Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Coastal Commission Approves Piecemeal Destruction of the Albion Gateway to the Coast

Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to matthewplafever@gmail.com. Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication.

Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of MendoFever nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.

Navarro Point looking south [Pictures provided by letter writer]

For everyone traveling to the coast via Highway 128, the gateway to the Mendocino Coast is the panoramic vista of grassland, ocean, and coastal terraces just south of Albion. It’s hard to not feel a sense of wonder when you arrive at this coastal cathedral.

At least for now. Because on February 10, the California Coastal Commission did Caltrans’ dirty work when they voted to severely reshape this beautiful, environmentally sensitive region.

By a 7–1 vote, the commissioners allowed Caltrans to widen the Highway 1 road prism by grading the Navarro Ridge wildlife corridor and adjacent Navarro Point Preserve. Thanks to their vote, dramatic marine terraces and slopes will be replaced by highly engineered, slide-prone slopes up to 60 feet high.

Navarro Point looking north

Caltrans says it’s about safety. The truth is, Caltrans’ goal is to build, piece by piece, a straighter, faster Highway 1 from Navarro Grade to Dark Gulch — a mini freeway pointed straight at Caltrans’ proposed demolition of the historic Albion River Bridge.

- Advertisement -

There are cheaper, less destructive ways to protect motorist safety and the coastal environment. There’s no good reason to speed up Highway 1 and deform the terrain surrounding the Navarro Point Preserve.

Why did the commissioners rubber-stamp Caltrans’ plans? Perhaps because Caltrans pays the Coastal Commission over $1 million a year to receive preferential design advice and permit processing. Something stinks about this arrangement.

To learn more about Caltrans’ destructive plans for Albion, visit the Albion Bridge Stewards website at http://albioncab.wordpress.com.

Annemarie Weibel, Member of the Albion Bridge Stewards

- Advertisement -


  1. I agree with many of the sentiments about saving the coast, but I have several concerns about leaving the situation.
    I know that many people who cycle up the coast find the roads so narrow and dangerous that they fear for their lives. The hill up from the Navarro river is one of the worst if coming uphill, as there are such sharp corners that a bicycle can be in big trouble if someone is driving over 15 mph, as most are. As far as the Albion bridge goes, I know that the ground under it is so toxic from heavy metals leaching out of the wood that a good friend told me their dog would vomit whenever it was under the bridge. I worry that when the big one hits, the bridge will be gone as the concrete is now over 75 years old, and you can see stress cracks in the supports, which is both expected and normal for concrete in a salt environment. When we next have a big earthquake in our area, I would expect many bridges and overpasses to fail in the Bay area resulting in a ten-year or longer process to rebuild roads and bridges. I expect Albion would be at the bottom of that repair list. The nearest hospital would then be in Ukiah, and if the Salmon Creek bridge was also to fail, it could be 2 hours to the hospital. As much as I love the bridge, I also am greatly concerned with the toxic metals leaching out of the wood, the Earthquake issues, and the future safety of our community and people who visit our lovely area.

Join the Conversation

MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

Today's News


News from the Week