Willits Bypass Completion Ceremony Date Set

CT_logoCaltrans is pleased to announce the completion ceremony for the Willits Bypass has been scheduled for Thursday, November 3 at 11:00 a.m. The ceremony, which will include dedicating the 1.1 mile long viaduct bridge to fallen U. S. Navy Seal Jesse Pittman, will take place on the new highway, at the north end of the viaduct, near the north interchange.  The public will be invited, and more details will follow.

July, 2016 Update to Willits City Council

WILLITS BYPASS PROJECT
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
JULY 2016 UPDATE

IMG_1693

The following is a summary of the construction activities that have been completed up to July 22, 2016

  • Contractor has completed approximately 93% of work on the project.

South Segment (Beginning of Project to Center Valley Road) – STA”A”96+00 to 149+00 (3.3 miles):

  • The final lift of HMA is scheduled for the last week of July and first Week of August. This will complete paving operations south of the viaduct.
  • Northbound traffic is currently detoured onto the bypass to the new Hwy 20 exit and back to Willits. This is to facilitate completion of the tie-in for the southern interchange.  Traffic will be temporarily switched to the prior detour from time to time to facilitate paving operations.
  • Striping and delineation will follow the final lift of paving. Expected completion by the end of August or early September.
  • All Metal Beam Guard rail is installed.
  • Asphalt dike will be completed following paving operations and is expected to be completed by late August or early September.
  • The Drainage systems are complete and functioning.
  • Electrical facilities for street lighting, message boards and CCTV cameras are currently being installed. Completion is expected in August.
  • Roadway signs are anticipated to be installed by August.
  • Right and left bridges for 101/20 Separations are complete.
  • A1 Retaining Wall and Baechtel Creek Retaining Wall are complete.
  • All Haehl Creek bridges are complete. East Hill Road Undercrossing Bridge is complete.
  • North Haehl Creek Bridge is complete except for deck grinding and joint seals.
  • Permanent erosion control is installed on all slopes.
  • Contractor is working on punchlist items to complete construction.

Continue reading

Letter from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Today, the Willits News and Ukiah Daily Journal both ran an article with a headline that seems to suggest that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), a federal agency, is in agreement with two tribes which have filed a lawsuit against Caltrans. The article includes select quotes from a letter ACHP sent to Caltrans last week, and Caltrans is providing the complete text of the letter below as well as a scanned PDF so that anyone can read the entire letter for themselves.

 

achp_logoMilford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA
Chairman

Teresa Leger de Fernandez
Vice Chairman

John M. Fowler
Executive Director

 

March 24, 2016

Mr. Kelly J. Hobbs
Chief, Section 106 Coordination Branch
Caltrans Division of Environmental Analysis
1120 N Street, MS# 27
Sacramento, CA 95814

Ref: Willits Bypass Project
Willits, Mendocino County, California

Dear Mr. Hobbs:

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has been actively involved with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the California State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and affected Indian tribes in drafting the Programmatic Agreement for the management of unanticipated discoveries related to the Willits Bypass Project, Willits, California (unanticipated discoveries PA). While efforts to finalize that PA have not resulted in agreement, it is proper for Caltrans to proceed with the project without such a PA by continuing to follow the unanticipated discovery provisions of Stipulation 15 of the Caltrans Statewide Programmatic Agreement (Caltrans Statewide PA). Continue reading

Caltrans releases report on falsework collapse

012415_0077cCaltrans has completed its investigation into the January 22, 2015 falsework collapse at the Willits Bypass viaduct. This report provides a series of discussions and analysis on the falsework failure event.  These include: the submittal and approval process for Willits Bypass falsework; post failure falsework collapse investigation results; detailed discussion on potential collapse mechanisms; most probable collapse mechanisms; internal review and analysis; conclusions; and recommendations. Continue reading

November, 2015 Update to Willits City Council

WILLITS BYPASS PROJECT
2015 CONSTRUCTION SEASON
NOVEMBER 2015 UPDATE

The following is a summary of the construction activities that have been completed up to November 20, 2015

  • Contractor has completed approximately 87% of work on the project.

