Improvements planned for Redwood Highway U.S. 199

The Associated Press
Thursday April 04, 2002

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The first in a series of safety projects to improve the narrow canyon stretch of the Redwood Highway that winds above the Smith River in Northern California has been put out for bid, officials say. 

The first project on U.S. 199, set for this summer, is a barrier rail that will be installed around the perimeter of the turnout near California milepost 8.3 along the main link between southern Oregon to the Northern California coast. 

The rail will replace a few boulders that now are the only thing between the highway turnout and the steep slope leading down to the river. 

The California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, is planning seven projects over the next four years on U.S. 199, but officials say only the first project has been approved. The rest are still being developed and public comments are being solicited. 

Next Wednesday, Caltrans officials will hold a workshop in Crescent City, Calif., to present information on the first project and the other proposals. The workshop will feature displays including a full-size model of the “see-through” barrier rail set for installation at the turnout. 

Another project, a curve realignment near milepost 7.5 about a mile north of Hiouchi, Calif., is now in the environmental review phase and is tentatively set to be built during the summer of 2003. 

Other projects being proposed include restoring and improving highway shoulders near milepost 8.7 and milepost 8.2, possibly during the summer of 2004 and 2005. Also, a highway realignment project near milepost 23.6 including a retaining wall or viaduct is being considered for the summer of 2005. 

The Hardscrabble Creek Bridge, located near milepost 11, is tentatively planned to be replaced during the summer of 2006. 

“What we’re trying to do is address all spot locations where we have a collision history,” said Gary Banducci, project manager for Caltrans.