Caltrans is proposing to spend $210 million to bulldoze a six-mile, four-lane freeway the size of Interstate 5 around the community of Willits, in Mendocino County, California. The project would cause unnecessary environmental damage to the Little Lake Valley and its increasingly rare wetlands, salmon-bearing streams and endangered plants.
The Little Lake Valley is then drained by Outlet Creek, a mighty 130-mile headwaters tributary of the Eel River, and provides the longest remaining run for the endangered Coho salmon of any river tributary in California.
The project would fill more than 86 acres of wetlands and require the largest wetlands fill permit in Northern California in the last 50 years!
To learn more about the importance of wetlands, click here to read, “California’s Wetlands: A Briefing.”
Caltrans’ antiquated project is not needed for the traffic volumes through Willits. A 1998 Caltrans study found that 70-80 percent of traffic causing congestion in downtown Willits was local traffic; the bypass would only divert 20%-30% of Willits’ Main Street traffic.
There are alternatives to reduce traffic congestion in Willits including: internal street connections, bike paths, safe crosswalks, improved intersection performance, and better local public transit that would be able serve the needs of the interregional traffic and reduce construction impacts, time, and cost.
EPIC joined conservation partners in filing a lawsuit in April 2012 challenging the Willits Bypass. Caltrans must consider alternatives that do not fill wetlands, harm endangered species and respects the local community.
Alternatives to the Willits ByPass:
EPIC joined conservation partners, Willits Environmental Center, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club, in filing a lawsuit in April 2012 challenging the Willits Bypass. Caltrans must consider alternatives that do not fill wetlands, harm endangered species and respects the local community.
UPDATE (November 1, 2012)
UPDATE (January 15, 2013)
UPDATE (January 17, 2013)
UPDATE (January 28, 2013)
UPDATE (January 30, 2013)