Questions about the total cost of the Willits Bypass

WillitsAerial1In response to questions regarding the total cost of the Willits Bypass Project, District Director Matt Brady has the following statement:

“Although the Willits Bypass is one of the most important interregional projects for the north coast, eliminating delays on U.S. Highway 101 and easing congestion for residents, the project did have its challenges. Bypass construction costs, including the associated right-of-way, mitigation, and relinquishment projects, did rise to $300 million as protests, permitting issues and bird-nesting season delayed the project. This was previously shared at public California Transportation Commission meetings in 2014 and through press coverage. Support costs including staff and consultants added another $159 million, bringing the total cost to $459 million. Those support costs include assessing the environmental impacts of over 30 potential routes, the development of the most extensive and detailed mitigation plan in Caltrans’ history, and then rewriting large sections of that mitigation plan to resolve issues with evolving requirements from permitting agencies. Caltrans did mistakenly report $300 million as the total cost of the project as part of our opening day ceremony, however, as indicated previously, it only included construction costs, mitigation, etc., which was not the “total” cost, and this was an oversight on our part.”