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Willits Bypass Project to Go Into Suspension

From Caltrans’s website...


On June 20, 2014, the US Army Corps of Engineers suspended Caltrans’ permit to construct the Willits Bypass Project. The costs to keep contractor crews on standby and other delay costs have added an estimated $800,000 to the Willits Bypass Project from June 20 through July 7, and are accumulating at about $100,000 per day. Due to these costs, Caltrans has notified our contractors that we intend to suspend work effective July 8 at the end of the day’s work until the Corps’ permit suspension is lifted. This was not an easy decision, but with the mounting costs and uncertainty from the Corps of when they might lift the suspension, Caltrans had to reduce the escalating costs to taxpayers.

Bypasspic2Over the past two weeks since the Corps suspended our permit, Caltrans has tried to balance our commitment to build this important interregional project by keeping contractor employees and equipment on standby versus the mounting costs to taxpayers. At this time suspending work is the right thing to do to help control the increasing costs. Last week 45 trade workers were laid off and another 55 will be laid off due to suspension of work. These 100 workers will likely leave the Willits area along with their wages and their contribution to the local economy.

Only a few contractor employees will remain onsite to complete a road to be used as a future detour of US Highway 101, maintain a water diversion in order to protect fish, and to be ready to handle any other pressing issues that may arise. Caltrans continues to schedule meetings with the Corps and is working to get the suspension lifted as quickly as possible.


  1. Jim Updegraff July 7, 2014

    Everybody is to blame except Caltrans. Why don’t they just man up or woman up and admit they created the problem and are working to correct it. This Region of Caltrans is really a bunch of clowns.

    • Lazarus July 7, 2014

      Word is they won’t be back this season, even with a permit. Once again the people get screwed, all parties knew the issues before this mess started. This could be political too, doubt if the enviro has 100% here, but Congressman Huffman has had a significant impact in this suspension, and after all…… he’s a enviro lawyer on the side…..Bottom line, nobody really wins, voting public will want a horn wearer, sooner or later….could end up very local for the 3rd District.

  2. C.Swan July 7, 2014

    Right now, (Monday July 7, 2014 at 7 pm) on KZYX community radio, Val Muchowski is talking to Priscilla Hunter, Coyote Valley’s representative in government to government consultations with Caltrans and who is trying to stop the destruction of ancient Little Lake Pomo village sites in the project area of the Willits Bypass. Per Val, Priscilla Hunter may also include an update on her lawsuit that enjoined the Navy war preparedness exercises off the coast. Coyote Valley has passed a tribal resolution to enter into government to government consultations.

  3. Alex Harter July 7, 2014

    Yeah, CalTrans screwed up. Repeat ad infinitum. But would they admit this point? they’re part of Government, you figure it out. I’m only consoled that “corporate” interests are at “Best,” a minority – like 10% – of the “reason,” for the effort at Destruction, that’s gone-into, this “construction,” of CalTrans’ Bypass Around Willits.

    Regardless of the Real “reasonS,” mostly-Governmental, for this – “inter-regional” “traffic,” my butt, LA has Far more, real traffic, besides which, Highways /Freeways – pavement & even rails, generally – Don’t help traffic, Enough – smarter urban planning is needed. Hell, non-fossil -fuel -dependent, human energy – or even “alternatives,” including non-human labor, or otherwise-converting human labor into bicycles and Animal labor to be explicit, on the other-extreme – is the Only way to even-continue, to exist, let-alone launch rockets to “colonize” (visit and plant a flag, on, currently is Still the modus operandi, just check G.W. Bush II’s, “plan” for Mars “colonization,” Seriously, it’s in the funding) the Moon, et. al. of the “future.”

    We’re already in the future. Get over oneself: we work together, or opt-out; either way, we get-closer -to one-another, and /or die.

  4. izzy July 8, 2014

    Ah, the Bypass. Again. This thing will likely prove to be the F-35 of highway projects.

  5. polly girvin July 8, 2014

    …not all parties knew of the problems from the beginning
    Caltrans through very poor field surveying only identified one archaeological site in the project area that they deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places….now they have identified 26 more. Local tribes did attempt to initiate goverent to government consultations but the Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans hid behind each others backs and did not come to the table for over a year. Also though tribal reps insisted to Caltrans that a known ancient village site was in the project area Caltrans said it was not on their map of sites and then proceeded to destroy the site….and all they had to say was oops we had it mishapped. They also recently destroyed a known archaeological site to trench a pipeline for the cows that will be able to graze in the project area in perpetuity…..many sites were not properly fenced for protection from ground disturbing activities…we are beginning to feel that Caltrans just decided to intentionally destroy arch sites to just get the project as currently designed completed. Caltrans is only 45%the done on their efforts to now properly survey the boundaries of the newly discovered culturally significant arch sites….plus they will inevitably discover more when ground disturbing activities resume…the State Office of Historic Preservation is now considering deeming the entire project area an “archaeological district” due to the presence of so many arch sites. They as well as the Federal Highway Admoistration rubber stamped that not more than the 1 archaeological site was involved that was eligible for registry…oops again is all we hear. So do not blame the Tribes…or act like they did not try to intervene.u

    • Lazarus July 8, 2014

      Please, the likes
      you and others never touched the Native American issue until it became haplessly apparent that was about all you had. All you had to maintain a presence in the rants and raves condemning CalTrans, the State, and anyone else in authority. You and the likes of you are no different then the Tea party crazies who dress up in old cloths, hold the Constitution in one hand and the Bible in the other while packing a 9mm Glock under your shirt……As a Native American I personally am offended by your use of my race to promote your agendas….Ginning up the tribe for this…? I can think of many more issues far more relevant than a few pieces of charcoal in the valley……The idea the tribes spent significant time in that place is insulting. Anyone who has lived around LLV knows the valley flooded in the rainy season…….Home was on higher ground, something the defenders of the tribe seem to have bypassed….
      This is exactly what it appears to be, a ruse designed to exploit the Natives to further the agendas of the cause… hopeless and hapless as it is…… You that lawyer from Berk…..?

      • Alex Harter July 8, 2014

        Jeez, Laz, if you don’t mind me saying “jeez” (no, I’m not Religious, nor even “spiritual”), the only reason she mentioned Nat. Am’n. tribes is that this Entire area had a Similar (say 15K now? at least 10K, then, confirmed-already – and realize the sites have been poorly /not-studied) Population, of “them” /”you.” Hey, yeah, you plural, “oh.”

        Try not to be pro-“authority” – this is a logical fallacy called “(an) appeal(ing) to authority” – one minute, and anti-“lawyer from Berk…..?” the next. “Flooded” means “wetlands,” that is, Actually – other than Right-after rain(s), and realize-then there’d always be a (reduced, since erosion was lesser due to more vegetation & roots, overall) chance of mudslides at first (2X the power of the same-wall of water alone), then gradually-easing floods.

        But it actually just rained, 1 /2 an hour today – “jungle rain,” as one of several put it, near me – this is a rainforest, and it is Always at least a little, wet – it never dries-out, completely (other than when Native Americans likely burned it, to -increase the productivity of the land, etc. other practical reasons, it was done all along the entire CA coast, this “CA /Mediterranean climate” of chaparral) – of course you don’t even camp more than occasionally overnight, on isles among wetlands. Instead, they’d -travel to the aforementioned coast, 3 /12 months of the year for ocean products, and in-turn, only spend about 1 /2 of the year, one would assume, away-from the rainy season(s), in relatively-drier areas, not Right where the only-Seasonal, Little Lake was – sometimes – other years – it wasn’t – as in the song: “it’s the time.. of the sea-son… for l[i]-ving!”

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