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California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Library and History Center preserves and ensures access to selected historical materials such as documents, photographs, maps, and artifacts that track the history of the Department.

Oral histories have been conducted and produced by Department volunteers, the Caltrans History Preservation Committee, and the District 3 History Committee since 1978. The "Highway Recollections" series consists of tape recordings and published transcriptions of interviews with retired engineers, highway maintenance workers, administrators, and other personnel who have shared their insights on past highway development and changes within the Department. All available recordings in this series have been digitized and are available via streaming.

In the wake of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, Caltrans commissioned an oral history project to document the personal and professional experiences of 258 Caltrans employees who worked to restore the State's damaged transportation system. Caltrans staff in District 4 initiated the “Loma Prieta” project. It was organized quickly and informally with interviews completed within three months of the earthquake while their memories were fresh. The interviews cover a cross section of job titles and geographic areas to better illustrate the size and scope of the disaster.

Currently, only a small portion of the original 258 interviews have been digitalized, but Caltrans library currently is working in partnership with the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) to digitalize all the recordings.

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