Home > Mendocino County > Enviros sue Caltrans over Willits Bypass

Enviros sue Caltrans over Willits Bypass

[Press Release]

Lawsuit Challenges Four-lane Willits Bypass Freeway That Would Destroy Wetlands, Salmon, Rare Plants

SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity, Willits Environmental Center, Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging the approvals and environmental review for the Willits Bypass, a proposed four-lane freeway around the community of Willits, in Mendocino County, Calif., that would hurt wetlands, salmon-bearing streams and endangered plants.

“Bulldozing a freeway the size of Interstate 5 through precious wetlands would be wasteful and destructive — a four-lane road is just not needed for the traffic volumes through Willits on Highway 101,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is a wake-up call for Caltrans, which should be building efficient public transit and maintaining existing roads, rather than wasting our money and resources clinging to outdated visions of new freeways,” said Ellen Drell, board member of the Willits Environmental Center. “Global climate change, threatened ecosystems and the end of cheap oil are warning signs that we need to change course. The change needs to happen in every community, including here in Willits.”

For decades, Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration have pursued a bypass on Highway 101 around Willits to ease traffic congestion. The agencies insist on a four-lane freeway and refuse to consider or analyze equally effective two-lane alternatives or in-town solutions. The current project is a six-mile, four-lane freeway bypass, including several bridges over creeks and local roads, a viaduct spanning the regulatory floodway and two interchanges. Construction would damage wildlife habitat and biological resources in Little Lake Valley, including nearly 100 acres of wetlands, and would require the largest wetlands fill permit in Northern California in the past 50 years. It would also affect stream and riparian habitat for chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout in three streams converging into Outlet Creek, harm state-protected endangered plants (Baker’s meadowfoam) and destroy oak woodlands.

“In a time of devastating budget cuts to health, education, social services and the state park system, Caltrans proposes to spend nearly $200 million on an unnecessary project that will seriously degrade the headwaters of the Eel River,” said Gary Graham Hughes, executive director at EPIC. “This project is completely out of touch with the needs of the natural and human communities on the North Coast.”

“For three decades the Sierra Cub has promoted responsible transportation planning in Mendocino County, but requests to consider a two-lane alternative have been ignored by Caltrans,” said Mary Walsh with the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club. “We’re proud to challenge this wasteful and destructive highway project.”

The lawsuit is against Caltrans, the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act. It seeks a court order requiring the agencies to prepare a supplemental “environmental impact statement” that considers two-lane alternatives and addresses substantial design changes and new information about traffic volumes and environmental impacts.

Background

For more than half a century, Caltrans has promoted turning Highway 101 into a four-lane freeway from San Diego to the Oregon border, with a four-lane freeway bypass around Willits. Caltrans first discussed potential bypass designs and routes through Willits in 1988, but by 1995 had unilaterally discarded all non-freeway or two-lane alternatives. An environmental review for a four-lane freeway was finalized in 2006.

The California Transportation Commission, the state funding authority, has repeatedly refused to fund a four-lane freeway, so Caltrans proposes to proceed in “phases,” grading for four lanes and constructing two lanes with available funds, then allegedly constructing two additional lanes when additional funding becomes available, a dubious prospect. Yet Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration did not draft a supplemental “environmental impact statement” to look at impacts of this changed design or consider two-lane alternatives.

A 1998 Caltrans study found that 70 percent to 80 percent of traffic causing congestion in downtown Willits was local, and Caltrans internally conceded that the volume of traffic projected to use the bypass was not enough to warrant a four-lane freeway. Agency data showed the volume of traffic that would use the bypass did not increase from 1992 to 2005. New information shows actual traffic volumes are below what the agencies projected when they determined only a four-lane freeway will provide the desired level of service, and that a two-lane bypass will provide a better level of service than projected.

Phase I of the project will discharge fill into more than 86 acres of wetlands and federal jurisdiction waters. Caltrans purchased approximately 2,000 acres of ranchland in Little Lake Valley to “mitigate” for loss of wetlands, but the properties already had established existing wetlands, with no ability for Caltrans to “create” new wetlands. To obtain the required wetlands fill permit under the Clean Water Act, the state and federal agencies submitted a significantly deficient “mitigation and monitoring plan” to the Army Corps to “enhance” wetlands. This plan itself alters existing wetlands and causes significant new impacts to wetlands, endangered species and grazing lands, and makes design changes that were not analyzed or disclosed in the 2006 environmental review. The Corps improperly issued the permit in February 2012.

The Willits Bypass is the latest in a series of controversial, environmentally damaging, expensive and unnecessary highway projects Caltrans is pursuing while refusing to consider alternatives and ignoring public opposition. Last month, a federal court ordered Caltrans to redo critical aspects of its environmental analysis for a project to widen and realign Highway 101 to promote large-truck travel through the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park. Caltrans is also proposing a project on Highway 197/199 in Del Norte County that would fell protected ancient redwoods and threaten the pristine Smith River. In January, Caltrans was forced by a lawsuit to rescind project approval and cancel construction of the first phase of an $80 million highway widening “safety” project in Niles Canyon, Alameda County, that Caltrans now admits is not needed.

  1. Ponder z
    May 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    HOOO for fucksake!!! What is the deal? These jackasses have nothing better to do. They do have an income from their nonprofit status. There is money in environmental activism. Except for the pawns at the protest line. Good luck with that suit, CT has their chit together, as this has been in the works for ten years. The population hates you, and we hope you Loose.

  2. What Now
    May 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Wonderful news.
    I’m sending out checks with “thanks yous” EPIC and WEC.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. SNaFU
    May 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Yadie-Yadie-Yadie__Blah-Blah-Blah.
    R/x: If it slithers, crawls, flies or swims, put a condom over the state!
    God must love stupid people; he made so many.

  4. Anonymous
    May 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Any road improvement that makes it easier or faster to access the North Coast will be opposed. Period.

  5. PhilC
    May 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Hey What Now, EPIC does not need your money to fund these bogus lawsuits; they were awarded millions recently by the state. . .

  6. Guest
    May 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    If Caltrans wants to avoid lawsuits, then they simply need to follow the law

  7. Anonymous
    May 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    PonderZ and Sanfu, God especially loves you.

  8. Thorstein Veblen
    May 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Following the law doesn’t mean people won’t sue. But it might make CalTrans less prone to losing and settling.

  9. Matt
    May 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    “The population hates you, and we hope you Loose.”

    I think you mean “lose”, but perhaps you should clarify.

  10. Matt
    May 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    “Any road improvement that makes it easier or faster to access the North Coast will be opposed. Period.”

    Considering that the press release advocates for a 2 lane road rather than a 4 lane road, your argument is unconvincing.

  11. Observer
    May 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    headwaters of the Eel River in Willits?

  12. anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Hard to believe that anyone would even think of ruining such a beautiful wetland. Would be horrible for the town of Willits too. CalTrans has turned into a monster gobbling up tax dollars and looking anywhere and everywhere for it’s next meal. It doesn’t matter that the project is not needed, only that CalTrans the monster needs to keep it’s workers paychecks coming. This bureaucratic tax guzzling corporation needs to be reigned in.

  13. TexaCali
    May 2, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I drive down 101 to San Francisco on a regular basis and I think the by-pass would be a complete waste of money.

  14. High Finance
    May 2, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I drive down 101 to San Francisco on a regular basis and I think the by-pass would be a wise use of money.

  15. Mitch
    May 2, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Great, HiFi. Start a foundation and solicit voluntary contributions.

  16. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 7:26 am

    No need Mitch. Most of the rest of society appreciates a good, efficient roadway system.

  17. Mitch
    May 2, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Well, 7:26, I guess we disagree about “the rest of society.”

    I think most people would rather see their neighbors not going hungry, not having to use the ER for checkups, and not having to worry about foreclosure BEFORE Caltrans gets money to tear up wetlands. Priorities, donchaknow.

