Saturday, September 23, 2023

Mendocino County’s Department of Transportation Is ‘Spread Thin’—5th District Supervisor Calls for More Funding

The following is a message from Mendocino County’s 5th District Supervisor to constituents. We invite all local leaders to contact us at matthewplafever@gmail.com and share their missives to the community:

A 1960s bulldozer clearing roads in Northern Mendocino County [Picture from the Mendocino County Department of Transportation]

Mendocino County road crews are spread thin. They currently are working 12-hour days to clear down trees on Usal Rd in the Whale Gulch school area to make the road wide enough to allow emergency vehicles and parents access to the school.

Fort Bragg crews assisted with snow removal in the Bell Springs and Spy Rock area on 1960s dozers.

Boonville and Point Arena crews continue to open roads and will be starting on Fishrock Rd with assistance from CAL Fire inmate crews next Monday.

With the heavy rains and strong winds forecast for tomorrow, crews will once again be busy opening culverts and dealing with down trees. Potholes, while a nuisance (and in my view, a safety hazard) remedy will have to wait until crews have a chance to come up for air.

Our current Department of Transportation situation is not sustainable. It’s time to fund the basic services that the public expects. Fire, roads, and law enforcement. Every county resident uses a county road to get to work, school, medical appointments and other life necessities each day and expects maintenance on their road.

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With the reduced crew size the department cannot provide the services the public expects. Crews will make every effort to fill the worst of the worst potholes as soon as possible.

The needed course correction can only come through the leadership of county Supervisors. The annual budget process is approaching. I hope you’ll be part of the conversation and guide us in balancing competing priorities.

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with the urgency to prioritize our roads. I also understand the high demand the storms are putting on the county’s resources. I live on Philo-Greenwood Rd. and the road has been in terrible condition for years. Not only does the old pavement take a beating from the ongoing winter storms, it also is used as a main route for coastal traffic when hwy 128 is closed. The ongoing logging trucks are a whole other matter. The road has become a hazard and is simply unsafe, not to mention damaging to wheels and tires which which we’ve had to spend money on repairing on numerous occasions.

  2. What I hear is you or they want more money. To fix the roads in Mendocino county. To expect more money. For one CA pays more gas taxes and fees then most other states. With all the hidden fees plus taxes CA. Pays $1.72 dollars per gal if not more. I know counties only get a small part of this. But if you look at the waste that is happening with caltrans there is no accountability there at all. A example there is 18 miles of highway 101 that starts 6 miles south of laytonville and goes to bell springs road north . Cal trans has been working on this section of highway. For 8 years they over lay it it lasted a couple months. Then they come back dig it up re surface it last 6 months. Than dig coverts up put new in than re surface it again it lasted a month or two the black top was soft and bulged up.si you get the point. I heard it cost 8 million dollars each time so that’s 64 million dollars. That should have cost 8 million. So someone needs be responsible. Make sure that us the tax payer is getting a dollars worth of value for every tax dollar. So before asking for more taxes some one needs to take responsibility and make sure this is happening

  3. A good portion of State Caltrans $ now goes to bike paths and alternatives to driving. As a result, less goes to actual highway maintenance. As for the county and cities, it is the same. Sales tax $ may go to “green” interests that are not road resurfacing, and CA tax though MCOG to more bike paths, road diet like State Street, and even the Great Redwood Trail. CA is obsessed with anti-gas, anti-car measures despite what we want, which is good roads for cars.

    • I am curious as to the percentage of transportation $$ spent on bike paths. Would you please post that and the source? Thanks

  4. I have a few questions and this is just my opinion. Was Mendocino County declared a Storm Emergency by state of California?
    Caltrans is state work. So this is Mendocino County work being addressed. If emergency was declared… can exspenses for non county, private properties for human and animal emergency survival work, that was done, be reimbursed? Since that job work was done for emergency response for safety of county residents, it seems possible. Was this hourly and equipment work, on private roads and properties, separated for costs reimbursment, for State and Federal disaster purposes? Since Mendocino County is the big part of the first line of defense and response in natural disasters, can our county get funds, for all non county private properties responses job, which technically is private properties owners responsibilities, in emergencys? New taxes always seem to end, going somewhere else, in general fund, instead of where the initial monies, which were earmarked to cover. So understandable public is new tax weary. Just curious questions, that maybe important, about recent financial crisis plea, from Supervisors about road upkeep. If this is more about city roads….that’s recent city councils choices.

  5. Yes more money is needed, priorities needed to be looked at, but also new leadership in County DOT. The same old methods of deferred maintenance is costly the members of the community dearly.

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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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