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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chock Full of Info: Letter to Jerry Brown from Barbara Kennedy

To Humboldt County Supervisors:

It should be obvious that Highway 101 traverses land that is geologically sensitive. The Franciscan formation underlies our area - it is porous, allowing water to penetrate and loosen its soil and rocks - as a result, it slides. CALTRANS is barely able to keep Highway 101 open. I refer not just to the slide north of Redway but also to the large slipout north of Redcrest that has taken years to repair, and the huge slide along the Ridgewood grade between Willets and Ukiah. This is a highway that is prone to failure and will continue to fail.

In spite of these facts, CALTRANS is embarked on a multifacted project to widen and straighten the major arteries (199,197,299 and 101) leading to and from our area to allow access by STAA trucks, thus creating a network of alternate routes to I-5. Although CALTRANS claims that more truck traffic will not ensue, this flies in the face of reason - millions of dollars have been allocated to these projects for this very purpose.

STAA trucks are not only unlimited in length but they will be heavier as well if the trucking industry succeeds in its lobbying efforts in Congress to increase the weight limit from 80,000 lbs. to 97,000 lbs.

STAA trucks will not stay exclusively on the highway - they will leave the highway on terminal access routes and service access routes - in other words, into our neighborhoods and onto our local roads. The cost of maintenance of our local roads is borne by Humboldt County taxpayers, not the Federal or State governments.

The County is presently unable to maintain the local roads. The condition of these roads approaches those of an undeveloped, third world country. Yet, in spite of all these obvious facts, Supervisors remain in lock-step as to their approval of the Richardson Grove and 197/199 projects as communicated to CALTRANS in a Consent Calendar agenda item without any public opportunity for comment on September 9, 2008 and vigorously reiterated ever since.

Highway 101 is NOT Interstate 5. We do not need, want, or can afford larger, heavier trucks on Highway 101, in our neighborhoods, or on our local roads. It is time that the Humboldt County Supervisors stand up for the best interests of the citizens of Humboldt County and oppose the CALTRANS projects.

Very truly yours, Barbara Kennedy

1 comment:

  1. Barbara Kennedy sent a similar letter to the Humboldt Board of Supervisors on April 2, 2011.


    Thanks Barbara. I know that opponents of the Richardson Grove project have a variety of concerns, and are not necessarily in agreement as to the preferred alternatives. I'm sure you're aware that one of the alternatives that has been suggested by some opponents would be to have controlled, one-way traffic through the grove. While this would carry it's own impacts (noise, exhaust and light pollution from lines of idling vehicles) it would still allow STAA trucks through. I believe that RORO (roll-on, roll-off) truck service that might be offered by the Short Sea Shipping proposal would also accomodate STAA trucks. Do you have any thoughts on these or other alternatives?


    Hi Mark ... thanks for the response. First of all let me point out that CALTRANS has circumvented the correct, lawful and democratic CEQA process by "piece-mealing" this overarching project into discrete segments (i.e. Big Lagoon, Richardson Grove, 197/199 and 299). This is all one big project with one big objective which is to provide STAA access to the North Coast and open alternate routes to Interstate 5.

    As a result, no cumulative effects analysis has been done by CALTRANS , as it should have been, and no opportunity has been given to the public to understand or critique those cumulative effects - and there are plenty of them which the project opponents have tried to bring to the fore for serious consideration to no avail.

    With the project to straighten 299 already underway which will give access to I-5, there is actually absolutely no justification for either the 197/199 or the Richardson Grove projects.

    It is hard to believe that not one elected official has the gumption to stand up to CALTRANS against the environmental destruction that they will wreck with these projects. With access to I-5 via 299, trucks can roll on and off the Marine Highway to Interstate 5 and go north or south over the I-5 corridor. Let CALTRANS add lanes to I-5 if necessary to accommodate the goat cheese lady, the cattlemen, et. al. Highway 101 should not be a route for these larger trucks (and they will get larger and heavier.)

    Those are my thoughts on the alternatives - drop the 197/199 and Richardson Grove projects - they are unnecessary, shamefully expensive, and destructive to the environment and to the North Coast.

    Regards, Barbara


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