    But maybe you’re right. I guess it all depends on what you mean by “society.”

  18. May 2, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Another lousy idea brought to us by the same asses that want to widen Richardson’s Grove. 101 beginning north of Ukiah is a beautiful drive. If one is in a hurry, leave earlier. If this roadway is destroyed, so is your lifestyles. Bypassing Willits will kill the town, as it has done numerous times before. Does anybody remember Rte 66 in Arizona? Once towns are bypassed, the businesses build next to the roads and nobody goes into town.Cloverdale also comes to mind. Reading some of these comments remind me that there are jack holes everywhere.

  19. Gil Yule
    May 2, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I’m pretty amazed that I don’t see downtown Willits business’s joining in with the environmental groups in protesting the bypass of the Willits. We’ve all seen examples of what bypassing a town, be it the railroad or the highway does to local business. it’s devastating.

    My understanding is that local downtown business opposition to the rerouting the freeway here in Eureka back in the late 1990’s was much of the reason the idea was finally rejected by the City Council.

  20. High Finance
    May 2, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Was Cloverdale “killed” ?

    I’m sorry, I stopped in there for lunch on my trip down south a month ago and the town is still there. The locals there said the only businesses hurt by their bypass were a couple of gas stations & fast food places. The rest of them are happy for the improved quality of life.

  21. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

    “CalTrans has turned into a monster gobbling up tax dollars and looking anywhere and everywhere for it’s next meal.”

    As a lifelong california resident, i can tell you they’ve always been like that. It’s sad what it’s done to the landscape. From here to LA, Caltrans’ transportation solutions have not alleviated the traffic crisis whatsoever, instead they have enabled and encouraged even more traffic statewide. They are, in no uncertain terms, a construction conglomerate who, as many correctly recognize, are constantly trying to persuade government to allocate money their way that could and should be put to other use (open space preservation, IMO.)

  22. Sunny
    May 2, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Environmental and sprawl-inducing concerns aside, I’d be happy to see Eureka bypassed too. Bypasses gave Arcata and Fortuna the opportunities to create nicer downtown “Main Streets” that seem to be thriving in a way that Broadway & 4th/5th never can with all the traffic. But then again, Lombard/Van Ness in San Francisco seem to be thriving even with heavy traffic. There is landscaping and lots of traffic lights there too which help a lot. Broadway would benefit from similar treatment. Maybe that could actually happen in my lifetime.

  23. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 8:50 am

    “Environmental and sprawl-inducing concerns aside,”

    NO and NEVER. What the hell are you thinking?

  24. Thorstein Veblen
    May 2, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Have to agree with hifi, Cloverdale is a lot more pleasant now, and is creating a more attractive, pedestrian friendly downtown. I was impressed at the change last time thru.

    The highway problem in Willits is that any little event or an accident or a loose cow in the road or whatever can tie up traffic for hours, even clogging up the back way around town. Try going thru after reggae and you’ll be backed up for miles before you even get to the high school. Not only inconvenient, but a public safety problem.

    My understanding is that the bypass would be elevated and not take out too much wetlands. Kinda like the samoa bridge? And what it did take would be mitigated by creation of new wetlands? Hardly sounds like ‘bulldozing I5 through precious wetlands’.

  25. Jr
    May 2, 2012 at 8:56 am

    A freeway around Willits will help the citizens reclaim their town from all of the through traffic that does not plan or want to stop there. Cloverdale is in the beginning stages of reclaiming their town much as Healdsburg and Petaluma have done. One way to protect downtown businesses is to zone the land on either side of the freeway bypass as greenbelt and open space so that no businesses can open near the freeway at the detriment to downtown businesses. Then build a tree line boulevard from the freeway into dowtown. You will then have a town worthy of being a destination point (like Healdsburg) and not just a pass through.

  26. May 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Hardly sounds like ‘bulldozing I5 through precious wetlands’.

    That’s the sort of hysterical exaggeration, if not outright lying, you can expect to hear from the environmentalists on just about any issue. The same sort of thing is being done with Richardson Grove.

  27. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 9:00 am

    “One way to protect downtown businesses is to zone the land on either side of the freeway bypass as greenbelt and open space so that no businesses can open near the freeway at the detriment to downtown businesses.”

    That never happens in the long run, and not around a place like willits for sure. In this day and age in California, the freeway heralds more of everything urbania.

  28. Sunny
    May 2, 2012 at 9:03 am

    @8:15 I’m thinking how nice Arcata and Fortuna’s downtowns are now that they don’t have to bear highway traffic.

  29. Toohey
    May 2, 2012 at 9:06 am

    EPIC and friends are in this for the money. Caltrans is the last outfit they can sue since little else is happening on the north coast besides weed.
    As one who doesn’t live in Willits with all the traffic I could care less about the stopped queues of cars. Dumboldt aspires to the bottom as usual.

  30. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

    “I’m thinking how nice Arcata and Fortuna’s downtowns”

    I dunno, all the pro-development wingers on blogs like to remind everybody how shitty they’ve become all the time. Funny how issues like this slap them in the face right quick.

  31. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    “EPIC and friends are in this for the money. Caltrans is the last outfit they can sue”

    Actually Caltrans is in it for the money, and regular folks like you and me don’t have enough money to even begin the process of stopping them from gobbling it up. So it’s up to cooperative entities, in this case EPIC, to pool their resources and per the DEMAND of how their money is spent, use it to protect the open space that would otherwise be destroyed uncontested.

  32. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

    ““For three decades the Sierra Cub has promoted responsible transportation planning in Mendocino County, but requests to consider a two-lane alternative have been ignored by Caltrans,”

    Very important point: caltrans has never been in the business of smart planning, they are in the business of actually accomodating more of the same…(not ironically at much higher costs = more money for them). Intelligent planning and real incentive to lessen traffic is the direction government needs to head. Government needs to stop letting entities like PG&E and Caltrans and industrial polluters have their way with the state like they own it.

  33. jr
    May 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Speaking of “smart” planning, Caltrans (then the Department of Transportation) constructed the first section of 101 freeway through Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Founders Grove to Myers Flat) in 1958. Caltrans has a history of using state park lands for their right-of-way.

  34. Toohey
    May 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

    9:42, Actually Caltrans first goal is saftey as found on their web site: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/paffairs/about/mission.htm
    ——
    Caltrans Mission:

    Caltrans Improves Mobility Across California

    Strategic Goals:

    – SAFETY –
    Provide the safest transportation system in the nation for users and workers.

    – MOBILITY –
    Maximize transportation system performance and accessibility.

    – DELIVERY –
    Efficiently deliver quality transportation projects and services.

    – STEWARDSHIP –
    Preserve and enhance California’s resources and assets.

    -SERVICE-
    Promote quality service through an excellent workforce.
    ——

    Maybe centralised planning (smart planning what’s the difference) is not safe.

  35. eurekite
    May 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

    The only traffic issue in Willits is local traffic. This is what happens when your town’s “main street” is a highway.

    There does need to be a parallel road to 101 through Willits. It does not need to be a huge four-lane freeway.

  36. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

    toohey, “safety” is the crying wolf of the new millenium. Realize that in the same right Caltrans claims “safety” as their primary cause, so do “environmentalists” (and those affiliated with EPIC), claim real STABILIZED safety of everybody’s health and well being through intelligent planning into the very long term future.

    How stupid this era will look otherwise in another 100 years, not only consciously continuing a second century of sprawling out around paved rivers of gasoline fire, but throwing trillions of dollars (and + the longer the term) into the sinking ship that is its industry’s sponser.

  37. HumBiz
    May 2, 2012 at 10:32 am

    It’s all for Walmart, bigger trucks, and lots more affordable merchandise for the masses in the north.

  38. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

    An EPIC “planned” society would resemble the Cambodia of the late 70’s under Pol Pot. Good luck with that.

  39. 2 cents
    May 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I understand that the ‘Anonymi’ are all different people but the one immediately above REALLY needs a kick in the head!

