Usually, we keep “What Do You Think?” comments down to a few sentences. We’re making an exception for this important issue and will run long responses. This is the second part of what will be a series of comments.
The topic: “Many Marysville and District 10 residents are concerned with CalTrans plans. The state highway department is working on a major project to widen Hwy 70 between Marysville and Butte County, and a safety improvement project is proposed for the highway as it comes into Marysville.
Some say the plans for widening 70, intended to improve safety on a stretch of road that has more than its share of accidents, could actually make the highway less safe. And opponents argue that bringing extra lanes of traffic up to the Marysville boundary could dramatically increase the traffic count .”
(Responses are straight from Facebook and are not fact checked.)
– Holly Magiera: Yes, Marysville seriously needs a bypass. It seems like no matter the time of day, traffic in the town is horrendous. That’s why I try to avoid Marysville at all costs.
– Kevin Balluff: ... perhaps you can summarize for your readers the reasons why Caltrans cancelled all plans for a bypass through Hallwood back in the 1990s and how that decision led to the street improvements in Marysville and the Hwy 70 widening project. The ship sailed on a bypass decades ago.
– Neil Goforth: ... There have been as many as 5 proposed routes. One was as far east as Loma Rica Road, another criss-crossed the existing Hwy 70 and Union Pacific railroad tracks, others went through the middle of farmland east of the railroad tracks. Farmers didn’t want their land cut in two so they created a patchwork of wetlands that stopped the project at that time. More recently a private proposal has been put forth that impacts very few homes, does minimal impact to the farmland, and has the potential for increased wetlands/water storage. Keep70Safe has more information.
– Susan Johnson: What happened to the Wheatland highway around Beale to Chico bypassing Marysviile plans? It was being worked in 2013 and then stopped?
– Neil Goforth: After working on this issue for 3+ years as a member of Keep 70 Safe and meeting with city, county, state, and federal representatives, almost all say, “keep fighting.” Here’s what we’ve learned:
1. The need for a Bypass was recognized 40 years ago;
2. Trying to get city, county, local business (like trucking), public transportation, disposal service, Caltrans, and concerned citizens in the same room to discuss our area’s future has been met with resistance by some locally-elected agencies;
3. The same traffic expert that developed the formula Caltrans uses for their own studies concluded traffic accidents will increase by 10% in District 10 (due to 5 lanes, increased speeds, encountering 200 driveways);
4. The number of vehicles will increase by 5,000, while CO2 levels will increase by 4,000 cubic metric tons per year. Congestion and pollution in the city of Marysville is detrimental and continues to be cited as a reason many businesses leave the city of Marysville;
5. As studies elsewhere have shown, and as the City of Lincoln is realizing (County of Placer presentation), a Bypass can allow a city to flourish, be walkable, improves the quality of life, improves businesses which bring in much-needed revenues to the city.
Something else to consider is safe and efficient evacuations. As we’ve seen with high water, floods, and fire, getting into, through and out of Marysville is extremely difficult. People sat for hours on Hwy. 70 when the Oroville Dam Spillway gave way and 180,000 people evacuated. The levees in District 10 have only a 100-year level of flood protection. If a levee in District 10 were to fail, the water at Saddleback Estates could be 13 feet deep. People stuck in their cars would mean casualties.
The Keep 70 Safe Association has been told numerous times by state and federal leaders to, “get your Marysville City Council and Yuba County Supervisors to give us something we can support,” when it comes to finding funds for a bypass. The opportunity for a bright future for Marysville and our area is there if we come together. Let’s make it happen now.