Caltrans and Environmentalists Begin New Battle Over Richardson Grove

Traffic through Richardson Grove. [Photo by Kim Sallaway]

After environmental groups filed another lawsuit to stop work on Hwy 101 where it runs through Richardson Grove, Caltrans sent out the following press release:

The Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project would make minor adjustments to the current alignment of U.S. Highway 101 in and near Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County to allow access by industry standard-sized trucks, which can be slightly longer than the currently allowed California legal trucks. This project, which would increase the efficiency of goods movement, has long been a priority of the County of Humboldt. Project proponents also include many small local businesses.

No old growth redwood trees would be removed or threatened by this project. This minor project would disturb 0.67 acres of soil along 1.1 miles of U.S. Highway 101. For comparison, Richardson Grove State Park is approximately 2,000 acres. Caltrans has taken the utmost care in designing the project with sensitivity to the environment and has thoroughly analyzed potential environmental impacts. Documentation of the analyses is readily accessible on the project webpage at

Since 2010, there have been minor reductions in the project footprint and slight changes to meet current safety standards. There have been four public meetings and five public comment periods held for this project, more than any other contemporary project in Caltrans District 1.




  • Sounds reasonable, Do it!

    • Caltrans is going to go deeper into the forest for this realignment. It isn’t the same road line. It cuts into the canopy which heats up forest floor and causes degradation. Also seems to be less safe for pedestrians and cyclists as traffic will be moving much faster.
      I prefer my redwood curtains thank you

      • groba dude osnt trustafarian

        I also prefer to keep trucks out of Humboldt! There are already too many rigs carrying stuff nobody needs. Rigs already clog the highways every night! We need a toll booth in Healdsburg:
        Northbound Tolls:
        Rigs : $500 – loaded with bags of potting soil or plastic water tanks: $1000 – loaded with rubber dog shit for Walmart and Target : $2500
        Pickups: $600 Tires sticking out the wheel-wells: $1000
        Cars: $300 Driver stoned: $750
        Motorcycles: Mufflers: $50 no mufflers: $750
        Tourist in motorhome: $9000 Intending to live permenantly in the streets of Garberville: $25,000
        Travel Trailers: $12,000 *must show title for trailer*

        Actually, outsiders, stay away, fuck you, go home!


    • groba dude osnt trustafarian

      Charge trucks a $500 toll to drive through on our incredibly nice road! Leave my trees alone! If you speed in Richardson Grove and crash your rig you will lose your license and we will see you out of a job! Truckers don’t own that road, the people of California own it.

      • Relax Bro! More hippies get into wrecks in there than truckers! Alot of regular folks wouldn’t mind it widened up a bit. There should be a bike path around it from the tourist trap at the North to the gasn’grabs at the South.

        • groba dude osnt trustafarian

          There ARE no hippies left. Only Republicans who SAY they are hippies… Might be a few in Mendo, but all we got up here is illiterate rednecks, pirates, assholes, refugee carpenters, ex-cons, stupid fucking growers, and super entitled truckers, most of whom habla espanol as a primary language. Once they get North of Healdsburg (most of them come over 20 from Williams) they are pretty high, so watch out!
          Drove down to Ukiah Friday morning between 0500 and 0700 and there were over 200 rigs Northbound of Willits! That is about a hundred too many in anyone’s world…

          • Right on dude, if your not in an electric car , you shouldn’t be allowed on the road, f@#$ those fossil burning rigs, keep our redwoods safe from gross polluting fossil fuel guzzling cars, trees aren’t worth fighting over, sooner or later they all seem to burn, just a,waiting game

  • Lawyers are salivating. I mean circling. I mean creaming their jeans….
    Thank goodness we have to pay more for fuel so there is money pay them!!!

  • Keep the Redwood Curtain impenetrable to big trucks!

  • Oh- are all the EPIC people done blowing up huge scenes for now? Time for them to play “environmentalist” again? They’ve done so much these last years to deserve so much respect from us all…

  • Fix Last Chance Grade First.

  • Disturbing the soil will undermine the other trees.. I say leave it alone. It’s been fine for years!
    I was all for the Willits bypass mainly because the fuel/pollution in Willits trying to get through there was horendous. It’s all so nice now and the wetlands are recuperating nicely..

    • Yes.. Fix other things!

    • I shop in Willits. The businesses with which I trade consistently report a 30% drop in their bottom line since the by-pass opened. (See Willits News) I always ask if they or their representatives participated in the by-pass protests or at least wrote letters opposing it, and the consistent response is “No, too busy” or some such… To which I can only reply “Tough luck.” They won’t have to worry about being too busy anymore…

      On the other hand, Hwy 20 West still goes through down-town with the same backed-up traffic spewing the same exhaust. No change there.