    The idiotic claim that creating a raised freeway over a wetland would not destroy it is asinine! By the time they were done, whatever had lived on the ground would have been crushed and destroyed.

    And as they have suggested they’d do this in phases – 2 lanes then 4 later, I don’t think there is a raised fwy. in the plan anyhow…..
    I agree this is just more of the straighten the road for trucks mentality that wants to screw Richardson Grove and I also agree that Willits would suffer, not be improved.

  40. Don't waste the taxes
    May 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Willits is halfway between SF and Eureka. It is the perfect spot to get gas and food while taking a break in the 5 hour drive. Getting somewhere 2 minutes faster is not the reason to ruin a huge and beautiful wetland and take business away from the town of Willits. Tax money should not be wasted just to float a corporation such as CalTrans.

  41. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Who says the only people who travel to Humboldt County are coming from SF on 101? People who travel to HumCo from Lake Co, for example, would be glad to bypass the mess in Willits.

    eurekite is right. The traffic mess in Willits is a local traffic problem. eurekite is also right about the sollution. Build road for local traffic that runs parallel 101 through Willits. Then, I believe, 101 can be left as-is and the expense of solving the Willits traffic bottleneck will be significantly reduced.

  42. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    “For more than half a century, Caltrans has promoted turning Highway 101 into a four-lane freeway from San Diego to the Oregon border, with a four-lane freeway bypass around Willits.”

    How easily people seem to forget this very important fact when reasoning on the side of caltrans that their intention through Richardson Grove is for our local benefit.

  43. jr
    May 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    The point person was Randolf Collier, the “Father of California’s Freeways” and remembered today as a tunnel on US 199.

  44. Matt
    May 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I wouldn’t mind a Willits bypass. I don’t see that it needs to be 4 lanes though.

  45. RefFan
    May 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    In the doc provided with link below, it states that the public wants relief from traffic congestion and Willits residents want their streets back.

    http://www.mendocinocog.org/pdf/Willits%20Bypass/5-10-2007%20MCOG%20letter%20to%20Kempton%20re%20Willits%20Bypass.pdf

    This has been heard from locals and the residents of Little Lake Valley since the beginning, they support the bypass.
    Laytonville provides a great pit stop (Chevron) for potty & drink breaks, unless you want to stop for food in Willits,then you can use those restrooms.
    It is not our decision what they do, it shld be heard from the locals around Willits what they want.

  46. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    “In the doc provided with link below, it states that the public wants relief from traffic congestion and Willits residents want their streets back.”

    The intelligent and infinitely more long term solution is NOT to build even more (massive) streets to accomodate even more traffic…to say nothing of wasting hundreds of millions of dollars needed in other departments, and to say the least about permanently destroying even more natural habitat in the process.

  47. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    2:32, Don’t expect anything intelligent from RefFan.

    I’ve heard that the majority of businesses in Willits are against the bypass. As proponents of the Richardson Grove project have said over and over, businesses should get what they want, the public be damned. Even if there are only 12 hand-picked, unidentified businesses having their say, what they want should be what happens.

    I’m guessing there are more than 12 businesses in Willits who oppose this. Therefore, there should be no bypass.

  48. High Finance
    May 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    You’ve “heard” ?

    Well gee, that just about decides it for me. “Anonymous” heard. Can’t get more proof than that.

  49. Harold Knight
    May 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Seems like only yesterday that “Highly Mistaken” claimed the Eureka Chamber of Commerce financial records are public, that the City of Eureka couldn’t qualify for a grant for Jefferson School, that the 1999 ballot measure sponsored by Wall-Mart wasn’t about Wall-Mart….if this liar wants to shave a few minutes off the drive at massive public cost, lets move her there!

  50. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I can see it now. After CalTrans has gobbled up and ruined all the open space and wetlands along the highways and freeways they will need still more building space to continue their business. They will be using eminent domain to take whole towns and demolishing them to continue with their tax mongering corporation. Time to downsize CalTrans, your operation is out of control.

  51. May 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    What’s funny about the NO folks here is you can bet most of them support the high speed rail boondoggle which will not only take up a lot more currenty open space than these highway modifications, but also bypass thousands of businesses that auto travelers might normally stop at.

    Unless, of course, they change the plan to stop at most small towns along the route which means it wouldn’t be in any sense, high speed. Oh, but that’s ok. It’s green, huh?

  52. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    hey kids, it’s time for Fred’s Meds! Today’s episode: more unrelated nonsense!

  53. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Don’t even get me started on the high speed rail thing. It is going to make us all poor.

  54. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    It’s the sickest thing, that in the big picture of the future, the decision makers of our time are only going to remembered for the damage they’ve caused to the natural world. This is a very shameful time for those governing the course of humanity.

    U$A, closing parks, schools, libraries, post offices and paychecks across the board while building more freeways and apartments to pack more people in. In this country, displays of endangered species are to be revered, protected lands are to inspire awe…while a stone’s throw away they permanently destroy more of it all and call it “good business through honest work”.

  55. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    OK HiFi, time dazzle us with your brilliant business acumen (you’re the real estate guy who never saw the real estate crash coming. Who could image THAT happening? I’m still laughing – what an incompetent dimwit you are).

    Explain why a business on Main Street Willits would want to drastically reduce traffic going by their business and take a big hit in their incomes?

  56. Guest
    May 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Fred, do you still receive government assistance?

  57. Help for HiFi
    May 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    HiFi is a masochist . He is usually wrong, gets his head/balls kicked in all the time but keeps putting out his pathetic thoughts, so we can prove him wrong again. His life must be as empty as his brain. He keeps coming back for more humiliation.

    Masochist. Don’t you understand you are nothing more than a laughing stock? Object of ridicule? Do you really have nothing better to do with your time? Try studying economics. I’ve heard that education can lead to intelligence and open the mind. Take some night classes in self improvement. Do something, anything, to pull yourself out of the conservative, lock-stepping world you inhabit.

  58. the Lake County News
    May 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    For more than half a century, Caltrans has promoted turning Highway 101 into a four-lane freeway from San Diego to the Oregon border, with a four-lane freeway bypass around Willits.

    If it seemed like the right solution in the 1950s, how could it be any different now? Nothing has changed in more than 50 years.

    Phase I of the project will discharge fill into more than 86 acres of wetlands and federal jurisdiction waters.

    To obtain the required wetlands fill permit under the Clean Water Act, the state and federal agencies submitted a significantly deficient “mitigation and monitoring plan” to the Army Corps to “enhance” wetlands.

    This plan itself alters existing wetlands and causes significant new impacts to wetlands, endangered species and grazing lands, and makes design changes that were not analyzed or disclosed in the 2006 environmental review. The Corps improperly issued the permit in February 2012.

    Error upon error. Eternal Boondoggle

  59. May 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    When the personal attacks begin, I can only assume I struck a nerve.

  60. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    You? Don’t flatter yourself Mangles. I don’t read you. Find some other way to please yourself.

  61. Anonymous
    May 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Jerry Brown is trying to to clean up the state and it’s overspending. He should put a leash on Cal Trans and save the state of California millions while saving our precious open space. Come on Jerry, come on thru and preserve the good things in our state. We voted you in to do good for our state, don’t let us down.

  62. walt
    May 3, 2012 at 6:15 am

    I wonder if they’ve ever thought of using the existing railroad right-of-way. A two-lane, elevated road would be a lot cheaper for taxpayers and other critters.

  63. High Finance
    May 3, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Harold Knight = Troll Get a life moron.

    In the hope that you actually asked a serious question 6.47pm, here is your answer.

    Most motorists on 101 are simply zipping through Willits on their way to another destination. They will never stop at the hardware store. Other locals avoid the downtown when possible because of the traffic.

    Remove the traffic that has no intention of stopping and you attract the real shoppers. Like I said before the only ones that will miss the traffic are the gas stations and fast food places.

