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KQED has a video and some striking photos.  (Update:  The video is down)

I know it will be unpopular for me to have anything other than a party-line opposition to the whole concept of a by-pass, but I actually have very mixed feelings about it. As somebody who has been caught in the traffic jams, occasionally for as long as a half hour (these were particularly bad days where the line of cars went almost back to the mall intersection at the south end of town), I’m concerned about the air quality of the valley with so many vehicles constantly idling during “rush hours.” That being said, there are a number of problems with the bypass as planned, and I understand why there is such vehement opposition.

Unfortunately, there’s never much room for intelligent discussions of these things, and I was in the Willits town hall at one point where I saw the exhibits intended for a meeting of four possible bypass plans, and I wonder of the extent to which many of the protesters today participated in those meetings. Something about an ounce of prevention…

It does appear that the authorities are using excessive force, and shooting anything at somebody up in a tree is at best dangerous, and in my opinion reckless.  However, there are reports that the protestor was throwing items at them, and the details as reported by the CHP, if accurate, suggest that there might be a mental health issue involved.  But the video through the above link is down, and it’s not entirely clear to me what happened. I’m going to withold opinion until I have more facts.  If anyone has more information, then please post it.

Youtube has a slew of videos.  Here are a couple of them.  For more of them, just go to youtube and type in “Willits Bypass.”

The non-subscriber view of Bruce Anderson’s column leaves just enough to draw the curiosity.

RIVETING HED from Monday’s Ukiah Daily Journal, and above the fold, too: “CalTrans eases deadline on relinquishment agreement.” The story had to do with the Willits Bypass, a mythical project currently running neck and neck with Big Foot in ultimate likelihood. The Willits Bypass, given the givens of accelerating civic bankruptcy, might get half-done as work halts with a single off-ramp dead-ending at David and Ellen Drell’s house with the assurance, “Lannie Cotler. Three More Miles.”

So what happens to the matching funds if they don’t finish?  Plus they’ve already condemned a bunch of land.  Anyone know the story?

Here’s the referenced UDJ article and a more recent one on the funding.

Really, it would be fine with me. From the Times-Standard:

A project long in the works to create a four-lane highway bypass around Willits may get locked out in the cold if the California Transportation Commission bows to heavy political pressure brought from the state’s most traffic-impacted areas.

The Willits Bypass on U.S. Highway 101 is one of only nine rural area projects that were recommended for approval in the first round of funding from the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account, which is a pot of money derived from the recently voter-approved Proposition 1B. And it is the only local project on the statewide list put forward by staff of the commission.

But that hasn’t stopped the project from being targeted by urban areas, who think that money should go to ease congestion on their clogged highways.

I’ve been caught in that Highway 20 logjam on occasion, and it sucks. I even posted about it last summer. But I’m not so sure it’s an appropriate use of funds to save tourists 15 minutes of time driving through. I’m with the city slickers. They have congestion problems that are much more serious. I-80 in the East Bay. The transition from Richmond/San Rafael Bridge to 101. The 101 madness in the South Bay.

On top of it, bypasses can economically gut small towns like Willits, although Cloverdale seems to have rebounded from its initial havoc.

On the flip side, if less money was made available to urban areas for highway revision, maybe they would opt for more public transportation projects.

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