The Willits Freeway and other future projects were discussed at a public meeting held February 1957 in Eureka. (Photo and caption provided courtesy of Caltrans)
This is part two of Lost Coast Outpost’s three-part series on the Willits Bypass. While every effort was made to ensure this story is unbiased (both sides had the opportunity to rebut the other side) it should be noted that reporter Kym Kemp’s father and grandfather worked for Caltrans and she is married to a Caltrans Project Manager.
Today’s focus will be on the reasons against putting in the bypass. Phil Frisbie, a Caltrans’ spokesperson, will rebut.
Against: Point 1. The bypass costs too much money.
David Drell worries about scarce resources being used on the bypass when other, more important projects are unfunded. He calls the project a “colossal waste.”
His wife, Ellen Drell, agrees: “One of the things that is causing the state to be in financial trouble is a transportation department that is out of control.” She alleges, “There is a 300 billion dollar backlog of maintenance projects.” The money spent on the bypass, she believes, would be better spent on fixing those issues rather than building this one project.
Furthermore, she argues, “This project is being paid for by bond money. That means it is going to cost many times more than the original price tag because you always have to pay back with interest.”
Phil Frisbie, Jr., Caltrans spokesperson, responds by saying that while “$210 million is the total cost to develop the project and mitigation,” it would cost less than that if funding for phase 2 were available right now. He adds that the longer it takes for the project to be funded, “the higher [the cost ] is likely to be be due toinflation.”
Friday, May 17: 18 felonies, 18 misdemeanors, 0 infractions
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Tomorrow
Boulder Rd / Lake Earl Dr (Crescent City office): Traffic Hazard
3060 Mckinleyville Ave (Humboldt office): Trfc Collision-No Inj
Table Bluff Rd / Hookton Rd (Humboldt office): Car Fire
Crawford Rd / Foothill Blvd (Garberville office): Trfc Collision-1141 Enrt
Us101 / Mm101 (Crescent City office): Trfc Collision-Unkn Inj
Willits News: Guilty pleas piling up in Kansas-Mendo federal drug case
Marin Independent Journal: Greenbrae bust yields $200,000 cash, 300 pounds of pot
Del Norte Triplicate: Crescent City principal charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
Battle for Hearts and Minds Heats Up On Willits Bypass: Caltrans Puts Up Website and Anti-Bypass Crowd Offers Nude Photo Shoot
The Willits Bypass issue is heating up. The scheduled Caltrans’ project which proposes to put in a road around Willits to the east has local environmental groups up in arms. A tree sitter, the Warbler, has occupied a large pine tree in the affected area. LoCO has approached both environmentalists and Caltrans and is in the process of gathering information in order to present a solid factual piece about the scheduled work.
Meanwhile, here is a quick update. Those opposed to the Willits Bypass have plans to shoot a nude photo similar to this one taken in Richardson Grove. (Found here on the Wild California site.) The photo, which enchanted many, is part of the Tree Spirit Project which consists of many fine art photos by Jack Gescheidt that are themed around nudity and nature. The Tree Spirit photo shoot will occur this Saturday. For more information go here.
Caltrans has just put up a new blog with “the latest official news and information regarding the Willits Bypass Project.” The most recent post is “The Bypass is Good for the Children.” The post argues that removing traffic (particularly diesel trucks) improves air quality and protects the lungs of children.
Caltrans Press Release:
Caltrans announced today that a new website is available offering the latest official news and information regarding the Willits Bypass Project. The Willits Bypass Project News, located at willitsbypass.wordpress.com, will include news releases, multimedia content, and will address trending questions and common misconceptions about the project. It is mobile phone friendly and has a subscription feature which allows subscribers to receive an email notification of new posts.
The Willits Bypass Project will relieve congestion, reduce delays, and improve safety for traffic and pedestrians along U.S. Route 101 through Willits in Mendocino County. This $210 million highway improvement project is funded by $136 million in Proposition 1B funds, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond.
Please direct comments or content suggestions regarding the Willits Bypass Project News to Phil Frisbie, Jr., Public Information Officer, at 707-441-4678