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Territorial Dispatch

Caltrans Releases First Assessment of State Airspace Lease Properties

Nov 29, 2023 04:58PM ● By Caltrans News Release

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Caltrans released on November 22, 2023, a preliminary assessment of 601 leased Airspace sites throughout the state as part of the department’s response to the suspected Interstate 10 (I-10) arson in Los Angeles on Nov. 11. Based on Caltrans’ initial review, relatively few sites present confirmed safety or fire concerns, and Caltrans is moving quickly to address those issues.  

“Safety is Caltrans’ top priority,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “The department is conducting this urgent safety review of our leased Airspace properties across the state to assure the public that these spaces pose no threat to their safety or the integrity of our state’s critical infrastructure. The Caltrans independent Inspector General’s audit of the Airspace program — initiated at our request — will also provide further transparency and build public trust and confidence.”

Requested by Governor Gavin Newsom and executed by Caltrans Director Tavares, Caltrans’ review includes an analysis of all Airspace leases throughout the state to determine potential safety concerns associated with several factors, including site proximity to sensitive infrastructure such as freeway overpasses, tenancy and inspection status, and the lessee’s use of each location, among other details. In addition, at the Department’s request, the Caltrans Inspector General has begun an independent audit of the Airspace lease program that will advance transparency and ensure the public’s trust. 

Of the 38 sites identified as posing a potential risk, only a limited number of sites present a specific fire or safety risk, as opposed to a more general, potential risk due to inability to inspect infrastructure or vehicle(s) on the site or other violation of lease terms. Since November 11, Caltrans has inspected 30 of 38 sites and taken steps to address any risks, including sending legal notices of non-compliance and requiring lessees to remediate identified violations. Arrangements have been made to inspect the remaining eight sites, which are not anticipated to present specific risks.

Next Steps: Caltrans will continue to take action to improve safety at the Airspace lease sites and address issues as they are identified. Next steps will continue with closer inspections at all Airspace lease sites across the state, alongside state and local agency partners. Caltrans is also conducting a top-to-bottom assessment of the Airspace lease program, including all policies and practices, to identify necessary changes in the inspection, enforcement, regulatory, or statutory structure of the program. 

Visit dot.ca.gov/fix-10/airspace-lease to view initial findings and the first assessment of the Airspace program.

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