A Bridge to Somewhere

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 12.03.09 PM

Spearheaded by Caltrans and MCM Construction as part of a unique design-build project, the construction of a maximum 58-foot high, single-lane connector bridge over the I-10/I-605 interchange in the San Gabriel Valley is speeding ahead.  The connector will improve motorists’ transition from the southbound San Gabriel River I-605 Freeway to the eastbound San Bernardino I-10 Freeway. This resulting gain for motorists will be improved traffic flow, reduced commuter delays due to merging traffic, and the improved movement of goods throughout the region.

Progress to Date: Construction started in earnest in the fall of 2013, with building of retaining walls and ground clearing for the connector. By late fall 2013, a westbound I-10 new connector ramp was completed and 8 columns, each 7 feet in diameter, were erected in preparation for bridge construction. This past winter and spring saw the installation of steel and wood false-work and formwork in preparation for the construction of the cast-in-place concrete bridge.

Next Steps: Bridge building will continue through the summer and fall of 2014.

Currently, new columns and bridge foundations are being constructed at the Frazier off-ramp area along Eastbound I-10; this foundation construction will continue through summer 2014. The relocation of critical utility lines will begin soon just south of I-10 in the City of Baldwin Park to make room for the extension of this south-east connector structure.

Interesting Facts:

• The Connector is approximately 4,000 feet long, or the length of 5 bridges which are each typically 800 feet long

• During peak hours, up to 4,000 vehicles ph use the interchange’s connecting lanes

• Electrical transmission towers which had crossed over the I-10 provide Southland Communities with critical power had to be raised; poles to suspend electrical conductors are now nearly 200 feet high in order to clear the bridge

The Connector construction’s high visibility in the region has resulted in some very positive feedback from the area’s constituents, including a feature article in 3 daily newspapers praising the project.  Additionally, a dedicated Facebook page, (www.facebook.com/10605directconnector), with 2,500 followers, provides up-to-date with photos of construction, advance closure alerts, and responses to individual questions.

The good news for area motorists is that all lane closures for the project have taken place overnight to allow drivers safe and easy passage during peak traffic hours.

When finished in fall 2015, the Direct Connector will boast a 30-foot-wide single lane connector with a 5-foot left shoulder and a 10-foot right shoulder.

The Design-Build concept allows for improved coordination between the Designer / Contractor and the State Department of Transportation, setting up better constructability, higher efficiency, and earlier completion.

We ask those driving in the area to please be patient

and to slow for the cone zone!

Exorcising Demons

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.39.36 AMThe “Fagots Stay Out!” sign was long gone, but the bad taste lingered. West Hollywood’s legendary rock hangout, Barney’s Beanery, had great buzz, but a lot of negative press based on their homophobic past. People said: “I would never step foot in that homophobic place!” and “You need to deal with your problem!”  So we did. The solution: Exorcise the demons.  We arranged for the new owner David Houston to sit down, in an event attended by the press, with the Reverend Troy Perry, a well-known gay rights leader who had led public protests at Barney’s during the 70s.

At these protests in the 1970s, Perry and many other gay activists picketed outside of the restaurant and halted business, demanding that the “Fagots Stay Out!” sign be taken down. Perry vowed he would never step foot in Barney’s again, unless it was to hear an apology.

When Perry entered Barney’s Beanery for the first time in 34 years, Houston, who had purchased the bar in 1999, had an apology prepared. “I’m sorry that it ever happened,” Houston told Perry. “I’m sorry if this name is associated with any sort of pain in the community. I hope everyone will be as open-minded as the reverend to understand that times can change and business can change hands and a young person can come in and strike a new tone and can be forgiven.”

Perry explained the amount of hurt that had lingered since Anthony Barney made anti-gay sentiments in Life magazine. Houston responded by saying that everyone is welcome now and there is a new sheriff in town with a different attitude.

“I thank you for being open-minded enough and be willing to come and hear from me that the past is the past and it’s a new era. I’m a new owner and that kind of prejudice and intolerance has no place in any American business and certainly not in Barney’s. We hope to exclude no one and cater to anyone who has an appreciation for fattening food, good chili, beer and loud rock and roll music,” said Houston.

Barney’s outreach campaign continues to make amends with the LGBT community with events like hosting homeless youth from the Gay & Lesbian Center for monthly lunches. This past decade has seen the successful opening of 5 replicas of the famous rowdy roadhouse at  5 high-end Southern California locations.

*Quotes from IN LA Magazine

ObamaCare – The KISS Effect (keep it simple, stupid)

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.36.13 AMWith big changes in healthcare and the new federal   requirement to get insurance or get fined, software client PointCare created a portable, tech-savvy 5- question eligibility quiz as the first step for Californians to get signed up for coverage.

Working with Pasadena-based ChapCare, a nonprofit health care provider in the San Gabriel Valley, a team of enrollment specialists, armed with PointCare loaded laptops and portable printers, signed up hundreds of local residents in coverage programs during the months leading up to the April 15 deadline.

To get the message out, Haese & Wood arranged for the PointCare tablet to appear in ABC Eyewitness News, CBS Evening News, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and many other regional and national media outlets. The 90-second quiz, which allows people to quickly see what coverage options they are eligible for, has been taken by more than a half-million people to date.