South Segment (Beginning of Project to Center Valley Road) – STA”A”96+00 to 149+00 (3.3 miles):

  • Paving is completed to the Viaduct with the exception of the Open Grade Friction Course.IMG_9073
  • Metal Beam Guard rail is expected to be installed this winter weather permitting.
  • Majority of Asphalt Dike is completed. The remainder will be completed in 2016
  • The Drainage systems are complete and functioning.
  • Electrical conduit is being installed for street lighting and CCTV cameras.
  • Right and left bridges for 101/20 Separation are complete, except for joint seals, and deck grooving. These items of work should be completed by January 2016.
  • All Haehl Creek bridges are complete except for grinding, grooving and joint seals. These items are expected to be complete by January 2016.
  • East Hill Road Undercrossing Bridge is complete except for joints, and deck grooving.
  • North Haehl Creek Bridge is complete except for, joint seals, and deck grinding.
  • Baechtel Creek Retaining Wall is complete.
  • Permanent erosion control is nearly complete. It is expected to be completed by early December.
  • Temporary erosion control is installed in all areas that do not have permanent.

Floodway Viaduct – STA “A” 149+00 to 167+50 (1.2 miles):
IMG_9100

  • The Floodway Viaduct is essentially complete except for grinding, grooving and joint seal assemblies.
  • The Concrete finish work will be performed in the summer of 2016.

North Segment (Viaduct to End of Project – STA “A” 167+50 to 191+10 (1.5 miles):

  • Drainage systems are complete with the exception of some inlet grate assemblies which will be installed after paving.IMG_9116
  • Imported fill from the Viaduct to the Northern tie-in is complete. Tie-in grading is expected to be complete by mid-June 2016
  • Quail Meadows Overhead and Under Crossing bridges are complete except for deck grinding/grooving and joint seals.
  • Upp Creek Main Line, Upp Creek SB off Ramp, and Upp Creek NB on Ramp bridges are complete except for joints and grinding and joint seals.
  • Except for grinding, grooving and joint seals, all mainline and north interchange bridges are expected to be complete by the end of October 2015.
  • Utility relocation work is ongoing.
  • Erosion control is being installed, monitored and maintained at all locations.
  • Aggregate Base is being partially installed north of the viaduct. Final completion will take place in the spring of 2016 when weather permits.
  • Completion of final grading and paving will be performed in 2016, after fill settlement is complete.
  • Electrical conduit is being installed for street lighting and CCTV cameras.
  • The temporary Active Treatment System for stormwater sediment control is expected to be completed and functional by November 25, 2015

Caltrans addresses inaccurate information in tribal news release

WillitsAerial1

[Updated on 11/2/15 to clarify participation by Round Valley Indian Tribes, that cultural resources are avoided if possible or mitigated for, and add more detail to (c)]

On October 30, 2015, Caltrans was notified by the media that the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes sent out a press release outlining tribal complaints regarding the Willits Bypass project and announcing their intention to file suit against the Department. The Tribes allege that Caltrans knowingly destroyed historic cultural sites in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

These statements are factually inaccurate, and are damaging not only to this project – which will link Californians north of Willits to the rest of the state with a safe, reliable, and efficient route through Mendocino County – but also to the taxpayers of California, who will ultimately end up footing the bill for this unnecessary legal action. Continue reading

September, 2015 Update to Willits City Council

WILLITS BYPASS PROJECT
2015 CONSTRUCTION SEASON
SEPTEMBER 2015 UPDATE

The following is a summary of the construction activities that have been completed up to September, 2015

  • Contractor has completed approximately 81 % of work on the project.

Southern Segment (Beginning of Project to Center Valley Road) – STA”A”96+00 to 149+00 (3.3 miles):
IMG_8753

  • Repair of Haehl Creek realignment and fish passage improvement work is complete with the exception of willow planting.
  • Aggregate base material will be complete by the end of September.
  • The drainage systems are installed with the exception of installing grates and aprons which will occur after paving.
  • Paving is expected to be completed in October 2015.
  • Right and left bridges for 101/20 Separation are complete, except for joint seals, and deck grooving. These items of work will not begin until late in 2015 or early 2016.
  • At Haehl Creek, right and left mainline bridges and southbound off-ramp S101/W20 Connector Bridge Falsework removal in Haehl Creek is complete. Superstructure construction complete. Grinding and joint seals to be complete late 2015 or early 2016.
  • Northbound onramp E20/N101 Connector Bridge is complete except for joint seals, and deck grooving.
  • East Hill Road Undercrossing Bridge is complete except for joints, and deck grooving.
  • North Haehl Creek Bridge is complete except for, joint seals, and deck grinding.
  • Final grading of Rutludge pond area is complete.
  • Aggregate Base between shell lane and Center Valley Road is in complete. Paving is expected to be complete in October 2015.
  • Baechtel Creek Retaining Wall backfill, embankment and final grading is complete. Barrier Rail is likely to be complete in October 2015
  • Erosion control materials are being installed, monitored and maintained at all locations. Final erosion control work will be completed in October, 2015
  • Drainage structures on Center Valley Road are completed and final cleanup ongoing.

