For property owners and businesses north of Marysville along Highway 70, witnessing bad accidents is too commonplace. But a Caltrans project intended to address safety issues will come at a price to some: property loss.
Laura McGrath, owner of De Palma Ranch, said improving the two-lane stretch of highway from north of Marysville to the Butte/Sutter county line is important for public safety, but she doesn’t think the proposed project will make conditions safer for drivers.
“I want public safety because my family travels this road, too, but I don’t know if it’s actually going to affect safety in this area. If anything, I think it’s going to make it worse,” McGrath said. “I think more could be done with proper patrolling of the highway from law enforcement than to widen all of the lanes.”
McGrath said adding a middle turn lane might seem like an improvement in terms of safety, but it would inadvertently create what she called a “suicide lane” where drivers are more likely to try and pass other vehicles.
The Highway 70 Safety Improvement Project, slated for roughly 9.5 miles of roadway stretching from Laurellen Road to the South Honcut Creek Bridge, includes widening the highway to provide a 14-foot-wide center turn lane, two 12-foot-wide travel lanes, and 8-foot-wide shoulders.
The project is estimated to cost more than $100 million. At a forum last week, officials with Caltrans said they had acquired approximately $70 million so far for the project. Construction on the project could begin as early as 2020 and is expected to be completed by…
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