Work on Sherwood Road Realignment Project Begins June 4

WillitsMeeting_03042014One of the final pieces to the relinquishment agreement between Caltrans and the City of Willits is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 4. The Sherwood Road Realignment Project will improve the function of this high traffic volume intersection.

The first order of work will be vegetation removal on the hillside next to Sherwood Road. The tree removal will occur at night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. in order to reduce impacts to traffic. One-way traffic control will be in effect with short delays.


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.”

Summer Traffic Showing Willits Bypass a Success

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 6.26.32 PM

The south interchange of the Willits Bypass the day before opening to traffic, November 2, 2016.

Schools are out, summer is here, and the Willits Bypass is successfully handling the extra traffic during its first summer of use.  The long traffic backlogs and delays which have been the norm for decades have not reappeared.  The April traffic counts show that on average more than 4,000 vehicles per day are using the bypass and not creating the previously reoccurring congestion in downtown Willits. As summer traffic peaks even higher the bypass is anticipated to continue to easily handle the traffic.

“The California Highway Patrol is extremely pleased with the efficiency of having the Willits Bypass,” said CHP Lieutenant Randy England, Garberville Area commander. “We have seen the impact of safer roadways and less congestion during busy weekends.” Those busy weekends so far this year have included Memorial Day, the Redwood Run, as well as Humboldt State University’s graduation. In the past CHP would have added extra officers in the Willits area during these weekends, manually directing drivers to keep traffic moving during severe backups. Thus far, there has been no need for traffic control assistance. Continue reading

Public Invited to Willits Bypass Completion and Memorial Bridge Dedication Ceremony

Caltrans invites the public to join with us on Thursday, November 3, to celebrate the opening of the Willits Bypass Project.  The ceremony begins at 11 a.m., and parking opens at 10 a.m. The ceremony will also include the dedication of the 1.1 mile long viaduct as the Jesse D Pittman S01 Navy SEAL Memorial Bridge. The celebration will be held on the new highway, at the south end of the viaduct. Entry will be through the south interchange, just south of Willits. Follow the signs for “Special Event” to be directed to parking.willitsmap_completion_for_public

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September, 2016 Update to Willits City Council


The following is a summary of the construction activities that have been completed up to September 20, 2016

  • Contractor has completed approximately 96% of work on the project. photo18

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

  • Paving HMA complete with the exception of Stamped gore paving at ramp gores. Completion is expected by October 01.
  • Northbound traffic is currently routed onto the bypass to the new Hwy 20 exit and back to Willits. Traffic will be in this configuration until the bypass opening.
  • Striping and delineation operations are in process. Completion is expected by the middle of October.
  • The Drainage systems are complete and functioning.
  • Electrical facilities for message boards and CCTV cameras are currently being installed. Completion is expected by the middle of October.  Street lighting is operational.
  • Roadway signs are currently being installed and anticipated to be completed in early October.
  • All structures are complete.
  • Contractor is working on miscellaneous punchlist items and cleanup to complete construction. Completion is anticipated to be complete by the end of October.

photo1Floodway Viaduct – STA “A” 149+00 to 167+50 (1.2 miles): Continue reading

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



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.

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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

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