CalTrans Ordered to Stop Work on Willits Bypass…

Thanks to Pat Sobrero

WILLITS, Calif. (KGO) –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended the permit for the controversial Willits Bypass project which has been plagued by environmental and financial issues.

The construction project is on Highway 101 in Mendocino County where Caltrans is building a freeway bypass around the town of Willits. It is six miles long and will cost at least $210 million.

Construction on the freeway started early last year, but Caltrans is way behind schedule on required protections and improvements for the environment. As reported last week by ABC7 News, there have also been major erosion problems at the construction site with pollution running off into streams that provide habitat for threatened Coho salmon and steelhead trout. Caltrans was notified of repeated violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act.

The new freeway will go right through federally protected wetlands, with at least 40 acres of wetlands being filled. The impact is so severe the U.S. Army Corps required Caltrans to restore 400 acres of other wetlands to compensate. The state also has extensive environmental requirements.

Army Corps staff visited the site earlier this week and Friday issued a letter saying the permit for the Willits Bypass is “conditionally suspended.” The letter says Caltrans has “failed to complete mitigation site preparation actions in a timely manner.” The Corps says no additional construction work is allowed in the wetlands area until Caltrans complies with its permit conditions.

The Corps letter says Caltrans may continue to work on required environmental improvements as long they are “approved by the Corps in writing.”

A Caltrans spokesman sent the following statement:

        “Caltrans is working closely with The Army Corps of Engineers to resolve any issues regarding the Mitigation project at the Willits Bypass. We will be meeting with the Corps next week with the intent to be able to resume construction soon. We are committed to environmental protection of the Willits bypass project.”



Is this real, or just another trick to dissuade dissent? Past experience says the later. Pathological liars lie pathologically while trying to convince you that THIS TIME they are telling you the truth. Even if real it most likely represents some aspect of a bureaucratic turf war.


Apparently it is real, but the devil’s in the details, i.e the “conditions” of the permit suspension, which are as yet unknown, at least to the public. Ybera expresses the cynicism that corrupt so-called private-public (corporate/government) partnerships breeds.

    Naomi, people these days throw words around like autumn leaves with little care for where they land, so I am going to presume that you either do not understand the meaning of cynical or don’t realize that you are being insulting towards me. Realist have to deal with these sorts of aspersions frequently. The propaganda spin on cynical is that people who point out problems with the misuse of authority are somehow impaired by a mental disease. The Soviets used to put dissidents in mental hospitals. Our empire is less kind.

    So please be polite and try to avoid dissing people by trying to mischaracterizing their character. I am actually very trusting of the vast majority of folks. Remember, power corrupts. Not my observation. Besides, after a continuous pattern of lying by CalTrans so far, I don’t see how mistrust in this announcement is out of order.