[env-trinity] (no subject)
tstokely at att.net
Thu May 8 07:56:19 PDT 2014
A reminder to plan extra time for those Trinity River meetings.
Highway 299 projects may put the brakes on motorists
By Jim Schultz
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
That vacation drive to the coast and back could be little — or a lot — longer this summer.
Fifteen Highway 299 construction projects, some already underway, could add — at worst — nearly two-and-a-half hours of one-way driving time between Redding and the Arcata area, officials with the California Department of Transportation are warning motorists.
The projects, being spread out during this summer and into the fall, include everything from paving, guard rail, highway reconstruction and curve realignment work to the replacement of pavement markers.
Although some of those expected individual delays could be as short at five minutes, one highway realignment project on the Buckhorn Summit west of Whiskeytown Lake could result in delays of up to 40 minutes from now through October.
Taken all together, however, the improvement projects, with many having one-way traffic controls with flaggers and pilot cars, could add up to some serious idling time for motorists.
Caltrans said the trip from Redding to Arcata will cause a “probable” delay of up to about 90 extra minutes during peak summer months with the maximum total delay estimated at about two and a half hours.
Trinity County Chamber of Commerce President Wayne Agner said Wednesday he doesn’t foresee any major problems for motorists — or Trinity County businesses — from the highway projects.
“As long as the contractor keeps the wait time down, I think we’re OK with it,” he said, noting he recently drove through the Buckeye Summit construction zone and only had to wait a total of 20 minutes during his entire round-trip.
Agner said some of the highway projects have been going on for a long time already, and most Trinity and Shasta County drivers who regularly drive the route have become accustomed to the possible delays.
“By and large, locals have figured it into their schedules,” he said. “We’re kind of used to it.”
But it’s sure that traffic will increase over the summer months and woe to that unaccustomed driver who stumbles upon all the one-way traffic control stops.
“You’d have to have an unlucky roll,” to run into the maximum traffic delay on all of them, Agner said.
John Letton, owner of Indian Creek Lodge in Douglas City, said Wednesday he’s worried the highway improvement projects and possible delays could keep motorists — and customers — away from Trinity County and his business, which depends upon tourists.
“It discourages people from coming this direction,” he said, adding that those travelers may decide to spend their vacations elsewhere. “It couldn’t be helpful.”
According to Caltrans, traffic during June, July, August and September are expected to run into the longest delays.
And to warn drivers of them, Caltrans is trying to spread the word through the media and other outlets about what to expect.
It’s even offering tips, including allowing plenty of extra time to get to one’s destination, make sure the car’s in top shape and has a full tank of gas before heading out on the road.
It’s also recommending motorists bring along extra water and snacks for themselves and their pets and to turn off the car’s engine while waiting at traffic control stops to conserve fuel and prevent overheating.
Additionally, Caltrans has a 24-hour road construction hotline at 225-3452 for those wanting information about highway projects and the delays that can be expected.
Traffic alert information is also available at www.Caltrans2.info, while updates are also available at Facebook and Twitter. But there’s another alternative to Highway 299 — the scenic and winding Highway 36 from Red Bluff to Fortuna.
“It’s an interesting road,” said Agner.
© 2014 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
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