Highway work targets Calif. redwoods
SAN FRANCISCO - A scenic stretch of Highway 101 through a majestic stand of ancient redwoods is called the gateway to Humboldt County, but officials and local businesses say this narrow roadway is actually a barrier to the region’s economic growth.
The California Department of Transportation plans to remove dozens of trees and realign a mile of the highway so it can be added to a national system of roads that allow so-called Surface Transportation Assistance Act trucks, which now cannot legally use the road. This is the only part of Highway 101 from San Francisco to the Oregon border where the large tractor-trailers aren’t permitted, except by a special exemption.
A group of North Coast residents on Thursday asked a federal judge in San Francisco to stop the project, saying the roadwork would damage the area’s towering, ancient redwoods and open up the area to more truck traffic, pollution, and development. The judge said his ruling would be delivered this week.
The residents see the fight as about preservation of one of the California coast’s last undeveloped areas. County officials say local businesses need cheaper shipping options.