County highways get $19M in upgrades

SB 1 funds to widen bridges on Highways 201 and 216, repair and replace vehicle detection sensors on Hwy 198


FRESNO — Tulare County highways will be getting about $19 million in upgrades in the next year. 

On Aug. 20, Caltrans announced projects to improve highways 201, 216 and 198 were approved by the California Transportation Commission (CTC). The bulk of the money, $18.4 million, will go toward the “Tulare 201 and 216 Bridge Widening and Rail Replacement Project” which will widen bridges on State Route 201 at the Sand Creek Bridge southwest of Orosi, Calif. and Friant-Kern Canal Bridge northwest of Elderwood, Calif. and on State Route 216 at the Kaweah River Bridge east of Lemon Cove, Calif. All three bridges are to be widened to provide 12-foot wide lanes and 8-foot wide shoulders. The existing bridge railings at all three bridges will be removed and replaced.

Highway 198 will receive a small portion of the $61 million earmarked for the “Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera & Tulare TMS Project.” In all, the project will upgrade 76 existing detection stations along Interstate 5 and State Routes 41, 46, 168, 180 and 198. The work will repair and replace vehicle detection systems, replace ramp metering systems, and install, repair, replace or upgrade necessary electrical items associated with the Transportation Management System (TMS) elements.

These projects are part of the State Highway Operations and Protection Program (SHOPP), which is the state highway system’s “fix-it-first” program that funds safety improvements, emergency repairs, highway preservation and some operational highway improvements. While funding for this program is a mixture of federal and state funds, a significant portion comes from the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account created by SB 1. Titled the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, the law increased the tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon and diesel by 20 cents as well as increasing vehicle license fees for cars based on their value.

Caltrans will focus on repairing and rehabilitating the state highway system by improving pavement, bridges, culverts and intelligent transportation systems, which are included in the performance requirements of SB 1.

“These projects are a just a small portion of the key improvements we need to maintain California’s critical transportation infrastructure,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. “Throughout the state, projects like these are being completed through SB 1 investments.”

The CTC also approved more than $1.3 billion in funding toward nearly 150 transportation projects for additional maintenance, improvements and construction throughout California.

Other projects include ones from the SB 1-created Solutions for Congested Corridor, Trade Corridor Enhancement and Local Partnership Programs. These vital programs tackle congestion, support valuable trade corridors and bolster local agency efforts to invest in transportation. Furthermore, the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, which funds projects to modernize transit systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve safety, was allocated more than $122 million in SB 1 dollars for 11 rail and transit projects.

Other projects receiving funding in the Caltrans District 6 include:

  • Kern 5 Lost Hills Rubber Rehabilitation Pavement Project: $25.1 million pavement preservation project that will improve 21 lane miles of Interstate 5 from south of Twisselman Road Overcrossing to the Kern/Kings County Line.
  • Fresno 198 Culvert Rehabilitation Project: $25 million drainage project will repair and replace culverts along State Route 198 at various locations from the Monterey/Fresno County line to the Fresno/Kings County line.
  • Fresno 168 Draining & Paving Preservation CAPM Project: $25.6 million drainage and pavement preservation project will repair culverts and improve 40.2 lane miles of State Route 168 from west of Auberry Road to Kaiser Pass Road in Fresno County.
  • Kings 43 CAPM Pavement Project: $6.9 million pavement preservation project will improve 6.4 lane miles of State Route 43 from the Tulare/Kings County line to west of Santa Fe Avenue in the city of Corcoran in Kings County.

In all, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved funding for more than 100 transportation projects funded entirely or at least partly by $690 million from SB 1. 

The landmark transportation infrastructure bill signed by Governor Brown in April 2017, invests $54 billion over the next decade to fix roads, freeways and bridges in communities across California and puts more dollars toward transit and safety. These funds will be split equally between state and local investments.

Caltrans is committed to conducting its business in a fully transparent manner and detailing its progress to the public. For complete details on SB 1, visit .

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