We got just a couple dozen replies to this topic, but many of the replies were very long and detailed.
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 -- some today, some next week.
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.)
-- Pamela Warmack: It is commonly acknowledged -- by the public and even Caltrans -- that Marysville needs a bypass. In fact, even Caltrans admits, if they proceed with this approximately $550 million corridor between Oroville and Marysville, a bypass around Marysville will still be needed. It was known Marysville needed a bypass in the 1980s. Yet, the myriad of routes suggested at that time cut through prime agricultural land and threatened the communities of Hallwood and District 10.
The 3-lane “Yuba-70 Safety Project” in the 9.6-mile stretch that comprises District 10 is already approved. The Safety Project includes a clear recovery zone (CRZ) on either side of the roadway with a minimum width of 20 feet that includes paved shoulders with a width of up to 10-14 feet and a 6-foot unpaved shoulder. This CRZ removes the barriers, such as trees, that vehicles may impact upon leaving the roadway. The drainage ditches throughout the project area will be converted to gradual swales. The widened shoulders will allow for CHP traffic stops and safer movement of agricultural equipment along the roadway. The Safety Project includes a continuous center left-turn lane the length of the District 10 to facilitate safer left turns into the more than 200 driveways that line the project, and also provides for 2 passing lanes in each direction, as well as 14-foot turn outs for bus stops (of which there are currently estimated to be 26 stops).
The major project the state/Caltrans is currently attempting to finalize on existing Highway 70 is a 5-lane expressway transportation corridor project from Oroville and on into Marysville to Ellis Lake. Given the configuration of the community of District 10, with its 200 driveways, constant on-and-off traffic -- including large trucks, and farming operations -- which often occur on both sides of the highway, residents, farmers, and businesses question the wisdom of this plan which will bring increased traffic -- an estimated 5,000 more vehicles, at greater speeds, resulting in a 10 percent increase in accidents and 4,000 cubic metric tons of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. All that traffic will be mired in congestion throughout Marysville, and all that truck traffic will still have no place to stop.
When just 1,000 dump trucks a day were hauling Camp Fire debris through Marysville, traffic was often backed up 3-4 miles north of town on Highway 70. Even without those additional dump trucks, traffic is routinely backed up to Earl Road south of town on Highway 70. Asking the town of Marysville to accommodate 5,000 more vehicles a day from an expressway is completely unreasonable, unless Caltrans plans to design a route straight through the middle of town, which would involve removing more of Marysville’s historic buildings, and character, and expand the E Street Bridge.
Keep 70 Safe and Save Marysville members are working hard to preserve the health and well-being of Marysville and its citizens, while advancing a plan for a safe and efficient bypass of District 10 and Marysville with opportunities for additional recreation facilities and business growth to help Marysville grow and thrive. We hope our elected officials will see the possibilities and insist on the responsible use of taxpayer monies and the right course of action for our area. The time to make that much-needed bypass a reality is now.
-- Bob Harlan: CalTrans is making a short-term decision for a long-term problem. But, while these improvements are nice, it only means that the traffic passing through Marysville will increase, when ideally, the traffic needs to decrease. I can remember a couple of decades ago when the bypass was a front burner issue (along with a third bridge). Russ Clark, who owned Carl’s Junior was looking at building a new restaurant on the bypass as the traffic coming through town would be decreased if the bypass became reality. Marysville, especially over the E street bridge is already a bottleneck and another bridge is needed to cross the Yuba River as well.
(More in the Weds. edition)