Caltrans Releases Environmental Evaluation for 197/199 Safe STAA Access Project
Artist’s simulation of the Middle Fork Smith River Bridge Replacement on Route 199 in Del Norte County as part of the 197/199 Safe STAA Access project.
Caltrans’ Press Release:
Caltrans District 1 announced the release of the final environmental evaluation document for the “197/199 Safe STAA Access” Project in Del Norte County, a project designed to improve seven spot locations on Routes 197 and 199. “Caltrans has worked very hard to eliminate avoidable impacts, and minimize all other impacts to natural resources throughout the project development process for the Del Norte STAA project,” said project manager Kevin Church.
Presently, narrow highway widths and tight curves restrict access for national network industry standard trucks compliant with the 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) between the North Coast and the east. Safety-enhancing improvements include wider lanes and shoulders, curve redesign for longer turn radius, and improved sight distances. These corridors are currently under a trucking kingpin to rear axle advisory limit of 30 feet.
The areas outlined for the project include adjustments to Route 197 near Ruby Van Deventer County Park, and to Route 199 near the Narrows, at Washington Curve, and in the Patrick Creek area. The improvements will increase road usability for all of the traveling public, while eliminating the need and extra time presently required to move products into smaller rigs for transport to and from the coast.
“In the final environmental document, you will notice there are special precautions in place to avoid impacts to the roots of large redwoods, and work windows to avoid disturbing marbled murrelets. The bridge will be built without diverting water or entering the river, which avoids impacts to salmon. Caltrans has been working closely with other state and federal agencies to minimize impacts to endangered species,” said Jason Meyer, the project’s environmental coordinator. Meyer is a graduate of Humboldt State University, receiving his Master of Science degree in natural resources, wildlife management.
Titled the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment – Finding of No Significant Impact (FEIR/EA-FONSI) and Section 4(f) Evaluation, the released document will be available for public viewing at the Del Norte County Library, 190 Price Mall in Crescent City, at the Caltrans District 1 Office, 1656 Union Street in Eureka, or online at www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/197-199_staa/. In addition, more project news will soon be available on a new online blog for the project at DelNorteSTAA.wordpress.com.
For more information regarding the environmental document release, please contact Sandra Rosas, Senior Environmental Planner at 707-441-5730, and for more information about the project, please contact Kevin Church, Project Manager at 707-445-6440.
Though the above is a press release and not written by LoCO staff, it should be noted that Kevin Church, quoted in the release, is the husband of LoCO reporter, Kym Kemp.