Drivers fatigued by constant construction delays on Highway 299 throughout the past summer and fall can look forward to a lasting reprieve in the next two weeks, according to Caltrans District 2 Project Manager Nathan Sellers in a project update to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors last week.
“It’s not in Trinity County, but it has certainly affected you,” he said in reference to the Dri Whiskey project to widen shoulders, replace guardrail, grade, repave and repair other damages caused by last summer’s Carr fire. The project is located on Highway 299 in Shasta County between Old Shasta and French Gulch with a 45-mile per hour speed reduction zone extending beyond to the Crystal Creek Road intersection.
The project has involved 24/7 one-way traffic control throughout much of its duration, increasing the travel time between Trinity County and Redding by at least 30 minutes each way.
Sellers said the project is expected to completely wrap-up within the next two weeks, the speed reduction zone will be restored to 55 miles per hour and motorists can expect “unencumbered access to Redding” in time for the holidays.
Sup. Keith Groves noted there is another project two years out to install fiber optic cable through the same area and he asked why there hasn’t been better coordination “to avoid tearing up the road again?”
Sellers said the cable will be installed in the roadway shoulder and hopefully not mean tearing up the road again, “but if we spent a lot of time waiting for all ducks to be in a row, it would take much longer to get any projects done. The fire rehab work was to address the emergency needs and the Dri Whiskey (shoulder improvement) project was in planning for a number of years, but it had to be scaled back considerably from what was originally proposed.”
He also provided an update on two other state highway projects being planned within Trinity County in the next two years: the addition of a left turn lane on Highway 3 at Tom Bell Road in Weaverville and a left-turn lane on Highway 299 at Denny Road.
The turn lane at Tom Bell Road is to improve access to the existing county solid waste and juvenile detention facility as well as the new jail facilities being constructed there. The $1.9 million project is on schedule to go out to bid early in the new year for construction in 2020.
The Denny Road left turn lane is a $2.3 million project on schedule for construction in the summer of 2021. Both projects are being funded through a combination of state and county road improvement allocations.