridge № 01-0020. Replace bridge. Total cost: $82,390 $84,989 due to an increase in R/W costs. Note: Update postmiles and description to reflect more accurate project location. Increase R/W capital due to the need to designate a new staging area, which resulted in additional utility conflicts and mitigation requirements due to impacts to wetlands.
(Source: December 2019 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.1a.(1b) Item 3)

In December 2019, the CTC had the following supplemental allocation on its agenda: an additional $600,000 in Capital Outlay Support (COS), for the Smith River Overflow Bridge Project (01-DN-101 36.1 PPNO 0100V Proj ID 0100000193 EA 43640) on US 101, in Del Norte County, to complete the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED) project phase. This project is located on US 101 near the City of Crescent City, in Del Norte County. The project will replace the Smith River Bridge to improve the safety, connectivity, and reliability of the bridge for hikers, bikers, motorists, commuters, and freight carriers. The bridge will also improve connectivity for two Northwestern California tribes (Tolowa Dee-Ni' Nation and Elk Valley Rancheria). This bridge project is in a high environmental sensitivity area, requiring extensive coordination with Resource Agencies to discuss concerns regarding bridge construction methods and the impact of extensive construction work in the river bed below the bridge. The Smith River is the largest perennial undammed river in California that flows unobstructed with no manmade structures to impede water flow or fish migration for its entire course. As such, the Wild and Scenic Smith River provides year-round critical habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species including the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Little Willow flycatcher, Bald Eagle, Foothill yellow-legged frog, Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Longfin Smelt, Pacific Eulachon, and the freshwater Western Pearl Shell Mussel. (Note: the freshwater Western Pearl Shell Mussel inhabits the south bank of the river directly under the bridge structure. This will require a construction trestle to span the mussel bed). Additionally, the river hosts the most significant Cutthroat Trout population in California with resident and anadromous forms occurring throughout the watershed, and, both the Pacific Harbor Seal and California Sea Lion have been observed at the project site. Additional resources are needed to obtain the required permits before commencing the next project phase, the Plan, Specification & Estimate (PS&E) phase, which will enable the Department to complete the bridge design and prepare all project contracts in time to meet the planned Ready to List (RTL) date of April 21, 2021.
(Source: December 2019 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5e.(1))

In March 2020, the CTC approved the following project for future consideration of funding: US 101 in Del Norte County. Replace bridge on US 101 (01-DN-101, PM 35.8/36.5) in Del Norte County. (PPNO 0100V). This project is located on US 101 in Del Norte County and proposes to replace the existing Dr. Fine Bridge; which would improve the safety, connectivity, and reliability of the bridge for hikers, bikers, travelers, commuters, and freight carriers. The bridge would be replaced with a structure that meets current material, geometric, scour, and seismic design standards. The project is fully funded and currently programmed in the 2018 State Highway Operation Protection Program (SHOPP) for a total of $84,989,000 which includes Construction (capital and support) and Right of Way (capital and support). Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2021-2022. The CTC also approved the following financial allocation: 01-DN-101 PM 35.8/36.5. PPNO 0100V. ProjID 0100000193. EA 43640.  US 101 near Crescent City from 0.3 mile south to 0.4   mile north of Smith River (Dr. Ernest M Fine Memorial) Bridge № 01-0020. Replace bridge. (Concurrent consideration of funding under Resolution E-20-21; March 2020.) (Nine month time extension for PS&E approved under Waiver 19-29; June 2019.) Financial allocation: PS&E $4,200,000.
(Source: March 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.2c.(4), 2.5b.(2b) #1)

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Bridge Preservation item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 01-Del Norte-101 PM 35.8/36.5 PPNO 0100V Proj ID 0100000193 EA 43640. US 101 Near Crescent City from 0.3 mile south to 0.4 mile north of Smith River (Dr. Ernest M Fine Memorial) Bridge № 01-0020. Replace bridge.. Programmed in FY20-21, with construction scheduled to start in Sept. 2021. Total project cost is $107,047K, with $79,005K being capital (const and right of way) and $28,042K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.),
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)


In January 2021, the California Coastal Commission approved (with conditions) January 2021 Application № 1-20-0422 (Caltrans, Del Norte County) to demolish and replace existing two-lane US 101 (Dr. Fine) bridge over Smith River with new two lane bridge with separated pedestrian walkway and construct temporary detour bridge, relocate utility lines, and replace culverts at US 101 crossing of Smith River, Del Norte County. Per the application, Project Location: US 101 at Dr. Fine Bridge, between Lake Earl Drive at post mile (PM) 35.8 and Fred D. Haight Drive at PM 36.5; with associated development on Assessor Parcel Numbers …. Project Description: Demolish and replace the existing two-lane US 101 (Dr. Fine) bridge over the Smith River with a 51-footwide bridge consisting of two 12-foot-wide lanes, two  8-footwide shoulders, and a six-foot-wide separated pedestrian walkway along the western (downriver) side of the bridge. Associated development includes constructing a temporary detour bridge east of the existing bridge to carry traffic while the new bridge is completed along the existing alignment; relocating utility lines; installing temporary stream crossings; replacing/rebuilding culverts; and invasive species removal. The new bridge would feature aesthetic elements designed to be visually compatible with the character of the surrounding area, including fewer piles in the river, a less obtrusive structural design than the current bridge, and see-through bridge railings with a cultural design element created in coordination with the Tolowa Dee‐Ni' Nation and Elk Valley Rancheria tribes.
(Source: California Coast Commission Minutes, January 2021 Item Weds 11.a, Application № 1-20-0422)