      So who was served? Mega-trucks heading to Richardson’s Grove, that’s who; and now those chickens are coming home to roost.
      Also served are the “commuters,” those elites too precious/anal to use the MTA or car pools. A pox on them, too.

      • The trucks are carrying goods like food, equipment, supplies, etc that cost more because of the need for special arrangements. A pox on those people too?

        Then there are those manufactures or producers who need to compete with outside businesses on cost. Since growing business in Humboldt means shipping outside the area. A pox on them too?

        Curse those ridiculous evil villians supplying goods and trying to do so at a tolerable cost. We don’t need no stinking computers… oh wait…

        • I’m a free-market person, too. But at what cost to the Earth? So yes, I say a Pox All Around.

          • But you shop in Willits. What about those for whom that is not feasible? Like all of Eureka?

            • If we’re discussing supply trucks from SF/Oakland to Eureka, I’d advocate for I-5 to Redding, which is built for those behemoth trucks. CalTrans can prepare a suitable route from there to Eureka with much less damage to the Big Trees, while simultaneously preserving their budgets. It’s a question of priorities. The preservation of the Earth is mine; I’m going to be a Grandma!

              Or are you saying that Willits is cheaper to shop in than Eureka? That shoppers in Eureka drive to Willits?

              • Except there are even stronger restrictions on truck lengths coming over roads through the Coastal Range than coming from the south on 101. At least there was the last time I had something to be brought over. Not to mention how many times those east west roads are closed by snow or slides. Truckers use 101 because it is, as difficult and restricted as it is now, possible where as other routes are not.

                I wonder if there is a viable route through the mountains but,if there is , no one here can pay for it and that includes the state.

                I have only shopped for gas in Willits but that is certainly cheaper.

              • Crazy. Many more miles, and gallons of fuel. Eco Warrior. Have you actually seen any other Redwood groves? Or actually been through that little strip mall they call Richardson Grove? It’s been a highway for like 90 years.

        • tired of all this

          The “special arrangements” of which you speak are unenforced and routinely ignored by all.
          Caltrans just did a project on the Avenue of the Giants where they ground down the roots of redwood trees with a giant grinder. If you think this does not adversly affect the trees you are ignorant. Leave the trees and the roots alone. We are supposedly smarter than trees. We should be able to accomodate them and find better solutions.

          • No they are not ignored. At least when I pointed out the length restriction, no one trucker took it on to go anyway. One tried stapping the item onto the tractor- he lost it over a grade- and another rented a pick up to bring stuff over. That was an expense the they had from their own pocket that they certainly would have avoided if they could have driven here directly from I5.

          • Too tired to walk

            Get out of your prius and walk 20 feet into the woods. You’ll love it.

      • groba dude osnt trustafarian

        OH NO! Poor Willits!

        Sorry, couldn’t have happened to a nastier place. Since the bypass we NEVER have to go to Willits again! Makes me happy!

        Guess what? Willits sucks!

        • It’s like another southern Humboldt, it sucks ,your right, good riddance to both, couple more years of cannabis to go and highway will be quiet again

  • Things will only change regarding lawfare when the following happens:

    1) The plaintiffs involved in these cases actually have to go to trial or lose in summary judgment rather than get settlements;

    2) The press (and those sued, including businesses) start publicizing how much the actual attorney fees are that are getting awarded.

    It’s one thing to sue the state – no one cares even though they should (taxpayers foot the bill). CALTRANS, given their track record, is a super easy ready-made villain. It’s entirely different to sue private companies, especially small/mid-sized ones.

    At some point, people will push back twice as hard against Tom Wheeler. Tom can keep laughing because not enough people are willing to fight or those who fight back do so in an unorganized and dumb way. He’s going down the Tom Steyer route with his public stunts, such as naming public toilets “Zinkes.”


    ” industry standard-sized trucks, which can be slightly longer than the currently allowed California legal trucks”

  • I recently had to go south and back again. Richardson’s Grove is bad dangerous! It would not take much to gain a few extra feet of road width. So let’s do it!

  • We’ve been traveling thru there for a long,long time just fine!leave it alone🌲🌲🌲🌲

  • The people fighting this don’t even live here worry about your own county…

  • Did Kim Sallaway take the photo of the truck over the double yellow line on purpose? Is he trying to tell us the road is too narrow for the truck?

    • My guess would be moving over to stay away from the person standing and probably parked on the shoulder taking pictures.

      • I was not parked on the road side. I was not in the road way. I used a telephoto lens on this shot, so I was a long way from the truck. Your guess is quite incorrect. The truck was over the line because that was where he drove it. I saw quite a few people do the exact same thing, cars, pick ups, tractor trailers. This certainly wasn’t a staged photo.

    • Happens four times an hour, every day.

