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Author Topic: US 101 Willits Bypass  (Read 17978 times)

andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2014, 12:37:28 AM »

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140707/articles/140709707

Quote
Caltrans officials said Monday they will halt nearly all work on the Willits bypass while they try to get their permit for working in wetlands reinstated.

The cost of keeping contract construction workers and equipment on standby while they hammer out a permit solution has cost an estimated $800,000 since June 20 and is increasing by nearly $100,000 a day, said Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie.

“We had to finally say this is enough,” he said. About 100 construction workers are expected to be laid off from the project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended Caltrans' permit to work in wetlands and streams last month because it had failed to keep to its agreed-upon schedule for mitigating the loss of wetlands caused by the project.

The first phase of the bypass project is expected to permanently affect 40 acres of wetlands and temporarily affect 30 acres, according to Caltrans officials. Another 30 acres would be affected by the second phase, which would expand the bypass from two to four lanes.

Caltrans is required to create additional wetlands and make other land and stream improvements to compensate for the damage. It has purchased about 2,000 acres in the Little Lake Valley to that end, officials said.

But Caltrans said higher-than-expected costs have slowed progress on the mitigation work, leading to the suspended permit.

Quote
Hicks said in order to resolve the permit issue, Caltrans must identify a way to speed the necessary mitigations or lessen its impacts by decreasing the size of the bypass' footprint. The latter has been sought by environmentalists who oppose the bypass.
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2014, 12:50:28 AM »

As an update, it appears the Willits Bypass will proceed, slowly, into 2017. This is after the stop work announcement made back in June 2014:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/2906072-181/caltrans-willits-bypass-wont-be

Quote
The Willits bypass is not expected to be ready for traffic until the summer of 2017, the result of a series of regulatory, legal and protest-related delays, Caltrans officials say. The project had been scheduled for opening in 2016. Caltrans officials say the delays will add millions of dollars to the cost of the $210 million, 5.9-mile project that will shunt highway traffic around Willits. Highway 101 currently runs through downtown Willits, and the drive through town can take up to 30 minutes with stoplights and traffic.

Quote
A number of factors, including Caltrans’ failure to meet the requirements of several of its water and wildlife agency permits, contributed to the delays, but Frisbie said the biggest factors were lawsuits filed by environmentalists. The latest was a challenge to the excavation of fill dirt slated for use on the bypass. A nearly three-week temporary restraining order that accompanied the lawsuit delayed delivery of the dirt, which needs to be in place and allowed to compact for about six months prior to construction resuming on several bridge footings, according to Caltrans. Soil deliveries resumed in high speed after the restraining order was lifted, but a rainstorm soon halted work again. Caltrans cannot move soil once the rains come because it can wash sediment into streams.

Quote
Opponents of the current bypass plan — now nearly 50 percent completed — continue to lobby for its footprint to be reduced. While the initial bypass is just two lanes, its base is being constructed to eventually accommodate four lanes. If Caltrans were to agree to reduce the unfinished interchange at the north end, it could save acres of wetlands in the Little Lake Valley that surrounds Willits and the many Native American archaeological sites believed to buried in the valley, opponents say. Caltrans is required to mitigate the wetland losses, but critics say it’s better to preserve wetlands than try to create new ones elsewhere.
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bing101

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2014, 10:44:20 AM »

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/local/3187875-181/caltrans-seeks-64-million-more

Caltrans Need $64 Million to finish the bypass. Opening date is in 2017
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2014, 11:17:41 PM »

Latest on the Willits bypass ...

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3233221-181/state-approves-64-million-to

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The California Transportation Commission approved [on December 10] a $64 million Caltrans request to complete the Highway 101 bypass around Willits. The project, already two years behind schedule, is 50 percent complete. ... The two-lane highway is now slated to open in 2017. A second phase to widen the route to four lanes remains unfunded.

http://www.willitsnews.com/localnews/ci_27059705/willits-bypass-mendocino-county-share-is-9-7m

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The issue of "borrow operations" cites that CalTrans' Oil Well Hill site was the designated borrow site for 1 million cubic yards of dirt. While the site was cleared for use prior to construction, subsequent storm water violations by the CalTrans project in 2013 and 2014 caused the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to require further permitting, primarily addressing silt runoff, for CalTrans to use the old borrow site. CalTrans chose not to pursue this option. ... It was not until August 2014 that a final permit was issued to Mendocino Forest Products allowing the new borrow site to be used legally. A court challenge delayed the dirt movement by 19 days, which CalTrans has subsequently cited for causing a one-year project delay.