In June 2021, the CTC approved the following allocation: $78,032,000. 01-DN-101 35.8/36.5. PPNO 01-0100V; ProjID 0100000193; EA 43640. US 101 Near Crescent City, from 0.3 mile south to 0.4 mile north of Smith River (Dr. Ernest M Fine Memorial) Bridge № 01-0020.   Outcome/Output: Replace bridge along the existing alignment and construct a temporary bridge to be utilized as a detour. (Future consideration of funding approved under Resolution E-20-21; March 2020.) (SB 1 Baseline Agreement approval under Resolution SHOPP-P-1920-09B; June 2020.) (Concurrent amendment under SHOPP Amendment 20H-008; June 2021.) (As part of the allocation request, the Department is requesting to extend CON and CON ENG an additional 18 months beyond the 36 month deadline.). Allocation: CON ENG $11,231,000; CONST $71,476,000 (includes allocation from savings from preliminary engineering phases).
(Source: June 2021 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5b.(1) #1)

In June 2021, the CTC approved the following amendment to the 2020 SHOPP: 01-DN-101 35.8/36.5 PPNO 0100V ProjID 0100000193 EA 01-43640. US 101 Near Crescent City from 0.3 mile south to 0.4 mile north of Smith River (Dr. Ernest M Fine Memorial) Bridge № 01-0020. Replace bridge. Note: Split mitigation projects EA 43641/PPNO 01-1147M and EA 43642/PPNO 01-1148M from parent project EA 43640/PPNO 01-0100V. Con Sup $12,250K $11,231K; Const Cap $72,506K $71,476K; Total  $107,047K $104,998K.
(Source: June 2021 CTC Agenda/Minutes, Agenda Item 2.1a.(1d) #2)

In June 2022, the CTC approved a request for an additional $21,889,000 in Construction Capital for the SHOPP Bridge Rehabilitation project on US 101, in Del Norte County (01-DN-101 35.8/36.5 PPNO 0100V ProjID 0100000193 EA 01-43640), to award the construction contract. This project is located on US 101 near Crescent City, at the Smith River (Doctor Ernest M. Fine Memorial) Bridge (№ 01-0020), in Del Norte County.  The project will replace the existing bridge to improve safety, meet current seismic and design standards, and to improve accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists. In September 2006, the project was programmed for $71,476,000 in Construction Capital in the SHOPP for allocation in Fiscal Year 2020-21. In June 2021, the project was allocated for $64,677,000 in Construction Capital. In December 2021, the project received a 10-month award time extension. Bids were opened in May 2022, and the amount required to award to the lowest bidder exceeded the amount available from project allocated and G-12 funds.  The Department is requesting supplemental funds in the amount of $21,889,000 to award the construction contract. In March 2022, the Department advertised the contract and held bid opening in May 2022. The contract received three bids, of which, the lowest bid is 37.4 percent above the Engineer’s Estimate (EE). The two remaining bids are 43.8 and 69.3 percent over the EE.The project was originally planned to go to construction in October 2021.  There was a delay to the construction schedule due to the addition of seismic instrumentation to the project during the Plans, Specifications, and Estimate phase and the first order of work to clear vegetation prior to the beginning of the migratory bird season.  This would result in significant delays and would not provide enough time to perform preparatory work prior to the first in-water construction season.  The project is limited to three in-water construction seasons by the regulatory agencies. The cost increases on this project are largely attributed to the current state of the economy with supply shortages, inflation, and high fuel prices.  The latest consumer price index report showed inflation at 8.3 percent.  The construction industry has seen price increase closer to 15-20 percent because of labor shortage and per-diem cost, supply chain delays, and the direct impact of fuel price increase.  The Department interviewed all bidders to discuss the discrepancy in item unit costs.  The contractors cited uncertainty of material prices as a major factor impacting the bids for concrete, steel, hot asphalt mix, and labor supply.
(Source: June 2022 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5e.(1))

brad2971:
Judging by the Caltrans AADT of US 101, US 199, and SR 197 in the area, I wonder if at any of these meetings the subject of closing US 101 at the bridge was broached while the new bridge is being constructed. Even with the sensitive environment of the area, it seems to me that US 199 to SR 197 is a perfectly fine detour of the bridge area. Heck, with the 25MPH speed limit proposed, I'll best most of the motorists will use that detour.

nexus73:
Thank you for the news cahighwayguy!  One has to wonder why the bridge was not proposed as a 4-lane affair.  There is a lot of traffic between Crescent City and Brookings.  Gas is cheaper in Oregon plus there is no sales tax in Oregon, which sets up this kind of border traffic deal.  Then add in those who work in Pelican Bay Prison and reside in Oregon.  Brookings has 7 miles of 4-lane expressway going south on 101 while Crescent City has 3 miles of freeway heading north on 101, leaving 20 miles between these two sections with only 2-lane highway and no passing lanes.  It is not a good setup.

Rick

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