    Someone said Cloverdale was “killed” by their bypass. Ridiculous. They adjusted and now their town is better and more pleasant than ever. Same with Arcata and Fortuna.

  64. Labtech
    May 3, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Is this what “the environmental movement” has come to: shut down every project, especially if somebody might be able to make a living from it?

  65. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Downtowns that are better post-bypass: Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Ukiah, Garberville, Fortuna, Arcata, Mckinleyville.

    The way I understand it, the idea is to build two lanes, not four.

  66. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

    It seems a lot of the public does not understand what Caltrans is up to here:

    “Caltrans first discussed potential bypass designs and routes through Willits in 1988, but by 1995 had unilaterally discarded all non-freeway or two-lane alternatives. An environmental review for a four-lane freeway was finalized in 2006.

    The California Transportation Commission, the state funding authority, has repeatedly refused to fund a four-lane freeway, so Caltrans proposes to proceed in “phases,” grading for four lanes and constructing two lanes with available funds, then allegedly constructing two additional lanes when additional funding becomes available, a dubious prospect. Yet Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration did not draft a supplemental “environmental impact statement” to look at impacts of this changed design or consider two-lane alternatives.”

    This project as it now stands is designed to build out to four lanes, and Caltrans has not done studies on simple two lane alternatives. One of the goals of the suit is for Caltrans to simply study two lane alternatives.

  67. Jr
    May 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

    This is true. You can protect those businesses who are “by-passed” by zoning the land on either side of the new highway as perpetual greenbelt/open space. Then create a tree-lined boulevard that connects the new highway to the revitalized downtown. Locals can reclaim their town and travelers will have another unique destination to visit.

  68. May 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

    We’ll always stop in Willits on the way to and from San Francisco. Willits Safeway has the cheapest gas we’ve found, and we stop at Taco Bell for inexpensive dinner and a bathroom break.

    Cloverdale has some places we pull off the highway to use, too. I’m sure we’re not the only ones.

  69. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

    “Locals can reclaim their town and travelers will have another unique destination to visit.”

    You need to understand it is a LOCAL problem to begin with. This is an open space destroying nightmare of a project, there’s no need for it. It’s unintelligent and counter to what everybody in the distant future will hope we have done regarding problems like this. Literally killing more wildlife to burn more gasoline.

  70. eurekite
    May 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Where are the usage projections that imply we need to vastly increase capacity on this corridor? Oh right…

    This is a failure of city planning in Willits, not a highway capacity issue.

  71. Traveler
    May 3, 2012 at 11:51 am

    We used to stop in Cloverdale all the time. Now, we never stop there. We stop in Willits often. We eat at restaurants, shop at that dry goods store, buy gas, walk on Main Street and pop into shops that look interesting. Probably, we will not shop in Willits anymore if it gets bypassed.

    HiFi does not understand a basic principle of retail business: locate where there is the most traffic. HiFi doesn’t have a very good grasp on most of the topics the blathers about.

  72. back in the saddle
    May 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I now stop in Cloverdale because it is curretnly a pleasant little town. A lunch, stroll around, talk to the locals. I stop in Willits if I need gas. Traveler needs to get off the main highway and investigate out of the ways places. Either that or change your name to “Thru traffic only”.

  73. High Finance
    May 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Not just any “traffic” Traveler, but potential customer traffic. That is the difference.

    If you had ever owned your own business you would understand the difference.

  74. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    What about all the tourists that enjoy stopping and shopping in Willits. If they would have to get of on an offramp they would not bother. I used to stop in Cloverdale and get a milkshake and go to the feed store and other businesses. Havn’t been there in years now because of the bypass. Sad to see what has happened to our state. Small businesses are not considered in Caltrans scheme to pave over all of California. And the wetlands and their importance to life on this planet should not be handled be this government Corporation that only knows how to destroy so they can lay down even more asphalt so as to keep their workers employed.

  75. May 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    @ Hi Finance- Cloverdale took a huge hit with the bypass, what I refer to as “killed”. They are just crawling out of the devastation. If you lived there and not just passing through you would know that. I have read your comments before and frankly I think you are a jack ass. who thinks he knows it all.You want big box stores? You want 4 lanes of freeway running thorough our small towns? Go to LA.

  76. May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Havn’t been there in years now because of the bypass. Sad to see what has happened to our state.

    So, for whatever reason- probably just because you’re lazy and don’t feel like pulling off the freeway- you stopped going to Cloverdale and you’re blaming Caltrans and the bypass for it?

    Lily White wrote, “Cloverdale took a huge hit with the bypass,….You want 4 lanes of freeway running thorough our small towns? Go to LA..

    Uh, huh. First you complain about the bypass, then you complain about freeways going through small towns? That certainly makes sense.

  77. Traveler
    May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    HiFi, you are truly an idiot. FYI, I have owned a business. There is no way to tell who is a potential customer and who is not. Bottom Line – The more people passing by your business, the better.

    Back in the saddle, you have proved my point. We no longer drive past the places in Cloverdale where we shopped so we don’t shop there anymore. That is the effect of traffic passing by. It brings in shoppers who are not necessarily motivated to go out of their way to shop in your store. Convenience and easy access is very important. (BTW, I miss the ice cream stand, wasn’t it called The Hi Fi?).

    We investigate many out of the way places when we travel, but not with the intent of spending money there. We go to explore and maybe recreate. Unless a store sells something unique that we can’t get anywhere else, we don’t go out of our way to shop there. We shop in Willits because it is right on our route.

  78. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Cloverdale, circa 1996 I think:

    http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/05.02.96/cloverdale-9618.html

    And a pretty well thought-out study here. Some interesting stuff on page 4 about which types of communities are most affected:

    http://cdm15025.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p266401coll4/id/1445/rec/9

    The answer is obviously more complex that “Bypass, BAD”!!, or “Caltrans, BAD”!!

  79. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    hey kids, it’s time for Fred’s Meds! today’s episode: fred can’t make sense of common sense!

    Fred…do yourself a favor, quit while your head is still above water. The issue is unecessary, expensive, unintelligent construction and most importantly the fact that it’s at the permanent expense of even more of what we REAL PERMANENT RESIDENCE treasure most about living around here. That which, once it’s gone can never be replaced. That which future generations, literally until the end of time as we know it, will shake their heads in dismay at the blatant destruction of continuing into today, when we’re all supposed to know so much better.

  80. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    “The answer is obviously more complex that “Bypass, BAD”!!, or “Caltrans, BAD”!!”

    When it comes to the actoins being taken IN THIS SPECIFIC INSTANCE, that’s all that’s necessary. Your reasoning is ENTIRELY economic. Your lack of consideration of the wetlands, now and indefinitely, says all anybody needs to know about your opinion, sorry.

  81. Not A Native
    May 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Has anyone considered the opportunities the bypass will create for billboards in Willits? Landowners near the exits will get new income and good paying jobs will be created for billboard construction and maintenance.

  82. May 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Unlikely. First, you’ll have the usual NO folks filing suit against the signs.

    Second, Cloverdale could use more billboards as far as I’m concerned, yet it’s been decades and there’s less than a handful of signs up. Must be a reason for that.

    BTW; All this chatter about Cloverdale got me thinking about that sign I see on the freeway around North Cloverdale. The Hamburger Ranch. Never been there but always wondered about it.

    Checked Yelp.com and there were a whole bunch of reviews, nearly all of them very good with most people quite impressed with the place. My only concern is it sounds a bit pricey for our budget. Anybody here stopped by there?

  83. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    “Second, Cloverdale could use more billboards as far as I’m concerned, yet it’s been decades and there’s less than a handful of signs up. Must be a reason for that.”

    Thirdly, the street on which you live could use more billboards as far as I’m concerned. Big ol’ Ronald McDonald greeting every morning of the rest of your life…or maybe the silouhette of a diver next to a volkswagon sized credit card logo…yeah, I’d rather see that than for there to exist NATURAL WETLANDS IN ITS EXACT LOCATION INSTEAD. Are you for real? What the fuck kind of degenerate shit is this? I really have to wonder sometimes.

