Keith E. McKean, the first full-fledged director of the California Department of Transportation office in Orange County, has announced that he will retire Dec. 1.
McKean, 65, said he had always intended to retire this year but was waiting for passage of Proposition 111, the gasoline tax hike approved by California voters in the June 5 primary.
McKean has headed the Orange County District since 1988, following Robert H. Ramey, who served on an interim basis while the district was being created in 1987.
"He has been an important player in the development of our state highway system, particularly in Southern California," said Caltrans Director Robert K. Best. "His experience and knowledge will be difficult to replace."
McKean said two of his favorite highway projects during his 40-year career were the Foothill and Century freeways in Los Angeles County, which he routed and managed, respectively.
But the most significant project "in the mill," he added, is the widening of the Santa Ana Freeway. McKean said the project has been one of his biggest challenges, in part because funding for widening the freeway north of the Garden Grove Freeway "is still a question mark."
"There will have to be an infusion of local money into that project," McKean said, or widening that section won't begin for many years.
Orange County, known as Caltrans District 12, has an annual budget of more than $360 million and 715 employees. The district oversees 135 miles of existing state highway in the county.