In a controversial move last week, San Francisco placed warning signs on buildings that violate San Francisco’s seismic safety laws. The large signs, written in multiple languages and displaying drawings of destroyed buildings, were posted on and around buildings to notify potential occupants that the building’s owners have not retrofitted the structure. While many agree that something must be done to convince building owners to upgrade unsafe structures, some feel that publicly “shaming” the buildings and its owners is not the smartest way to achieve the city’s goal. Berkeley tried something similar to what San Francisco is doing back in 2005. They placed warning signs on at-risk buildings and required owners to send letters to their tenants about the building being in danger if an earthquake hit. Of the 239 buildings targeted by Berkeley, 100 owners voluntarily retrofitted their structures while the city had to pass a law to get the other 139 buildings retrofitted. San Francisco is going further than any other California city has in the past to notify the public by placing larger signs on more buildings.
The creators of the Bay Bridge’s “Bay Lights” have until the end of the year to raise $4 million to keep their changing light display from coming to an end. The Bay Lights have been around since March of 2013 and are operating on a two-year permit. The system was privately funded and cost $8 million to install. They are made up of 25,000 LED lights that are attached to 300 cables on one side of the bridge’s western span. Artist Leo Villareal programmed the lights to constantly change patterns from dusk until dawn each night.
According to the latest projections, the new Bay Bridge eastern span will be completed $35 million over budget. Caltrans is shifting funds from other bride projects from around the state to make up the deficit. The new Bay Bridge eastern span connecting San Francisco and Oakland, California opened in September of last year. Caltrans has been optimistic throughout the duration of the project that the completed bridge would cost less than the $6.4 billion price tag. That figure includes $900 million for cost over runs and contingencies. However, it is estimated that there is still $110 million of unfinished work left to complete the eastern span and Caltrans expects their original estimate of $100 million to tear down the old span to be lower than the actual cost. Taking into account the remaining work that needs to be done as well as cost overruns, Caltrans expects to have a $35 million deficit when the bridge is completed.
Six years after California voters approved a $9.9 billion bond act to help finance a high-speed rail line between that eventually will carry riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles. California Governor Jerry Brown and other officials led a ceremony in downtown Fresno on Tuesday to mark the start of construction for the project. Instead of picking up shovels and scooping a pile of dirt like many groundbreaking ceremonies, the Governor instead decided to sign a ceremonial steel rail. Although the ceremonial start to construction took place on Tuesday, major construction is still likely weeks away. According to High-Speed Rail Authority board chairman Dan Richard, “We are entering a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system for the next five years in the Central Valley, and in the decade beyond that, we will be building across California.” The first segment will cost $6 billion and be completed in 2018. It will connect Merced to Bakersfield.
The first phase of the demolition process of the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been completed. The project, with a final cost $63.7 million, started in November 2013 and finished the current month.
Elon Musk, frustrated by LA’s heavy traffic, has proposed to create tunnels for an underground transportation system. And his newly established Boring Company, is exploring ways to cut down tunneling costs, in order to make his plan feasible.