  84. Todd Stiles
    May 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I don’t quite get it. Some of you used to love stopping in Cloverdale, and now stopping in Willits. But you won’t do it if you actually have to GO there instead of being directed there automatically by a road? Sorry, thats just not justification for abandoning the proposed bypass.

  85. May 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Thirdly, the street on which you live could use more billboards as far as I’m concerned.

    You’re an idiot. I’m not saying they should be forced to put up more billboards. I’m saying I think they could use some more to tell travelers what’s inside their town. That’s called advertising.

    For some reason they either aren’t allowed to, or haven’t seen fit to erect more signs. I suspect NAN is being sarcastic about the billboard thing. My point is, it’s likely not going to happen.

  86. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    “For some reason they either aren’t allowed to”

    You see…(you don’t see)…what your own assumption is. For some reason, you don’t live in a 1 bedroom apartment in emeryville (or valejo or san jose or benecia or san ramon or oakland or alameda or _______________……and that you share with another person, of course) that removes 4/5ths of your paycheck forever. You don’t SEE the world you are praising…let alone down the line…let alone that you are beckoning to come forever closer to HERE. It’s going fast enough at its own rate, that sprawl. Instead of throwing two cents at this issue and every issue on the planet, why not make it even more worth the effort and throw four cents into something that doesn’t so much more wetland extinct? Didn’t they teach you in school, that extinction is forever?

  87. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Todd, your argument is that the the welfare of local business is not a sufficient reason for going ahead with highway expanding projects. Businesses should not influence whether or not a CalTrans project happens.

    If it is true for Willits and the bypass, it is true for making Humboldt a thoroughfare for STAA trucks. So you are saying that these decisions should not be justified on economic terms. You must be opposed to the Richardson Grove project, right?

  88. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Great observation, 6:25pm.

    Also, there’s the fact that caltrans has repeatedly argued for the right to build a four lane freeway from Los Angeles to Oregon, and has been in the process of slowly building one for decades. They are the department of transportation’s construction crew after all. They have great PR, utilizing the faces of their street crew as their own, but they are a bottomless moneypit that has become more of a financial burden than boon on everybody’s back. Every new square foot of land that Caltrans paves is forever subject to their jurisdiction, and is forever profitable to them. Even caltrans workers have to deal with loss of quality of life surrounding their neverending list of new “projects” as possible. Every year they use the combined sum of several post office, library, school bus, state park operations at a time, to pave fresh land. All the while those public services are being closed statewide. It’s a mindfuck of an irony, how out of control caltrans has been allowed to permanently alter our physical world already.

  89. Todd Stiles
    May 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I thought RG was a safety project? Not about business?

    Safety, ok. Convenience, ok. Wetlands, ok. 2 v 4 lane, ok. All legitimate issues to consider. Travelers shopping pleasure, not ok.

  90. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Travelers shopping pleasure, not ok.

    Todd, the topic of our debate is not shoppers pleasure. It is the use of economic arguments to justify a CalTrans project.

    How about flower buyers’ saving a nickel on their bulbs or bouquets? OK reason to greatly increase large truck traffic through Humboldt?

    Yeah, Todd, read the CalTrans justification for Richardson Grove. They say it is for the benefit of the Humboldt Co. economy. They base that on a flimsy contrived survey of about a dozen businesses, including Sun Valley Bulb Farms, one of our biggest polluters of land and water. Plenty of comments on Heraldo have claimed we need STAA trucks for our economy.

    Safety will not increase on our highways or surface streets with increased large truck traffic. Safety is a red herring.

  91. Anonymous
    May 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    “Safety will not increase on our highways or surface streets with increased large truck traffic.”

    Not only that, but higher speed for all other traffic in this case, which accounts to the overwhelming majority of traffic through that stretch. Vehicles will pass even faster in an area where pedestrians, tourists especially, cross the road on foot daily. The grove as-is, is a non-negotiable reminder to slow down along that whole stretch for a few miles in both directions, without bright six foot blinking signs interfering with the natural beauty doing the job otherwise.

  92. Todd Stiles
    May 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I think I’m with you. But some guy who used to stop and shop here, but now stops and shops there, and doesn’t want there to become like here, just not compelling.

    The wetlands argument is much stronger, as is the case for a lower cost 2 lane alternative.

  93. High Finance
    May 4, 2012 at 7:09 am

    “Lily White”, Fred beat me to it but not only can you not spell, not use punctuation correctly, not respond to arguments civil like a grownup but your logic is laughable.

    First you complain about a bypass and don’t want any and then you complain about a highway going through town ?

  94. High Finance
    May 4, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Traveler, the reason you lost that business is very clear.

  95. Sunny
    May 4, 2012 at 9:09 am

    @Anonymous 3:01 5/3

    Thank you for the links. For the benefit of those who didn’t click through to the CalTrans study of bypass impacts I quote the summary findings below:

    What types of towns are impacted economically?

    • Highway-oriented towns have a much harder time transitioning their economies after bypasses are constructed than those that cater to local residents or offer tourist attractions.

    • Towns that serve as residential communities or as tourist destinations can benefit from reduced traffic and improved safety as a result of highway bypasses. Local government and the business community may need to engage in complementary efforts, such as marketing, downtown redevelopment, additional parking, and sidewalk improvements, to take advantage.

    • Towns that serve regional markets by providing services, such as big box retail, automobile dealers, department stores, or hospitals, may experience little or no economic impacts. If a bypass provides better access to regional services, the local economy may actually improve as the town expands its regional draw.

    • Towns with other economic bases, such as government employment, mining, agriculture, manufacture, etc. are not likely to be economically impacted by bypasses.

    Which businesses are impacted?

    • Gas stations and quick service or fast food restaurants cater the most to pass-through traffic. They are most likely to be impacted by the diversion of traffic due to bypasses.

    • Other visitor-serving businesses, such as motels, art galleries, antique stores, and curio shops, cater more to visitors attracted to the community as a destination rather than those simply passing through. These businesses are less likely to be negatively impacted by bypasses and may find that business improves if the downtown is turned into a destination.

    • Regionally serving businesses, such as big box retail and departments stores, may benefit from improved access.

    • Businesses that serve local residents, such as drug stores, banks, and grocery stores are generally not impacted by bypasses.

  96. Traveler
    May 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

    HiFi, I did not lose my business. I sold it and made a very good profit. Moved on to other things that I enjoy more. That business made me wealthier and happier.

    HiFi, do you actually believe readers of this blog do not see through your fiction? If you are a financial adviser, I pity your clients. You are ignorant and too lazy to educate yourself. You think biased assumptions and arrogance equal mental acuity. Your life must be very empty and lonely. Why not do something to get some self respect and gain the respect of others? I’m guessing it is the lack of respect that makes you act like such an ass. Get some counseling, get off the sauce, read and learn to think.

  97. High Finance
    May 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I do not respect you enough to care if you respect me Traveler.

    You obviously post under multiple names or you make rash rush to judgements. If you had any confidence in your own opinions you could disagree civilly without insults. You don’t.

    Someone insults me you will get it right back. But then don’t go crying about it.

  98. jr
    May 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Note to Fred: Hamburger Ranch has been there since the mid 70s and provides a good alternative to the numerous fast food places on the south side of Cloverdale. It is worth giving it a try. Or continue a few miles south to Healdsburg and go to the Crosteaux Bakery, the Downtown Bakery on the Plaza or the Healdsburg Bar and Grill among other notable places.

  99. Traveler
    May 4, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Rest assured, HiFi, I am laughing, not crying.