  • Yes Liz that is the choice. The 53 foot trailers that are legal in california . You cant drive them like a car.If you do not want the road realigned , then campaign to change state law. Either shorten the trucks (current law) or fix the road?

    • tired of all this

      The big trucks go through there anyway. There are more accidents involving big trucks on the freeway. Slow down for a couple of miles and revel in the beauty of our redwood curtain.

  • Maybe people should slow the hell up thru there and enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.The redwoods are awsome giants that give us pause! I’ve driven thru there my whole life only saw one wreck,it wasn’t a big rig. Why start this up again? 🌲🌲🚛🚚⛟🌲🌲

  • One could also require truck drivers to actually know how to drive well. That photo, if not staged, shows the driver across the double yellow in a straight stretch. Even I can keep it between the lines in that spot, as I have hundreds of times. I’ve driven that spot since 1978 to present, and never a problem. G-MAS is right. Slow down and smell the redwoods. Or get the hell out and go back to where you came from.

    The article states CalTrans will not cut any trees to make the highway conform to the higher standard (STAA). If that’s true, why didn’t they lead with this option years ago?

    • groba dude osnt trustafarian

      AND we COULD require that trucks go SLOWER! And be operated by SOBER people!

    • Double yellow whine

      Yeah but you are driving a car right? Most wrecks in there are dorks in cars. Trucks have to stop at weigh stations. You drive sober, or you don’t drive for long.
      And the road went through there starting about 90-100 years ago. There was no STAA nothing back then to “lead with that option” (!)

  • (Sighs). Unfortunately, that chunk of road is dangerous.
    It is a left-over from having 101 routed over the Avenue of the Giants.
    Eventually it will result in carnage.

    No room for bicyclists and pedestrians… or cars and trucks.

    CalTrans did an engineering study and surveying to take the highway across the river.
    Dunno what happened to it tho, somebody killed it.

    You’d think given the new tax law$ they could afford it,
    as they did the bypass of the park lands (Prairie Creek) on the north end of the County.

    That was a good bypass (but tough construction).
    Saves lives and provides for the public enjoyment of the park.

    • tired of all this

      Accident statistics say otherwise

    • tired of all this

      Your name is well chosen BOZO. And as that road has been there for 100 years, when can we expect this carnage of which you speak?
      And FYI, more people have been killed on the bypass of the Redwood Park at Prairie Creek than ever were on the old road. Why do people (like you) post such easily refutable crap?

  • Sorry but there are a lot of people who don’t stay in their own lane and these include cars and growers with their Jacked up pickups. They seem to be under the impression that they can make faster time. I would rather they widen the road than meet a truck or car in my lane.

    Why aren’t the environmentalists going after the Growers? They could be helping out code enforcement by filing law suits.

  • The Avenue of the Giants is some 30 miles long. There are hundreds of old growth redwoods with pavement literally inches from their trunks. Far more impacted than anything proposed at Richardson. To believe the arguments of the “environmental” litigants it should be Avenue of the Stumps. This whole cluster @#$% is all about the no growth nimbys trying to control access masquerading as environmentalists. The by pass option would require two river crossings and construction of a roadbed on unstable ground and would not satisfy the same folks who are currently opposed to the grove project.

    • tired of all this

      The Avenue has not been “improved”. That is why you see no impacts. It has been substantively unchanged for 90 years.

      • Bull shit. Drive the Mattole road if you want to see County roads that havn’t been paved in a generation.

  • Maby we should go back to the horse and buggy days.I’m sick of environmental idiots trying to paint a picture of environmental devastation. That is simply not the case. Highway 101is an interstate highway that goes from LA to the Cascades in Washington state,and this is the only place the highway is restricted.All the goods we purchase have to be reloaded from 53 foot trailers to 40 foot trailers to come up here at extra costs to the consumer They aren’t trying to put a freeway through there just some minor straightening of the road to make it safer and allow larger trucks to pass.We are not driving model T cars any more with the whole road up here like the Avenue of the Giants.Some things need to be modernized.Cal trans has gone the extra mile the accommodate you environmental idiots.This comes from an x-truck driver who has been there.

    • groba dude osnt trustafarian

      Only good truck is one that’s parked, Mr X…

    • tired of all this

      avenuerider….are you unaware of the MILES of 101 south of Richardson Grove that remain narrow 2 lane. Like where the slide was last year that closed the road for many days. It’s almost like you don’t know what you are talking about🤣🤣🤣

      • Tired of driving your moms 626? Trucks are longer than things you’ve driven. slow down and look as you race South. Look at the sharpness of turns, and the distance between them.

  • I’ve learned that ordering some products too large for services like UPS is a crap shoot. I’ve come to expect to tell freight company drivers who call to make arrangements for delivery that it is unlikely their trucks will be able to come here from either the east or the south. Their trucks are too large. The best companies will make special arrangement. Others won’t.