This delay, according to the CTC documents, means that the more stringent California Air Resources Board emission rules effective in 2015 may add significant costs to the project.

Opposition to the project was cited as one of the project cost overruns due to the presence of California Highway Patrol officers needed to "manage protesters and vandalism." Details associated with vandalism were not available.

The presence of "several burial sites" and the discovery of additional "burial sites" was cited in the CTC documents as contributing to the cost overruns. According to Frisbie, the impacted cultural sites do not include "burial sites" and he hopes the CTC staff will correct the documentation to reflect the real situation.

The $9.7 million the Mendocino Council of Governments authorized for the Willits bypass project overrun means no Regional Improvement Project funds can be used on anything else for the foreseeable future. According to the bypass project funding formula, Mendocino County must provide 15 percent of the funding for this project.
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Kniwt

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2015, 09:28:08 PM »

Part of the bypass (under construction) collapsed today, injuring three, the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/4-hurt-in-Highway-101-project-collapse-in-Willits-6033932.php

Quote
Work on a Highway 101 bypass in Mendocino County came to a halt on Thursday when a 150-foot stretch collapsed, briefly trapping one member of the construction crew.
The incident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. in Willits, where a 5.9-mile bypass to Highway 101 is midway through construction. Workers were pouring concrete for a viaduct section of the bypass when the wood and metal beams that formed the frame for the roadbed gave way, said Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie Jr.
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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2015, 10:50:50 PM »

That project just can't get a break.
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2015, 04:40:20 AM »

A bit more ... OSHA is investigating the bridge collapse:

http://www.krcrtv.com/north-coast-news/news/caltrans-osha-investigating-cause-of-bridge-collapse/30892562

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Caltrans crew and O.S.H.A. were in Willits today, investigating just what caused a 150 ft. portion of the Willits Bypass Project to collapse.

Crews said they were pouring concrete when the viaduct collapsed Thursday afternoon. The collapse injured three contracted employees from ‘Flat Iron Corporation.’

Friday morning Caltrans handed the investigation over to Cal-OSHA who will attempt to determine what caused the viaduct to fall.

While construction is planned to stop on the bridge collapse area while the investigation continues, the article noted that the bypass is still intended to open in fall 2017.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 09:42:08 PM by Alps »
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2015, 12:39:53 AM »

http://abc7news.com/traffic/caltrans-tight-lipped-on-willits-bypass-environmental-cost/905613/

Quote
The Willits bypass is on track to open late next year, but Caltrans won't say how much the environmental part work will cost. ...

Caltrans is making progress on the largest environmental mitigation project in its history, but the agency still won't confirm to ABC7 News how much the massive project will actually cost. The environmental work is linked to the troubled Willits bypass on Highway 101 in Mendocino County -- a project we've been investigating for the past two years.

Work is moving full speed ahead on six miles of new freeway, now on track to open late next year. Right now, traffic on Highway 101 goes right through Willits where it backs up on Main Street.

The freeway bypass will route traffic around all this. Construction started two years ago, but was delayed because of protests and lawsuits by environmental groups pushing for a much smaller road.

Those efforts failed and now Caltrans reports the bypass is about 75 percent finished. Many truck drivers, vacationers and local residents can't wait for opening day. ...

The new freeway runs through habitat for threatened salmon and steelhead with impact to thousands of trees and endangered plants. The seasonal wetlands are now being turned into a freeway interchange. As a result, state and federal agencies require the largest environmental mitigation in Caltrans history to compensate.

Caltrans won't say exactly how much the environmental work will cost. Two years ago it was supposed to be about $50 million. Now, expert analysis of the agency's documents suggests it's likely around $100 million. Critics are not surprised.
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2015, 01:11:52 AM »

The latest from Willits...