  100. RefFan
    May 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Anons 232 & 253, growth & construction will continue to happen whether we like it or not. Your wetland argument is not enuf to squash a project. Go hug a tree and chill awhile. I know more ppl who support the project than not but I do agree a four lane is not necessary, although wld be more convenient for speeders like me.
    @ Anon 253, your unintellegent remark is childish & just shows that ur a blow hard enviro who doesnt respect others that have a different opinion from you. Also, if you are the one that keeps posting about the caltrans four lane hi-way to Oregon, it will never happen so you can quit referring to it.

  101. Anonymous
    May 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Yeah Fred Mangles 5:18 like a small mom and pop business can afford a billboard. Get real.

  102. High Finance
    May 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Laughing back at you Mitch.

  103. Mitch
    May 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    There’s that punctuation again. It’s a dead giveaway. Now HiFi realizes, thanks to periods at the end of the sentences, that tra, Heraldo, Traveler and Mitch are all the same person. Not to mention Anonymous and Help for HiFi. (Do you really think we’re that devoted to you that we come up with extra pseudonyms to attack you from?)

    What will we do, folks? We’ve been exposed.

  104. jr
    May 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Mitch: Time to migrate over to the Mirror.

  105. May 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    like a small mom and pop business can afford a billboard.

    They don’t need a billboard. A simple sign would suffice. That Hamburger Ranch place I referred to earlier just has a small sign alongside the freeway. That’s the only reason I knew it was there.

    Reading the reviews on Yelp.com it doesn’t seem I’m the only one that noticed the sign,either. Some of them made estimates of the composition of the people who were eating at that burger ranch. A fair number of travelers seem to be stopping there along with some locals.

  106. Anonymous
    May 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    You can’t just hang a sign out on the freeway dummy. You really do lead an ignorant life Freddy Boy,

  107. High Finance
    May 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Mitch, it is well known that you use pseudo names to drop the pretense of civility.

    You are not Tra, but you have admitted to posting under other names as well as “anonymous”.

    For Christ’s sake at least be honest when you’re caught.

  108. anonymous
    May 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Fi do you think I am Tra?

  109. May 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    You can’t just hang a sign out on the freeway dummy. You really do lead an ignorant life Freddy Boy,

    I never said they could. I just said they don’t need a billboard. You need some work on your reading comprehension and critical thinking.

  110. May 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    You are not Tra, but you have admitted to posting under other names as well as “anonymous”.

    For Christ’s sake at least be honest when you’re caught.

    Ha! HiFi’s hypocricy knows no bounds.

  111. Traveler
    May 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    HiFi, I confess. I am not Mitch nor is Mitch me. I am the stinging bee. You are the horse’s ass I cannot resist.

  112. 2 cents
    May 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    God – I’m glad I haven’t got a classroom like this! What a bunch of brats! Well, some of us……

  113. Mitch
    May 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    HiFi,

    Your grip on reality is fading. I’ve admitted no such thing. Must be one of my pseudonyms who’s admitted it.

    I’m perfectly content calling you a horse’s ass under this name; no need to worry I’m hiding incivility under others.

  114. Jr
    May 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I believe the Hamburger Ranch sign on US101 is for their role in the Adopt a Highway program. So their “billboard” is state sanctioned because of their support of this program.

  115. Indica Jones
    May 5, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Why are people worried about the wetlands? I thought global warming was going to turn half the world into wetlands. Or is it the other way round? It’s hard to keep up with all the hysterical predictions. Build the by-pass. Willits is a friggin nightmare to drive through most times of day. It takes 20-30 minutes of slow crawling, gas wasting, CO2 producing time to get through that little town. I’m sure EPIC and the rest of the blood sucking enviro-racket law firms will tie the project up in court for a decade, costing taxpayers money and disrupting lives, but that’s how they make a living. Lawyers have to eat too.

  116. Anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Must suck to be you, indica jones, to be somebody who ares so much more about getting across willits a few minutes faster, than having a freeway’s worth of wetlands thriving on the planet instead. I really don’t want somebody like you making decisions for the rest of us. And you are lying. It takes all of about five minutes to drive through the entire town 99% of the day.

  117. Anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 7:05 am

    The sollution to the overpopulation crisis is clearly to keep increasing the number and size of the roads, as is clearly illustrated in these several thousand pictures:

    http://tinyurl.com/7wumalc

    The world is flat, after all. People can just keep wiping out as much natural open space as they want, there’s always more somewhere else, forever.

  118. anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Indica Jones we are talking about traveling in automobiles not pushing a shopping cart.

  119. High Finance
    May 5, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Anyone who says “It takes all of about five minutes to drive throught the entire town of Willits” shouldn’t be calling anybody else a liar.

    The only way to make it in five minutes is if you are going 60 miles an hour (in a 25-35 zone) and blowing through the red lights.

  120. anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Got to call you on that one High Finance. You are full of shit, a liar and should not try to sling that kind of BS. Your biggest mistake is thinking everyone else has YOUR low level of I Q.

  121. anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Good one anon 7:05 am. Funny, sad and true.

  122. High Finance
    May 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Wow 11.37am your eloquence & use of facts are quite impressive. Your Momma must be so proud of you.

    Apparently you have never driven south on Highway 101.

  123. Anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    “The only way to make it in five minutes is if you are going 60 miles an hour (in a 25-35 zone) and blowing through the red lights.”

    Are we talking about the same road supposedly requiring a complete freeway bypass? You are wrong, sir. It takes all of about five minutes to effectively pass through town, and well enough through the area that gets congested during “rush hour” (those poor souls who have to live in willits, of all places). Stop supporting more unecessary and costly construction at the expense of more open space. It can’t be replaced. Ever.

    The only real beneficiaries of this project, like so many other caltrans projects, are the very people sponsering it. Such has been the case all over the state forever. One only has to look with their own eyes. None of it happened in a day. Both “sides” of the issue who are rooted in the area should want to protect their investments. Less freeway toward a more rewarding destination = success for everybody. The physical infrastructure we’re paying to build, that despite much contempt is at the increasing cost of our public services, should reflect an understanding of the necessary simplified future we need to create, not the inevitable bleak future they are continuing to build.

  124. Anonymous
    May 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Fi you are a dunce. Unfortunately you are not alone. Hence we have Caltrans and few stupid supporters. Charlie Fielder sits in his office acting like Mr. goody two shoes. He is a pantywaist hypocrite pretending to be a good guy. I resent paying his salary.

  125. High Finance
    May 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I can only state 1.41pm that you are a liar.

    Only a fool, or one who thinks the Herald readers are fools, would state you can make it through Willits in five minutes.

  126. Anonymous
    May 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

    you are a trolling liar, high finance. The area they claim to require an entire freeway bypass is less than 3 miles long, 7 minutes travel @ speed limit. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

    That’s all day, then there’s “rush hour” willits style. The “congestion” during rush hour spans less than a mile and includes school pickup. For that Caltrans wants to permanently obliterate more of Dog’s Green Earth. You are an inconsiderate fake and a constant liar.

  127. Anonymous
    May 6, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Meh, I can’t make a link to the google maps. Start north of town, past the old weigh station if you want, and south around where the speed limit drops to 45. That’s not even 3 miles. The area of congestion is not even half that. One would have to have no sense of the natural world to want to build a freeway around the town. One would have to be insane to say there’s any kind of problem that requires it. Time for the state and city planners to do their jobs, put on their thinking caps for a change and stop just razing more land as their sollution to everything.

  128. High Finance
    May 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I shudder to think you people really exist.

    Getting through Willits without breaking the law takes at least 15 to 20 minutes, longer if it is rush hour. Much of the town is a 25 mph zone and some is at 35. It is only 45 for the part immediately before & after the city limits. There are a number of stop lights. The road through town has to be at least 5 miles if not longer.

    I never timed it or measured it because I never thought I would be arguing with idiots about something so stupid.

  129. Anonymous
    May 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

    use your internet skills and map it, liar. About 3 miles, then you’re doing 50-55 again without hassle. Not that there’s ever any hassle traveling through town either way. You argue for me…yes, the section that’s less than 45mph is even less than what I’ve said. I make the drive all the time, dipshit. The plan to build a freeway is crazy, period. You have NO respect for the environment.

