A trucker’s perspective on widening Hwy 101

This is regarding the Caltrans Hwy 199 / 197 / 101 STAA Truck Access DEIR.

I am an experienced long haul (Truck Load) truck driver with a current Class A TX license. I have delivered freight using Hwy 199 and Hwy 101 for many years by sliding the trailer axles to within 40 feet of the rear axle/kingpin setting required and driving a short wheel base cab-over tractor. This has allowed me to see the roads in question at all times of the year.

I want to point out that the planned changes to the truck access rules will result in a huge increase in truck traffic and probable road damage for a very simple reason, namely greatly reduced chain requirements.

Truck drivers hate to chain their trucks needlessly. Using Interstate Route I-5 very frequently requires truck drivers to chain their trucks and trailers because of snow. This can happen as many as seven different times on a trip from the middle of Oregon to the middle of California. This chaining is easily dodged if one is allowed, as I have been, to use US Highway 101 instead of I-5. One could easily imagine many times more trucks per hour on the proposed route in heavy snow if the planned changes are implemented. This does not take into account what would happen to the traffic numbers if I-5 closed for snow or an accident as it often does.

A study could quickly and easily be done on the impact of the proposal by counting the number of trucks that pass any given I-5 mile marker verses the number of trucks that currently pass any given mile marker on US 101. I believe the variance would be shocking.

This change in road usage is important because Caltrans finds it difficult to maintain these roads now. With a huge increase of trucks with winter weather, I think maintaining the roads would be impossible.

I would also like to point out that the so called “Mandatory Safety Exemptions” in the proposed STAA Truck Access DEIR would allow trucks to partially enter the on-coming traffic lanes and track off the road in spots. This is not a good idea as seen by current guardrail damage and the Hwy 199 accident history.

James R Barrett
Crescent City, CA

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