Rep. Doolittle tours Truckee to evaluate issues
Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, toured Truckee Friday, getting a first-hand look at local issues ranging from fire management to the Mousehole.
Shown around by Mayor Richard Anderson and Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens, Doolittle experienced first-hand some of the town’s pressing issues.
The delegation of elected officials visited forest fuel-management sites, dense forest stands in need of fuel-reduction treatment, the hazardous intersection of Highway 89 north and Alder Creek Road, and the often-congested Mousehole undercrossing on Highway 89 south.
Anderson said they first traveled to Tahoe Donner to look at the work of Bill Houdyschell, the sprawling mountain development’s forester.
“I was very impressed,” Doolittle said in a phone interview Thursday. “It may have been the most outstanding forest thinning I’ve ever seen, it was the gold standard of what forest thinning should be.”
Next the three officials went up Alder Creek Road, viewing U.S. Forest Service land in need of fuel-reduction treatment.
“After we saw what good forest management looks like, we showed him the wick that could ignite Tahoe Donner ” the back entrance on Alder Creek,” Anderson said.
Doolittle said the untreated forest appeared the same as the forests in Tahoe that recently ignited in the Angora blaze.
“I understand the Forest Service didn’t have the funding to treat it, but to me they better find the funding because it is a terrible fire waiting to happen.”
Owens and Anderson also took Doolittle by the intersection of Alder Creek Road and Highway 89 north to personally evaluate the danger that was poignantly highlighted recently by a fatal accident.
“We spent a fair amount of time watching the movement issues at the intersection,” Owens said. “The intersection is Caltrans jurisdiction, but I believe it’s helpful to have as many eyes on an issue like this as possible. If Caltrans or the state can’t help us, we can call the congressman to see if he can help find any other pot of money for highway safety.”
Doolittle said by watching the intersection, he better grasped the danger it represents to motorists.
“I’ve indirectly been able to secure funding for other projects, so it is possible I could help with this intersection,” Doolittle said. “It appeared that Caltrans cleaned up the sight-line quite a bit prior to my tour, so we may have already had some influence just by showing up.”
As for the Mousehole, Doolittle said he viewed the two alternatives the town is considering (a pedestrian-tunnel bore and a new bridge span), and spent time examining the undercrossing’s layout.
Doolittle previously secured $2.8 million in federal funding for the Mousehole, and said he would try for more as plans progress.
“I am waiting for the town to adopt the plan they want, then I can proceed to pursue additional funding,” Doolittle said.