  130. May 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I make the drive all the time myself. I agree with HiFi. It’s more than 5 minutes even on a good day. I’ve spent a half hour to 45 minutes, or more, trying to get through Willits driving through at 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon during the summer months.

    It’s that bottleneck at Burger King that really screws things up.

  131. Anonymous
    May 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

    http://maps.google.com/maps?num=30&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=willits,+ca&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x80818b0b29921bb3:0xc85d711b54770f0a,Willits,+CA&gl=us&ei=WrKmT5qpH-qtiAK1h5zgAg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CEgQ8gEwAA

    Only the biggest morons in the world with no regard for what the future has in store for society regarding population, transportation and open space would think of permanently slicing a freeway around willits…or in this case money-hungry moguls who don’t seem to care either way.

  132. Don't waste the taxes
    May 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    High Finance and Fred Mangles are both known to stretch the truth into lies when their arguments do not hold water.

  133. Anonymous
    May 6, 2012 at 10:51 am

    On the plus side, I’ll stumble across Fred’s obituary someday. How old are you, Fred? How soon you think? You’ve become just another counterproductive waste of resources. “Fred Mangles, he championed more freeway for us all”…what a thing to be proud of. His grandchildren will look at his writing with shame.

  134. Reasonable
    May 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Bypass around Willits, elevated over
    wetlands with high-speed rail component
    Cloverdale to Marin.

  135. Anonymous
    May 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    So I was in ukiah the other day…wait, no I wasn’t, the freeway bypasses the whole place, and this country’s booming economy is sucking the pleasant out of that city quick. Ask ukiah’s businesses if they’d like to see the kind of traffic that travels through downtown willits pass through downtown ukiah instead. It’s not even close to a freeway’s worth of traffic, after all. The project is caltrans payday business as usual.

    Easiest way to bury the future with more of the same problems we were all born into: keep building stuff that doesn’t need to exist, keep packing people in, keep wiping out natural space. No brainer. Supporters of this and the richardson grove improvement project are not forward thinking.

  136. High Finance
    May 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

    10.12am and 10.38am (are they the same person?) should learn the old adage “when you’re in a hole, stop digging”. You have been shown to be, not just a moron but a moron who cannot admit to being wrong. You have been humiliated and you just can’t stop.

    Even if it was 3 miles (which it isn’t) in order to make it in 5 minutes you would have to average 36 miles per hour to make it through town.

    Then you have to allow for the good part of town that is posted at 25mph and the three or four stoplights and for traffic.

    Now disappear again sonny and stop bothering the grownups.

  137. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

    The map calculates the speed limit, generously on the side of safety (not familiar with internetz?). 7 minutes through the entire town, that’s even south of where the speed limit drops to 45mph and north of the weigh station, plenty after the speed limit goes back up.

  138. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

    High Finance is a liar.

  139. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Mortality has its merits, high finance will be joining fred in the infinite ever after soon enough, then forgotten forever. Nobody will remember them specifically, only as among the idiots who blessed us with more pavement and less nature.

  140. Thorstein Veblen
    May 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

    My initial response was mainly self-interested, i.e., I dislike going thru Willits, especially if there is something going on that backs up the traffic. But after going back thru this thread, I’m wondering more about the pollution aspect (not wetlands). So; is it more harmful, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, to crawl along in your vehicle for, say, a half hour, idling amidst the caravan of other vehicles for most of that time, v. driving thru at say, 60 mph, for five minutes? Or is it about the same?

    Opinions are fine, but if anybody can point to any factual info, that would be even better.

  141. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Thor, here’s some illustrated facts about the long term aspects of projects like this:

    http://tinyurl.com/clpfofm

    …and imagine what used to be there instead. And remember gasoline is only going to get more expensive. We’ll add you to the list of those who would rather rally support for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on stuff like freeways rather than on schools, police, health, public transportation, fire departments, etc. etc. etc. In the long term, thorstein, you will not be missed either.

  142. Thorstein Veblen
    May 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Well, in the long run, I suppose that none of us will be missed.

    And, most of your pictures are what Willits looks like now. Only one lane.

    I get it that road expansion may not fix problems of congestion, and may in fact make it worse. Except in Willits. In that one place, it will fix a problem.

    And I get it that money for that road might better be used for other purposes. But it is a fantasy to think it would get spent on schools, police, etc., it will get spent on roads in LA if we don’t use it here.

    Finally, I get that we drive way too much for our world to absorb all the side-effects. But as long as gas is cheap and plentiful, way below its actual cost, thats how it is going to be. Until you figure out how to fix that, fighting a road thru Willits is equivalent to jerking off. Makes you feel good for a while but has no lasting effect on anything else.

  143. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Thorstein “gets it” but, as usual, ultimately just wants to insult anybody who is vocally against the monumental waste that it is.

  144. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    “Until you figure out how to fix that, fighting a road thru Willits is equivalent to jerking off.”

    No. You are intentionally trolling. You acknowledge the monumental waste, but ultimately still just want to insult anybody who is vocally against it.

  145. Thorstein Veblen
    May 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Yeah, maybe. I just like the bypass, 2 lane or 4 lane. Using big picture arguments against it aren’t compelling to me given the little picture setting of this project.

  146. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 12:59 am

    you’re a sad soul, thorstein.

  147. Dan
    May 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

    In the long-run the ‘ecological’ approach
    is a bypass. For thru traffic especially
    80 thousand pound loads (interstate).
    Excellent opportunity for CalTrans to exhibit
    its 21st century enviro-engineering skills.
    High-speed people mover combined with wetland recognition
    will allow Willits to escape strip-mall hell that we call 101.
    Eureka is no different.

    Question- A big-rig say 80,000 lbs driving through Eureka,
    is unlucky with red lights, how many times does the driver
    stop and have to start his load again? Lunacy.

  148. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

    “In the long-run the ‘ecological’ approach is a bypass.”

    Obviously not, obviously never: http://tinyurl.com/clpfofm

    In the long run, nobody is happy about this: http://tinyurl.com/boj8ntk

    http://tinyurl.com/bovdug9

    Supporters of the project amount to the buggy whip salesmen of today (if you’re familiar with the analogy). The world can’t handle the endless river of pavement the big movers of this country have been dumping all over the planet. The world desperately needs several centuries for natural spaces to rejuvinate.

  149. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Obviously, dan, as every two and four lane freeway proves, the ecological approach is NOT to cater to a destructive way of life.

  150. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Does anyone out there have a picture of this specific wetland? I bet High Finance and a few others don’t even know what a wetland is. They probably drive right on by not understanding anything about our natural world.

  151. RefFan
    May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    If you were so concerned for the enviro Anon, why arent you down in the big cities stopping construction and growth. Projects like this are tiny compared to what is happening down there. You’re just being asinine.

  152. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

    “why arent you down in the big cities stopping construction and growth”

    If you’re so unconcerned, why don’t you move? Your lack of care won’t be missed around here, far away from the cities.

  153. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    RefFan you don’t realize that all the wetlands are gone in the big cities and that is why is is so important to save what is left. It is too late for the big cities but not for Willits. You are beyond asinine you just don’t have a brain.

  154. RefFan
    May 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I know what is important & what is a waste of time. This is my home & Willits is not. I’ll leave it up to those locals to do whats best

  155. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    RafFan, do you pay taxes? Maybe you don’t. If you are a tax payer you should care. And what a brainless creature you are not to care about the planet you inhabit.

  156. 2 cents
    May 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Relfan (and Thorstein and Hi-fi) don’t inhabit, they inhibit! Blech.
    I’ll try a haiku in the traditional 5-7-5 format:

    Driving through Willits
    Or kill thousands of creatures?
    Spare the damn wetlands!

    I can’t believe you guys……

  157. Anonymous
    May 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I read that in January, Caltrans was forced by a lawsuit to rescind project approval and cancel construction of the first phase of an 80 million highway widening “Safety” project in Niles Canyon, Alameda County that Caltrans now admits is not needed.