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Northern-California-Native-Americans-Sue-Caltrans-Over-Destroying-Sacred-Sites-in-Mendocino-County-Suit-338805592.html

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Two Northern California Indian Tribes filed suit in federal court, alleging that Caltrans has destroyed  important archaeological areas and failed to properly protect historical sites during construction of a stretch of road in Mendocino County.

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. As examples, the suit alleges that Caltrans is bulldozing over important wetlands, unearthing historical obsidian pieces without properly storing them, and blocking historic salmon passages.

The Willits Bypass Project is a 6-mile long rerouting of U.S. Highway 101 through Little Lake Valley, near the city of Willits, in Mendocino County that is expected to be finished in November 2016 and cost $300 million.

Quote
Despite Caltrans' explanation, the plaintiff’s attorneys are asking that the project be stopped until Caltrans can sit down with the tribes to give them a role in making sure their "history is protected," attorney Phil Gregory said ahead of a news conference in Burlingame.

The saga over the Native Americans and the bypass has been going on for years, and has been documented by media outlets such as Indian Country Today since at least 2012. The suit notes that even though the project has been in the works for two years, Caltrans has yet to develop a process for "identifying historic properties, cultural resources and sacred sites." The tribes learned about the project in 2013, the lawyers said, and tried to negotiate with Caltrans without going to court, but to no avail.
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2016, 11:16:13 PM »

Willits bypass now tentatively scheduled to open to traffic on Sept 16, 2016, if all goes well:

http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/general-news/20160301/willits-bypass-to-open-to-traffic-on-sept-16

Quote
In discussions between the city of Willits and Caltrans, Mayor Bruce Burton told the City Council on Feb. 24 that Caltrans was planning to open the Willits Bypass for through traffic on Sept. 16. This remains a planning date barring unforeseen circumstances.

While the roadway construction is expected to complete by that time, Burton said the Ryan Creek fish passage was expected to complete later.

Other “child” projects associated with the bypass such as the revamp of the Sherwood Road intersection with North Main Street, the addition of sidewalks and drainage in front of Willits High School and the repaving and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance from Highway 20 to the northern Willits city limits are expected to complete in 2017.

The bypass mitigation projects, currently underway, in areas away from the freeway footprint have their own schedule and will continue for years after the roadway is placed into service.

The roadway construction is considered to be 87 percent complete, according to the February update provided by Caltrans to the Willits City Council. Most of the work has been suspended until the end of the rainy season.
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andy3175

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2016, 12:08:48 AM »

Willits Bypass opened last week, 11/3/2016:

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2016/nov/3/photos-willits-bypass-ceremoniously-opened-today-h/

Quote
At least a thousand people gathered on a bridge in the middle of the Little Lake Valley this afternoon to commemorate the opening of the Willits Bypass, a construction project first envisioned some 60 years ago, and which will officially open to traffic sometime later today. ...

Recently retired Caltrans District One Director Charlie Fielder was the first person invited to speak. He spoke of the challenges that have dogged the bypass since it was first envisioned in the late ‘50s — the 1964 flood, the oil crisis of the 1970s, the Northridge and Loma Prieta earthquakes — all times, he said, when the little bypass in the north part of the state was pushed back down to the bottom of California’s priority list.

http://www.willitsnews.com/article/NR/20161103/NEWS/161109988

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“It’s a great day for motorists traveling both north and south on U.S. 101,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. He thanked Willits residents for their patience and support throughout the long span of the project’s completion.

He said the bypass will help alleviate the congestion and traffic running through the center of town.

Phil Dow, Mendocino Council of Governments director joked about the length of the project from its approval back in the 1950s.

“I knew this day was going to come. I wasn’t sure I was going to still be alive,” he joked.

He said now that the $300 million two-lane bypass project has been completed, the state’s transportation department can focus on completing smaller projects in Ukiah, Laytonville and other nearby areas, including Willits.

http://www.times-standard.com/article/NJ/20161103/NEWS/161109907

Quote
Hundreds of people packed onto the new U.S. Highway 101 Willits Bypass on Thursday morning for the opening ceremony and dedication of a 1.1-mile viaduct as the Jesse D. Pittman S01 Navy SEAL Memorial Bridge.

