Clean California adds excitement to the interstate in Orlando

November 30 – Caltrans recently began a unique city-gateway project in Orland, which is known as the “Queen Bee Capital of North America,” to highlight the city’s rich heritage and further California project efforts Clean within District 3.

Caltrans officials said the centerpiece of the $2.7 million project at the junction of Interstate 5 and State Route 32 will be two bee sculptures created by Orland artist Jake Midgley that will stand about 16 feet tall on opposite sides of the crossing and will be complemented by unique honeycomb-shaped pavement. The contract was awarded to Vanguard Construction of Livermore.

The project is made possible by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a large, multi-year, $1.2 billion cleanup effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and join communities across the state to reclaim, transform and beautify public spaces, according to officials.

“Public art and public transportation are a powerful and natural combination, one that Orland’s new queen bee-themed gateway to the city will beautifully showcase for many years to come,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

This project, which is the second Clean California project to begin construction within District 3, will also improve the interchange where 2,500 vehicles travel each day.

“Increased security measures will include additional paving and new landscaping with inert material such as rock, gravel and recycled glass,” Caltrans officials said.

Many Clean California projects across the state will include public art and other design aesthetics. Among its many positive attributes, art in public spaces has been shown to benefit communities by reducing illegal dumping and graffiti, according to officials.

“The City of Orland is pleased and proud to partner with Caltrans to beautify the freeway interchange at Exit 619 in Orland,” said Orland City Manager Peter Carr. “The unique honey bee sculptures, made locally hand-crafted, and honeycomb-stamped concrete will announce to motorists that they have arrived in the Queen Bee Capital of North America, become an enduring asset of local esteem, and instill public pride on the state highway. Using the talents of a local welder-artist and state contractors, this project benefits the community and the traveling public with an enhanced freeway interchange experience.”

Caltrans District 3 Director Amarjeet S. Benipal said the feedback Caltrans received from the city during the planning stages of the project and from the public during the community meeting held in January was extremely valuable.

“Caltrans fully appreciates the effort the City of Orlando has put into gathering public input for this project,” he said. “This engagement provided us with important information to improve the safety and aesthetics of this gateway to the City of Orland. The two locally designed bee sculptures and honeycomb paving included in the project will make clear the unique identity of the city as Queen Bee Capital of North America.”

According to Caltrans officials, this project is among Clean California’s 126 $312 million beautification projects designed to help energize communities and create connectivity along the state highway system.

“There are an additional 105 projects across the state funded by nearly $300 million in local Clean California grants to remove trash and transform public spaces in underserved communities,” officials said. “Collectively, these projects are expected to create 7,200 jobs. The new state budget includes $100 million to fund another round of Clean California local grant projects.”

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans has removed more than 1.1 million cubic yards of trash from state highways, the equivalent of nearly 19,000 tons or enough to fill 344 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and has hired more More than 800 new team members as part of Clean California, including 420 maintenance workers who pick up trash and remove graffiti.

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