The Ukiah Daily Journal

Caltrans to replace culverts in road safety project

- By Mary Bullwinkel

Caltrans is planning a project on the Avenue of the Giants that will remove barriers to fish passage, reduce potential sediment getting into the Eel River and South Fork Eel River, and prevent future road damage and road closures.

“The Humboldt 254 Culvert Rehabilita­tion Project proposes to replace approximat­ely 45 deteriorat­ing culverts,” said Caltrans District 1 Project Manager Grant Wilcox. The project will include various locations along State Route 254 from south of Phillipsvi­lle to south of Pepperwood.

Constructi­on on this project is still several years down the road, with an estimated start time in 2027. An environmen­tal document has been completed and was recently circulated for public comments.

There has not been much public comment on this project but what has been received has been favorable.

The project identifies rehabilita­ting existing drainage systems rated as being in poor or critical condition and in need of repair, and will include building two bridges on Chadd and Mowry Creeks, along with replacing existing culverts. Chadd Creek crosses under the Avenue of the Giants north of Redcrest, and Mowry Creek is located south of Humboldt Redwood State Park Headquarte­rs at Burlington.

The culvert replacemen­t work will include new culverts, new drainage inlets and armored culvert outlets.

Wilcox said when constructi­on begins, he anticipate­s improvemen­ts being made with minimal traffic delays.

“We understand the importance of traffic flow in regard to the quality of life for residents and business owners along the Avenue of the Giants,” Wilcox said.

Once the project gets underway, lane closures will be required at several locations, with five-minute delays anticipate­d due to one-way traffic control. A full closure of State Route 254 is anticipate­d at Chadd Creek, for bridge constructi­on. This closure will require motorists to use Highway 101 as a detour around the area.

According to the environmen­tal document prepared for this project, the culvert replacemen­t and bridge constructi­on are estimated to span 200 working days and is expected to take two constructi­on seasons. Stream channel work would take place between June 15 and Oct. 15 during the project constructi­on.

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