Hwy. 267 Bypass faces delay
As the 1999 building season ticks away, Caltrans faces another delay in the construction of the Highway 267 Bypass, due to lack of a quorum at Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Since his election, Gov. Gray Davis has not appointed new Lahontan board members to fill five vacant seats, leaving the agency without enough members to hold a meeting.
“We’re just waiting for Gov. Davis to fill the slots at Lahontan,” Caltrans spokesperson Laura Featherstone said. “We have filed for a flood plain permit for the bypass and that requires board action.”
Councilmember Bob Drake, the town’s representa tive on the Nevada County Transportation Commission, drafted a letter to Davis, urging him not to let the situation at Lahontan delay construction of the bypass.
By press time on Wednesday, no reply had been received to the town’s letter.
The next scheduled meeting of the Lahontan board is in July.
Lahontan Executive Director Harold Singer said the governor staff is now “working feverishly” to complete appointments to the board.
“We’re hoping to see some appointments real soon,” Singer said.
He said the Lahontan board must approve an exemption to the agency’s basin plan prohibitions before Caltrans can proceed with the bypass projects, and that approval by Lahontan is required before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can issue a permit to Caltrans.
Construction of the $25 million bypass project was to begin this summer, but Caltrans also has to resolve issues with the U.S. Forest Service, because the new road will cut across the path of the historic Overland Emigrant Trail.
The two agencies are currently discussing mitigation measures, which could include the construction of a memorial marking the path of the trail.
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Nevada County is now likely to remain in the red tier barring “extenuating circumstances,” thanks to changes to the state’s reopening blueprint announced this week.