Under terms of
the California Public Records Act, I hereby request access to (under
§6253(a)) and copies of (under §6256 and §6257) the records described
herein. Please contact me to set up a convenient time and place to give
me access to the requested records. Please respond to this request in
writing within ten days, as required by §6256 of the PRA.
I request that
you give me access to and provide me copies of records described within
any subsection of this request as soon as this can be done, without
waiting to complete the collection of records requested in any other
subsection of this request. I further request that you give me access to
and provide me copies of records described within any subsection of this
request for the years 1998 to present as soon as this can be done, without
waiting to complete the collection of records requested for earlier years.
Public Information Act Request Items
For the period January 1, 1990 to the present, all records (as
defined in the Public Records Act[i]
and its legal interpretation, which includes e-mails) produced by anyone
within Caltrans for either internal or external use or received by
Caltrans from outside of Caltrans that pertain to any aspect of the
identification, evaluation, modification, approval, or disapproval for use
in California of any version of the “Wyoming Rail.”
The Wyoming Rail was developed by the Wyoming Department of Transportation
in two versions, an original version now rated at TL‑3 under testing
procedures of NCHRP Report 350, and a more recent version rated at TL‑4.
Include all records that pertain to either of these versions.
Include communications between Caltrans and all contractors and
consultants that are within the scope of the request.
This request specifically includes but is not limited to records
related to the decision of Caltrans to reject the Wyoming Rail for use in
California, as referenced in a letter from Tony Anziano to the California
Coastal Commission, dated July 14, 1999.[ii]
This request specifically includes but is not limited to records
related to modifications made to the TL-4 Wyoming Rail by the Engineering
Service Center to create a version for inclusion in the scenic railing
alternatives now being by Caltrans to the Coastal Commission.
All records related to the decision to approve a new railing
design for use on State Route 89 in Emerald Bay on the southwestern shore
of Lake Tahoe, as described in “Flexibility in Highway Design.”[iii]
All records related to negotiations between Caltrans and the Tahoe
Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) over the design and construction of the
Emerald Bay section of Route 89, as described in “Flexibility in Highway
Include records received from TRPA, those sent to TRPA, and internal
All records from Caltrans to the Coastal Commission from June 1999
to the present related to alternative scenic railings, including
specifically all drawings, pictures, and other graphic presentation
materials in all forms, including digital images, videos, CDs, and
For the period January 1, 1997 to the present, all records related
to the identification and evaluation of alternative railings for use on
the proposed new Noyo Bridge (Coastal Commission Permit Application
1-98-100). Specifically include communications between Caltrans and all
contractors and consultants that are within the scope of the request.
All records that describe the name, charter, description and
membership of the group within Caltrans that is or are responsible for
approving bridge and guard railings for use within California (termed
hereafter the “Railing Approval Group”). If there have been changes in
the name, charter, description, or membership of the Railing Approval
Group since 1990, include earlier as well as current records.
For the period January 1, 1990 to present, the minutes of all
meetings held by the Railing Approval Group, all records produced by them
and all records presented to them that relate to approval or disapproval
of bridge or guard railings for use in California.
Any records produced by Caltrans since January 1, 1990 that specify
procedures, criteria, and authority to determine the acceptability of
railings for use on California highways and bridges. If the procedures,
criteria, or authority have changed between January 1, 1990 and the
present, provide the earlier as well as current records that describe
cc: Peter Douglas, Sara Wan, Chris Desser, Shirley
[i] “Recording" means handwriting,
typewriting, printing, Photostatting, photographing, and every other
means of recording upon any form of communication or representation,
including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination
thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic
films and prints, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, and other
documents. It includes e-mails and other computer files.
[ii] Letter from Tony Anziano, Caltrans,
to Steven Scholl, Re Coastal Development Permit Application No.
1-99-100, July 14, 1999.
[iii] Flexibility in Highway Design,
Federal Highway Administration, Publication Number FHWA-PD-97-062, pp.
The history of the rejection of geometric and static design criteria
was summarized by J. W. Hatton of the Federal Highway Association:
Until the late 1980’s designers
relied on precedent, …AASHTO “Standard Specifications for Highway
Bridges,” and their judgment to design a bridge railing for a
particular site. The Standard Specifications, as they still do,
called for the application of a 10-Kip static load … as well as some
dimensional requirements for the openings between rail elements and
other cross section geometry [geometric design criteria]. Full-scale
crash testing was not required, although a design that “passed”
crash testing could be used even if it did not meet the static loading
and/or geometric design criteria. [Emphasis added]
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s,
actual tests were run on several commonly-used railings that had been
designed under the static loading procedures. The results were
unexpected: several of the railings failed quite dramatically and it
was shown that static design loadings were not sufficient to ensure
adequate railing performance. As a result of these findings, … [the
FHWA] issued a policy memorandum on August 28, 1986, that stated that
railings on bridges on Federal-aid projects must be (or have been)
crash tested and meet the acceptance criteria in NCHRP Report 230 or
Hatton, Bridge Railing Design and Testing, a Discussion with the
AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures, Technical
Committee (T-7) for Guardrail and Bridge Rail, May 14, 1996.
Flexibility in Highway Design, Federal Highway Administration,
Publication Number FHWA-PD-97-062.