An engineer and project management professional with over 30 years of experience at Caltrans was appointed Tuesday as director of the department’s District 7, which consists of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Tony Tavares will oversee the freeway and highway system in those two counties as well as the nearly 3,000 employees who design, construct, preserve and plan the system and administer its programs, according to Eric Menjivar of Caltrans.

Caltrans District 7 consists of 25% of California’s population and has an annual construction program of over $2 billion, according to Caltrans.

Tavares has worked in various leadership roles at both Caltrans districts and headquarters, Menjivar said.

Tavares was most recently District 4 director, overseeing the transportation program in nine Bay Area counties. Before that he was division chief for maintenance, division chief for right of way and land surveys, interim District 10 (Stockton) director and deputy division chief for construction.

“Tony’s strategic visionary abilities, along with his commitment to safety, modality, strong local partnerships and stakeholder engagement has created an environment where equity, creative thinking, and innovation are key to making transportation decisions for all Californians,” said Toks Omishakin, Caltrans Director.

While District 4 director, Tavares worked to address climate change and sea level rise affecting state Route 37, oversaw deck replacement on the Bayshore (101) Freeway at Alemany Boulevard in San Francisco, and helped create unique, temporary housing for residents in need of shelter.

“I’m excited to contribute to solutions that will improve transportation innovation, efficiency and equity, in partnership with other transportation leaders,” said Tavares, who has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UC Davis.

“My most recent experience will help me lead us into solutions that will help people experiencing homelessness, address climate change and enhance safety for all users of our multimodal transportation network in Southern California.”

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