102 SB 1 projects begun during the last fiscal year are complete.

In case you haven’t noticed, although I’m pretty sure you have, highway work funded by SB 1 is popping up all over.

As of March, Caltrans had put up 108 of the ubiquitous SB 1 signs announcing that the road work slowing down commuters was under way thanks to the “tax dollars at work” from the measure that was so strongly supported by our members.

Speaking of the signs – Caltrans says each one costs $700 and is a bid item on each project, and they’re asking contractors to help them “recycle” the signage, either by taking it with them to their next project or by returning it to the district office.

You’d think that’s kind of silly until you find out how many projects are “in the works” according to the Caltrans’ media team – 469 x $700 = $328,300 just for signs if you need a new one each time a job leaves the bidding cycle – and that’s just for this year.

As most of our members know, the work let so far has been of the pavement renewal variety, which was the plan laid down by former Governor Jerry Brown whose five-year plan was based around maintenance and rehab, not new construction.

It will be different when the “congestion relief” from SB 1 work starts coming out. There was a big groundbreaking ceremony June 6 marking the launch of a $581 million, 6.5-mile project that will add a lane of traffic in each direction to the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 5) in south Orange County. The project is aimed at easing congestion between Corona Del Mar Freeway (73) and El Toro Road. Most of the project’s funding will come from the O.C. Measure M (which SCCA also supported), with additional funding coming from SB 1 and federal highway fund money.

Caltrans also reports that 102 SB 1 projects, begun during the last fiscal year, are complete. Another 70 are in construction right now, which means around 400 more to be award this fiscal year. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) released 100 in June, with more to come.

All of this is good news. The other side of the coin is that our members are getting stretched for qualified workers. The good news there is that we have completed the negotiations with Operating Engineers Local 12 and there will be no unanticipated work stoppages in southern California. Yes, labor will cost more, but as it says in the Good Book, the rain falls on everyone, and in this case, so does prevailing wage.

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