Saturday, June 3, 2023

Google Maps is Wrong: Highway 101 Is Open and There is No Need to Reroute Onto Tomki Road

The Caltrans Highway sign display currently in place in Mendocino County

Northbound commuters: Highway 101 in Mendocino County is open, despite what Google Maps might say. Do not take Tomki Road to avoid a highway closure. The highway is ndeed open.

Scanner traffic and the California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Information page indicate incorrect information provided by Google Maps is leading drivers to believe Highway 101 northbound is closed near the site of the Walker Fire.

Google Maps recommends drivers take the rural Tomki Road north instead of Highway 101, which has led a steady stream of vehicles up the roadway this evening.

A reporting party described sections of Tomki Road as washed out with large rocks concerned that smaller vehicles would not be able to navigate the roadway.

CHP and Caltrans worked to make sure all the highway messages display “Highway 101 is Open in Mendocino County”.

Redwood Valley social media has been abuzz this evening with residents reporting a notably significant amount of vehicle traffic going up Tomki Road. The misinformation from Google Maps could very well be the reason why.

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The Google Maps road closure could be a result of the Walker Fire yesterday afternoon, but it’s worth noting that even during the height of the wildfire the highway was not shutdown.

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  1. Um, hilariously people think they are taking the scenic route to Willits all the time!
    I’m talking people get confused when faced with crossing the creek bottom 9 times!! (”My goodness Harold, this road is poorly maintained!”)
    Many of us escaped the fire on that road, btw. Should be kept passable just in case

  2. Tomki goes right through our ranch at the ridge near Cave Creek and heading north… It was a total nightmare! It started in the morning and continued all day so there were hundreds of cars! Those poor travelers for Labor Day weekend with their RV trailers! I did what I could and went down there and talked to people and told them to turn around but it was ridiculous. I opened the horse pasture so they could have room to turn the trailers around…
    they were still under the impression the 101 was closed going north.
    I called highway patrol around 2 o’clock and they didn’t know what they could do, then I called the sheriff and they didn’t know what they could do…
    Besides people getting stuck and the horror of it all, imagine impact on the creek crossings? There are eight direct four-wheel-drive creek crossings on the way to willits. They were coming both ways. Sad environmental impact. On all this complicated and exacerbated by the fact there’s no phone service for the entire way past the ridge.

    • I’m one of the out-of-state travelers who got caught up in this. I have seen a lot of fire service roads because I was a reporter in a remote area. I wondered if the sections that had exposed boulders were once covered with wooden planks and they eventually burned.

      Anyway, you live in a gorgeous area! Under better circumstances I would have enjoyed it. 😝

  3. Not even remotely funny. This looked like a fire service road. Much of it was one lane, washed out? You mean burned out. Logs crispy on the side of the road. Two or three burned cars. 96 degrees. The terrain was suitable for an ATV, and I am not laughing. I sustained damage to my undercarriage. Thanks Google.

  4. My wife and I stopped for gas at Coyote Canyon and were routed through this washed out trail. Wife was driving an all wheel drive, high clerance vehicle. I was driving her step-mother’s mini van. The road went from asphalt to gravel to washed out dirt in a matter of two miles. It was close to 100 degrees, there was NO (absolutely NONE) phone service and the trail was almost too rough for a mini van. (Almost). There was a BIG Uhaul truck that was stopped and considering this route, we aren’t sure what happened to them.

    We made it. We passed burned out cars, and abandoned, vandalized car and some outbuilding shack type homesteads. It was pretty intense. We did pass a few locals that warned us and gave us some advice, but other than that, we would have been in trouble if either of us got stuck or had any vehicle issues.

    It made for an adventure and a fun story to tell, but this was sketchy.

    • We need to form a support group. My Ford Escape – which is not a four-wheel-drive – made it, but I am pretty sure it did some damage to the suspension and undercarriage. That was crazy. At one point I came up onto a group of about eight cars that were stopped, wondering what they should do. What sucked at that point is you either turn around and endure another several miles of that road, or you go forward and have no freaking clue what awaits you.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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