Statement Regarding Project Injunction

In regard to the United States District Court, Northern District of California May 2 injunction that has stopped work on the 197/199 Safe STAA Access Project, which will widen locations on State Routes 197 and 199 and replace an aging bridge to improve safety and provide access to industry standard sized trucks, Caltrans has the following statement:

“This project is designed to allow access for industry standard-sized trucks on State Routes 197 and 199 while minimizing environmental impacts. The injunction is delaying needed safety enhancements and, unfortunately, will significantly increase costs to the public. Caltrans continues to be committed to providing sustainable transportation solutions while preserving California’s environmental resources.”

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Statement Regarding Preliminary Injunction Filed in Federal Court

Caltrans is preparing a response to the motion for a preliminary injunction against this project filed recently by plaintiffs in federal court. It is Caltrans policy not to comment on pending litigation. To learn more about the 197/199 Safe STAA Access Project, including the Final Environmental Document which is available for download, please visit:

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Statement Regarding Complaint Filed in Federal Court

Yesterday, Caltrans received unofficial word that a complaint would be filed against this project in Federal Court. Below is a statement:

While it is Caltrans policy to not comment on any pending litigation, what we can say is that Caltrans is confident that our environmental assessment for the 197/199 Safe STAA Access Project is complete and accurate. Great care was taken in the development of this project to provide industry-standard STAA truck access while improving safety for all users. Providing good stewardship of California’s natural resources is one of our most important goals. This project successfully provides a balanced approach that improves safety and minimizes environmental impacts, while improving efficient goods movement through this area of Del Norte County.

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California Transportation Commission Approves Funding for Del Norte Project

Middle Fork Smith River Bridge Replacement

Artist’s simulation of the Middle Fork Smith River Bridge Replacement on Route 199 in Del Norte County as part of the 197/199 Safe STAA Access project.

In a unanimous vote on August 6, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced the allocation of $14.9 million to a project on Route 199 in Del Norte County that will realign and widen a portion of the highway known as the “Patrick Creek Narrows” near Gasquet. The project will also replace the nearby Middle Fork Smith River Bridge.

The Patrick Creek Narrows Project is administered by Caltrans in partnership with the Del Norte Local Transportation Commission, and is the first of a series of proposed projects in Del Norte County intended to deliver safety-enhancements that will improve drivability for all highway users, while also improving area access for industry-standard trucks compliant with the 1982 Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA). The Route 199 corridor is not presently designated an official STAA accessible route.

“The allocation of funding for this project is a step in the right direction in terms of improving access and safety to this segment of Route 199 in Del Norte County and the North Coast. All users of the highway will benefit, and it is an important first step in providing industry-standard trucking access to the coast,” said District 1 Director Charlie Fielder.

“We have a great team that has really done a fantastic job of delivering this much needed project.  This project not only has the smallest possible environmental footprint while providing safe STAA access, but will replace an 88 year old arch bridge with a beautiful new arched bridge that will be a landmark for the next several generations,” said Kevin Church, Caltrans Project Manager.

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Suit Filed Regarding Project Environmental Document

On May 15, Caltrans received unofficial word that a suit was filed regarding the 197/199 Safe STAA Access Project environmental document. Caltrans has been officially served, and it is Caltrans’ policy not to comment on pending litigation.

This project will enable STAA trucks to safely access Routes 199 and 197 by doing minimal improvements to seven spot locations, areas known for their narrow shoulders, and narrow lanes. Improvements will be made to site distances, curves, and will include replacement of the Middle Fork Smith River Bridge. By increasing lane sizes from 10 foot lanes to 12 foot lanes, the project will benefit all users of these highways.

We invite you to view the final environmental document for this project and to learn more about the care that has gone into the environmental analysis for this project—a project which strives to minimize any environmental impacts while also engineering the safest highway possible.

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Final Environmental Document Released

Caltrans District 1 announced the release of the final environmental evaluation document for the “197/199 Safe STAA Access” project in Del Norte County, a project designed to improve seven spot locations on Routes 197 and 199. “Caltrans has worked very hard to eliminate avoidable impacts, and minimize all other impacts to natural resources throughout the project development process for the Del Norte STAA project,” said project manager Kevin Church.

Middle Fork Smith River Bridge Replacement

Photo simulation of the Middle Fork Smith River Bridge Replacement on Route 199 in Del Norte County as part of the 197/199 Safe STAA Access project.

Presently, narrow highway widths and tight curves restrict access for national network industry standard trucks compliant with the 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) between the North Coast and the east. Safety-enhancing improvements include wider lanes and shoulders, curve redesign for longer turn radius, and improved sight distances. These corridors are currently under a trucking kingpin to rear axle advisory limit of 30 feet.

The areas outlined for the project include adjustments to Route 197 near Ruby Van Deventer County Park, and to Route 199 near the Narrows, at Washington Curve, and in the Patrick Creek area. The improvements will increase road usability for all of the traveling public, while eliminating the need and extra time presently required to move products into smaller rigs for transport to and from the coast.

“In the final environmental document, you will notice there are special precautions in place to avoid impacts to the roots of large redwoods, and work windows to avoid disturbing marbled murrelets. The bridge will be built without diverting water or entering the river, which avoids impacts to salmon. Caltrans has been working closely with other state and federal agencies to minimize impacts to endangered species,” said Jason Meyer, the project’s environmental coordinator. Meyer is a graduate of Humboldt State University, receiving his Master of Science degree in natural resources, wildlife management.

Titled the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment – Finding of No Significant Impact (FEIR/EA-FONSI) and Section 4(f) Evaluation, the released document will be available for public viewing at the Del Norte County Library, 190 Price Mall in Crescent City, at the Caltrans District 1 Office, 1656 Union Street in Eureka, or by using links below.

For more information regarding the environmental document release, please contact Sandra Rosas, Senior Environmental Planner at 707-441-5730, and for more information about the project, please contact Kevin Church, Project Manager at 707-445-6440. Please direct media inquiries to Scott Burger, Public Information Officer at 707-441-3998.

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Welcome to the official source of news and information for the 197/199 Safe STAA Access Project. In the near future, updated posts will appear regarding this project.

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