Continue reading

Herbicide meeting cancelled: Herbicide use on blackberries pulled off the table for now

image012aCaltrans has been in discussions with the Willits Bypass Mitigation contractor this past week over the plan to control non-native invasive Himalaya blackberry. It had been anticipated our contractor would include the herbicide option in order to ensure meeting mitigation timeline and performance goals for site preparation and establishing native wetland plants, but instead they recently submitted a plan to attempt to use mechanical/manual methods. As a result, the herbicide meeting scheduled in Willits on August 13 has been cancelled. Continue reading

July, 2015 Update to Willits City Council

WILLITS BYPASS PROJECT
2015 CONSTRUCTION SEASON
JULY 2015 UPDATE

The following is a summary of the construction activities that have been completed up to July 16, 2015

  • Contractor has completed approximately 73 % of work on the project.

Southern Segment (Beginning of Project to Center Valley Road) – STA”A”96+00 to 149+00 (3.3 miles):

  • Repair of winter storm damage to slopes is complete.
  • Haehl Creek realignment and fish passage improvement work is complete.
  • Final excavation at the south interchange will be completed this week, with material hauled to the north interchange for embankment. Grading and paving may be completed in October 2015.
  • Right and left bridges for 101/20 Separation are complete, except for concrete barriers, joint seals, and deck grooving. These items of work will not begin until late in 2015 or early 2016.
  • At Haehl Creek, right and left mainline bridges and southbound off-ramp S101/W20 Connector Bridge foundations and abutments are complete. Superstructure construction is in progress at all three, and will be completed in October 2015.
  • Northbound onramp E20/N101 Connector Bridge is complete, except for concrete barriers, joint seals, and deck grooving.
  • East Hill Road Undercrossing Bridge is complete except for concrete barriers, joints, and deck grooving.
  • North Haehl Creek Bridge is complete except for concrete barriers, joint seals, and deck grinding.
  • Pond relocation at Rutledge property is complete.
  • Embankment between shell lane and Center Valley Road is in complete. Drainage structures, final grading, and paving may be complete in October 2015.
  • Baechtel Creek Retaining Wall is complete. Concrete barrier, backfill and embankment will be completed in 2015.
  • Erosion control materials are being installed, monitored and maintained at all locations. Final erosion control work will be completed in September and October, 2015
  • New additional drainage structures at Center Valley Road are under construction and will be completed in July.

Continue reading

Water Board’s Response to Coyote Band of Pomo

waterboards_logo_high_resThis letter was sent July 16, 2015 from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo in response to a letter sent by Coyote Valley on May 26, 2015. The full text of the letter is posted below, and a signed PDF of the letter is available for download.

 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

July 16, 2015

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
Attn: Michael Hunter
P.O. Box 39
Redwood Valley, CA 95470
tribalchairman@coyotevalley-nsn.gov

Dear Mr. Hunter:

Subject: May 26, 2015, Letter to Regional Water Board regarding the Caltrans Willits Bypass Project

Files: Highway 101 – Willits Bypass Project
WDID No. 1B10019WNME
ECM PIN No.: CW-750104

Thank you for taking the time to send the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) your letter dated May 26, 2015. We apologize for the late response, as it appears the letter was delayed in transit. The letter’s envelope included a stamp date of June 5, but did not get processed in San Francisco until June 18, and did not arrive at our office until June 22. The letter expresses concern with the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) treatment of cultural resources on the Willits Bypass Project and the lack of cultural resource protection in the Willits Bypass State Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (MMP). The letter also expresses significant concern with Caltrans’s plan to use herbicide to control Himalayan blackberry on the Willits Bypass Project mitigation lands. Continue reading