  • “This project, which would increase the efficiency of goods movement,”, to who’s benefit? Ive heard the argument that shipping is too expensive and costs the consumer more. I would bet my house, if the road gets widened, cost of goods will not decrease.

  • Once while driving a shuttle van for artists during Reggae on the River, I had Jimmy Cliff In my van. I was terrified that I may hit a tree and hurt a celebrity. So I drove very slow and carefully. That is what everyone should do there, be careful. We do not really need bigger rigs and faster cars. We need to preserve the Grove.

  • I think the big rigs that Cal Trans wants to accommodate will not be able to travel north beyond Eureka so I feel it is not worth the re-alignment just for a few trucks to Eureka. Am I wrong? show me. I would also like to see an accurate, updated Map relating to the widening of that stretch of road.

  • It’s nice to say drive carefully but carefully for someone hauling a massive weight or unstable load is way slower than a normal passenger car. They tailgate the slower vehicle. As soon as passing become even faintly possible, there is a huge rush of very anxious cars making risky moves to pass. Including those rushing to get by before it turns into two lanes again.

    One of the really difficult things is that the safe speed varies so much. There maybe a stretch where a slightly higher speed is good then suddenly one curve is way sharper. Even respecting the speed limit is not slow enough. And people who do not drive it regularly can be taken by surprise by this unexpected curve.

  • Several congressmen oppose the gas tax bill and have petitions to abolish it. A few of their points of interest seem to fit already. They claim that the roads will not be fixed, minus show and tell areas, but that most of the funds will go towards the widening of the roads. They claim that the state claims the widening is for bicycle paths. The tinfoil hat people claim the widening is for ease of transporting and driving military vehicles, tanks, flatbeds with huge satellite lasers, etc.
    IMO, I’m voting no, just because of new awareness about the canopy will be removed which will cause heat stress to the remaining forest.
    As far as the normal every day trucks, they amaze me with their skills. Rookies to the area seem to have huge problems, however. Too bad the local truckers who’ve been regulated out of work, can’t drive the big company rookies through. Instead of panhandling signs, they could show up for a day’s work at a convenient lounging station built by the same Caltrans who wishes to destroy the canopy and open the road for more military traffic.
    Far fetched? Only in your own mind.

  • I guess liberal censorship rules kym kemp. My post was not posted because I called environmentalists idiots for wanting to block any improvements in Richardson’s grove. This is socialism at its best where you have the appearance of free speech but not if you have another opinion. America land of the free …As long as you think like me!

  • Here’s the link to Caltrans website for this project. I’m opposed to it but I like to know all the facts (even if they’re facts according to CT).

    People in Southern California have been fighting the completion of the SR710 from where it now ends (just north of the 10 Fwy) to the 210 Fwy which runs through Glendale and Pasadena.
    Caltrans has lied, fudged, claimed their EIR was enough (not legally) and so many other things. There was talk of twin tunnels, then one tunnel and since there wasn’t money for it, it was decided it should be a toll road and would be built in partnership with a private company that would be repaid from the tolls.
    Knowing the trucking industry I did a poll of companies I knew and of an organization in Sacramento that represents all sorts of trucking companies.
    None would have been willing to pay a $25 (or more) toll to avoid driving through LA. All cited the fact that their customers wouldn’t pay an extra fee and they (trucking companies) couldn’t afford to pay it themselves.
    There are a lot of people fighting it and some legislators (state & local) are opposed to any of the possible routes.
    Individual Caltrans workers are good people who keep our roads open. We pray they stay safe and we respect the work they do. It’s the management, the bosses that shouldn’t be, can’t be trusted. They put in their years, retire and get a big pension and then go to work for the companies and unions and such that they were such good friends with.
    I’ve been to meetings about the SR710 and you would have thought it was an election campaign, not a neighborhood information gathering. And yes, all the local pols were there, glad-handing the Caltrans people, waving at the rest of us, and then leaving.

  • for the trucks that are too long—-they have the option of unhitching and getting a shorter local rig to pull the trailer through and meet them on the other side, for a small fee of course——–I have no trouble getting my rig through there as I drive slowly through the trees.

    • My dad drove his double thru there from N.J. had no problem at all,I asked him what he thought about Richardson Grove and he said” as long as you slow up pay attention it’s gorgeous “

  • Trees will fall! You cant stop cal trans! These are orders from jim browns best friend and our governor JERRY BROWN!
    you will be quiet and oblige

  • I, like hundreds of others, have driven 101 from Humboldt County to the Bay Area more than I could ever count. In all these years of driving 101 through the Richardson Grove area I have never had a “near miss” or trouble with a truck crossing over the yellow line or a delay due to an accident! And in fact, the stretch through Richardson is one of my very favorite parts of the drive!!!

    I say leave it all as is!

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