The 6-mile long bypass includes 14 bridges that circumvent downtown Willits and eliminates the only stop lights on the highway between San Francisco and Eureka. The two-lane bypass cost $300 million.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2016, 12:11:52 AM by andy3175 »
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coatimundi

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2016, 01:35:00 AM »

Quote
At least a thousand people gathered on a bridge
...
Hundreds of people packed onto the new U.S. Highway 101 Willits Bypass

Good to see that pride in the accuracy of journalism is still out there.
But the real question is: didn't these people have something else to do on a Thursday morning aside from stand on a bridge for a half hour? Surely Willits is not quite that boring. Maybe there was free food.
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compdude787

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2016, 09:05:55 PM »

Just added it to OpenStreetMap. :)

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2016, 12:19:11 PM »

Willits Bypass opened last week, 11/3/2016:
$300 million - seriously, even in California that's real money.

But thank goodness the bypass is done. I went through Willits in May and I thought I was never going to get through that town. Crawling traffic, numerous traffic signals, and 25 mph speed limits.

Now if they would just build a new bypass around Eureka to replace the current bypass that is now clogged with traffic and traffic signals.   :bigass:
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2016, 06:33:31 PM »

Is there sufficient space around Eureka to build a bypass?
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jrouse

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2016, 07:07:13 PM »

There were plans for a Eureka Freeway for many years.  That proposed freeway was formally abandoned some years ago.


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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2016, 12:27:11 AM »

The Mendocino Voice posted videos of the bypass, in both directions, between its northern and southern interchanges:

https://www.mendovoice.com/2016/11/drive-with-us-on-the-willits-bypass-video/

Annoyingly, the SB video fades to white before I could get a clear view of the exit number on the southern interchange (CA 20 west). The northern interchange, shown in the NB video, is 573, so I'm guessing the southern interchange number is in the 566 to 568 range (it kind of looks like an even number). Neither exit number is yet on CalNEXUS.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2016, 12:43:01 AM by oscar »
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J N Winkler

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2016, 10:36:58 AM »

Annoyingly, the SB video fades to white before I could get a clear view of the exit number on the southern interchange (CA 20 west). The northern interchange, shown in the NB video, is 573, so I'm guessing the southern interchange number is in the 566 to 568 range (it kind of looks like an even number). Neither exit number is yet on CalNEXUS.

That information is in the construction plans, which are still online.  SR 20 westbound is Exit 568.  The signing plans are (approximately) Sheets 459-499 out of 939 total in the plans set.
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oscar

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #43 on: November 12, 2016, 02:01:10 PM »

SR 20 westbound is Exit 568.  The signing plans are (approximately) Sheets 459-499 out of 939 total in the plans set.

Muchas gracias. I'll take your word for it ;).
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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #44 on: November 12, 2016, 04:12:44 PM »

Willits Bypass opened last week, 11/3/2016:
$300 million - seriously, even in California that's real money.

Considering all the bridgework and lawsuits involved, I'm not shocked at the price tag. Judging by the traffic on the 2 lanes that were opened, the additional 2 lanes will be welcomed once the red tape is dealt with.
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bigdave

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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2016, 06:09:57 PM »

Is there sufficient space around Eureka to build a bypass?
My comment was intended to be somewhat facetious.  :) At least US 101 through Eureka is a full four lane highway at all points, which is a huge improvement over the former US 101 through Willits.

Still, $300 million for the project is mind boggling.

David
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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2016, 06:31:23 PM »

I'll be interested to see the traffic counts on this.
There is thru traffic on 101, of course, but the highway is also two lanes almost immediately north of Willits, and I would guess a lot of the traffic came from Willits itself or the Brooktrails development, northwest of town (which is almost as populous as Willits). If that's the case, then that traffic is not going anywhere.
Plus, with growing weed being legal in the rest of the state now, Mendocino is going to see a lot less traffic leaving the county.

