Highway 101 north of San Francisco traverses land 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:
- March 30, 2011, there was a huge landslide that closed Highway 101 for several days just north of Redway, Ca;
- There was a 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
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, Humboldt County 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.
From the city of West Sacramento, “In the Spring of 2007, based upon staff’s recommendations, the City Council approved modifications to the Municipal Code to expand designated STAA routes within the city. Since then, issues have arisen which necessitated a review of city truck routes. The business owners, the public and the Police Department reported issues with STAA trucks traveling along streets that could not accommodate their size, resulting in damage to public facilities such as sidewalks, medians, signing, traffic signals and other street furniture.”
Can Humboldt County on the North Coast bear the weight of these STAA trucks?