  158. Anonymous
    May 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Cal Trans likes to pave over open space when there are no roads to repair. Like any big business they have to stay open no matter what.

  159. Anonymous
    May 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    8:14, yep. It was a very clear cut case of Caltrans playing nanny state without anybody’s consent, claiming they needed what would amount to over $100 million for a project nobody asked for in the first place, simply because they said the existing road isn’t “safe” (not being a highway, they couldn’t play the STAA card, the tried and true “safety” ploy is their only gun). Caltrans isn’t very popular all over the state. They want to lay pavement, that’s what they do. They want to do it using money that could and should go to several more popular public services at a time instead…services that are, ironically, constantly on the chopping block. Follow the money.

  160. Anonymous
    May 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    How about the newest news, Northern California Representatives telling the House of Representatives to support a transportation jobs bill?

    “We need to put politics aside and work across the aisle to put folks back to work,”

    This is instead of putting politics aside to work across the aisle and use that money to reopen schools, post offices, medical clinics etc. for genuine long term career jobs instead. I used to like George Miller, thought of him as an environmentalist, but he’s become a typical blowhard.

    ” Investing in our infrastructure will create thousands of good-paying jobs”

    TEMPORARY “good paying” jobs, until there’s nothing left to build. But they can always think fo something to build whether anybody needs it or not. “Investing in infrastructure”, building just for building’s sake, is so far ass backwards these politicians are talking out of the wrong orifice.

    The craziness needs to stop. It’s only going to become more obvious, the more they continue to bury us in debt, pollution, increased cost of living, etc. etc. etc. etc. This is VERY bad news, that “our” representatives are calling for this. Is it any surprise they’re always seen at cocktail parties with transportation insiders?

  161. anonymous
    May 11, 2012 at 1:36 am

    I am calling the governors office tomorrow and tell them to put a leash on Caltrans the tax eating nightmare that is ruining the State of California. Hope others do the same. I don’t think the rest of the state knows about us up here in this beautiful and mostly unspoiled part of the world.

  162. High Finance
    May 11, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Once “anonymous” 1.36am calls the Governor I am sure the entire state government will come to a halt and reverse course.

    One question, will you give your name to them or just call yourself “Anonymous” there as well ?

  163. Mitch
    May 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

    1:36,

    Don’t call yourself “Anonymous.” Call yourself “High Finance,” so everyone will know who you are They’ll snap to attention.

  164. Sam Asalway
    May 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    A friend said “there are four Huchnom sites eligible for the NRHP that the Willits Bypass will destroy”.

  165. anonymous
    May 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Sam do you have more info on these National Register of Historic Places – sites?

  166. Sunny
    May 20, 2012 at 11:23 am

    @8:58

    I don’t know if these are the latest documents, as these were prepared before the preferred alternative was selected, but this is what I found with a quick google/pdf search.

    From http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/willits/chapter234.pdf p95

    “Of the 25 archaeological sites identified originally, 18 are within
    and three are adjacent to the more recently defined study area. The archaeological sites within the study area include 4 historic, 10 prehistoric, and 4 sites with both prehistoric and historic components.”

    From http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/willits/chapter5.pdf p158

    “Based on coordination with interested Native American tribes and studies performed for cultural resources (Section 5.8), no archaeological properties or portions of historic properties that are eligible for the NRHP, or traditional cultural properties
    would be impacted by the project. However, archaeological properties have been identified within the APE that are potentially eligible for the NRHP and may require further investigation.”

  167. Sunny
    May 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Also, for those who are interested, the contract has gone out to bid:

    http://www.willitsnews.com/ci_20654460/willits-bypass-out-bid-few-county-contractors-interested

    CalTrans also released a statement about about the lawsuit (which, btw, does not seem to challenge archaeological findings):

    http://www.redwoodtimes.com/garbervillenews/ci_20574929/caltrans-issues-statement-regarding-willits-bypass

  168. Anonymous
    May 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    “which reviewed and approved the project mitigation measures”

    …though did not, in any way, express or imply support for the project itself. They essentially did what they were paid to do, as they would have done for any organization, as though nothing wrong were to be done by the organization, because the organization was not providing any incorrect information. Do you follow?

    However, the reports they submitted have been proven to contain key elements of falsified information. Coming from an organization that is what Caltrans claims itself to be, and as important as the established process is for the very reason of protecting natural life on earth, such an act is unacceptable public relations on any level to say the least.

    Despite the obvious detriment to our environment, Caltrans will conveniently add that much more real estate to its corporate portfolio, and growing influence of regional power.

    Why oh why, in this day and age would anybody with a sane cell in their brain use it to rationalize the permanent addition of more permanent over what would be extinct natural space?

    There’s no reason on any level whatsoever to further invest in more freeway. It’s literally physically harmful to everything. By the very nature of what it is to completely and permanently destroy more untampered earth, Caltrans does infinitely more harm than to consider their “improvement projects” as such. Things like “let’s just shove a new four lane freeway through those hills and that marsh and those fields and that creek and connect it to the other part of the freeway where we want to shove a little more freeway through a clump of really old redwood trees. They think of these things as “improvements”. They insist upon it, and not ask but demand money to construct their reality. Insanity!

    Caltrans can and should stick to maintenance, they could stabilize as an organization, it would benefit everybody who already has a job with them. instead they continue to mandate their own growth, govern an increasing amount of land use, and produce unecessary, and grosslly misnomered “improvement projects” on financially tanking communities all over the state. They should leave the social and geoengineering to people who would rather be able to walk everywhere, and be happy to do it. They should be happy to give back as much money as these unecessary “improvements” cost everybody instead.

    more freeway = dumbest idea ever.

  169. Enviro Facts
    October 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    What so many of fail to realize is what is being done to offset the area that will be disturbed by construction. First; the creeks in that valley were changed decades ago into channelized streams that follow property lines, some straight as an arrow, natural stream channel? I think not; let’s talk about this “wetland” there is almost no natural wetlands left in the valley – the cattle have been grazing, tromping, polluting creeks with their waste, and eating all the wetland plants down to bare soil – over Hundreds of acres in the valley – that will be stopped and the land can go back to a more natural state. CT is planning on restoring that grazing land to natural wetlands and get rid of the cattle – oh, you didn’t know that did you?

    They are also going to remove barriers to fish migration caused by the channelization of the creeks and the unnatural amount of trees, brush and man made junk that regularly clog up the creeks and block fish from getting to spawning areas. the mile long raised viaduct will also create wetland just like the viaducts near Sac. – those have successfully provided habitat for waterfowl and amphibians, beneficial microscopic life, etc.

    For everyone who doesn’t know what they are talking about, it’s easy to get emotional… and say they are going to “Destroy” wetlands – or do you mean wet cow pastures?

    And lets talk about the fact that it can take 20-30 minutes to go a couple of miles through downtown – did you think about all that extra smog from cars that are stuck in traffic for an extra 15-20 minutes? and what about all the oil and grease that comes off those same cars stuck there in traffic…I could go on and on with things that the environmentalists don’t talk about or simply just don’t know what they are talking about.
    I am Very much in favor of protecting the environment, so get your facts straight before you jump on the band wagon – The money to build this was set aside many years ago, long before the State went broke, so they are not “taking” it from anyone, and they already own the land…

    Us locals are also very tired of the extra traffic, extra pollution,noise and the waste of time being stuck in traffic just to go a mile or two. Do you want Willits to stay in the 1960s? this is called progress people – and you can’t stop it.

  170. steak n eggs
    October 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    The EPICs are looking for another payday bro. They will find something insignificant and trivial that is lacking in the EIR and a liberal judge will see fit to pay them for their services to this great state. Thanks EPIC for saving us from ourselves.

  171. Enviro Facts
    October 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Yup, the only ones profiting from this are the flippin EPIC attorneys…

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