With the help of Davey Resource Group, Inc.’s (DRG) analysis to systematically pinpoint priority highways, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been making strides to improve the safety and reliability of emergency routes.
In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency throughout California to help prepare for the coming fire season. This resulted in his administration working to promote the completion of forest management projects to increase reliability and enhance safety. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) took the initiative to prioritize their highways for vegetation management, boosting their efficiency in these efforts.
Caltrans approached Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) to see whether they could provide priority mapping, and DRG was able to deliver the necessary aid. The main objective of priority mapping is to proactively take steps to ensure people safe egress during fires. To support this, DRG utilized 21 different criteria to run an analysis to determine the highways and sections to prioritize for vegetation management. The distance from low-income communities was one such factor, as protecting vulnerable groups is a vital part of increasing the safety of communities.
DRG’s GIS team also gathered shape files and geospatial information files from the public records to glean data on the property owners of priority areas. A unique aspect of this program is that every type of landowner, from federal to tribal, is involved, necessitating a lot of data and networking to approach them about performing mandatory work on their properties.
Supporting Caltrans in the process of navigating California’s regulatory landscape is an important part of this project for DRG. The team goes throughout the state and holds meetings regarding the continuation of emergency road maintenance efforts. They also attend inter-agency meetings to discuss dividing the work.
Caltrans’ project is ongoing. It serves as an important part of the larger effort to mitigate tree-related outages and implement action plans to prevent damage due to devastating wildfires. DRG maintains excellent rapport with Caltrans, and they continue to provide invaluable analytical support for this initiative.
*Work depicted in the photo above was performed by non-Davey contractor using applicable traffic control.