It seems like the Olancha bypass is more necessary, even though a lot of the bitching there is from Angelenos trying to keep an 80mph clip coming back from Mammoth and Yosemite.
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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2016, 11:30:59 PM »


It seems like the Olancha bypass is more necessary, even though a lot of the bitching there is from Angelenos trying to keep an 80mph clip coming back from Mammoth and Yosemite.

Although I've never driven that far north on US 101 I've always heard the willits bypass was long overdue. Living in Bishop I know for a fact that the Olancha bypass is very long overdue. During the summer travel season and long holiday weekends during the winter months it is downright scary to drive that two lane section.

I made a post about the Olancha bypass a while back http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=17437.0

With a 4 lane expressway north and south of Olancha no one wants to slow down while passing through the town and with businesses and houses so close to the highway it's a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the traffic jams that occur when people stop in the road to make a left hand turn due to the lack of a turning lane.

So you'll hear me bitching but I'm definitely no Angeleno haha. I'm just a concerned local that has to drive from Bishop to Olancha 3-4 times a week due to my job.
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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2016, 11:39:41 PM »


It seems like the Olancha bypass is more necessary, even though a lot of the bitching there is from Angelenos trying to keep an 80mph clip coming back from Mammoth and Yosemite.

Although I've never driven that far north on US 101 I've always heard the willits bypass was long overdue. Living in Bishop I know for a fact that the Olancha bypass is very long overdue. During the summer travel season and long holiday weekends during the winter months it is downright scary to drive that two lane section.

I made a post about the Olancha bypass a while back http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=17437.0

With a 4 lane expressway north and south of Olancha no one wants to slow down while passing through the town and with businesses and houses so close to the highway it's a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the traffic jams that occur when people stop in the road to make a left hand turn due to the lack of a turning lane.

So you'll hear me bitching but I'm definitely no Angeleno haha. I'm just a concerned local that has to drive from Bishop to Olancha 3-4 times a week due to my job.

I had to drive back with a caravan of crossovers, Audis and Mercedes, all from the Southland, this past weekend on 395, so I think I'm just a little bitter about it. Main irk was that they had seemingly taken over Bishop on their way back down. I normally really enjoy spending time in Bishop but barely stopped this time.

It's a bottleneck. It makes sense. I'm not saying it's a bad idea. I don't mean to redirect this topic too much (I did recall your Olancha bypass post), so I'll add something there. I was mostly pointing out that I think Olancha needs a bypass more than Willits, but Willits got theirs first. I know it comes down to funding priorities in individual districts, but it just seems a little odd to me.
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Re: US 101 Willits Bypass
« Reply #49 on: June 28, 2017, 01:03:48 AM »

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/7140946-181/final-price-of-willits-bypass?artslide=0

Quote
Final price of Willits bypass $159 million higher than reported

The controversial 6-mile Highway 101 bypass around Willits cost 50 percent more than what was reported by Caltrans when it opened the freeway last year, raising its total price tag to $459 million and fueling pointed criticism of the state agency.

Caltrans officials say the $159 million discrepancy stems from unintentionally failing to include the department’s own staff time in publicly released financial reports. Reporting staff time on that particular project wasn’t required by law, but it was internal Caltrans policy, officials said. ...

The controversial bypass opened in November, moving Highway 101 from the middle of Willits to the wetlands and farmlands on its outskirts. Many lauded the reduction of traffic jams and pollution, but others in the city of 5,000 said the bypass was too big, with too many negative environmental, cultural and economic impacts. ...

While it’s just two lanes, the partially raised bypass has a footprint large enough to accommodate two additional lanes in the future. ...

Protesters repeatedly blocked and delayed construction, adding an estimated $36.4 million in costs to the project, which was estimated at $210 million when construction began in 2012, according to Caltrans. Lawsuits aimed at stopping the project cost another $19.6 million.

There also were regulatory hurdles and delays, adding another $7.8 million, Caltrans said.

A collapse of the bridge framework, which injured several workers, did not ultimately cause delays and was paid for by the contractors’ insurance companies, Frisbie said.
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