It’s not every day that we get to modernize and upgrade a route with such a rich and significant history in our region’s development. The Norwegian Grade was built by hand over a 10-year period (around the harvest seasons) by Norwegian settlers to provide a less treacherous way of transporting their goods from the Conejo Valley to the Port of Hueneme. Fast forward to 2010 and the paved, two-lane highway had deteriorated to a patchwork of rough road with little guardrail to protect the 6,000 daily motorists and bicyclists from the steep drop-offs.
The City of Thousand Oaks secured a Federal highway safety grant for a portion of the project, and enlisted the full range of our Camarillo office’s services to design and manage the project—start to finish. This included survey, civil engineering, construction management, and inspecting 1.3 miles of rural hillside roadway. From superelevation analysis and retrofit, failing hillside stabilization, and drainage improvements, to guardrail and roadside safety enhancements, and signing and striping per Caltrans standards, we did it all. Our design minimized impacts to existing vegetation and topography by reusing the existing structural section as base course process, reusing onsite milled asphalt with soil cement to stabilize hillside fill, and implementing an alignment shift.
This award-winning project improved the heavily-traveled roadway’s safety and condition and—with regular maintenance—this popular route will witness at least another 100 years of travelers and history.