Highway 36 Improvement Areas outlined in Caltrans document; group plans meeting on Oct. 28 in Fortuna

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

A specific section of State Route 36 near Dinsmore is targeted for safety improvements sometime in the future, under a Transportation Concept Report prepared by the California Department of transportation (Caltrans). The report does not include individual projects, but rather a vision for improvements to State Route 36 over the next 20 years.

State Route 36 covers 249 miles and runs through six counties (Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, Tehama, Plumas, and Lassen), starting in Humboldt County at Alton near Highway 101 and ending in Lassen County near Susanville and Highway 395. It is a scenic, mostly two-lane route, traversing through very remote terrain.

The area just west of Dinsmore has been identified in the report as a "management emphasis area." This same area is identified by the Highway 36 Association and others who spoke at several workshops held in July and August of 2010, as a top priority for needing safety improvements. The recommended fix is to upgrade this section of roadway to two 12-foot lanes with 2-foot shoulders.

More specifically, the area is marked as between Milepost 37.6 to Milepost 40.5, which now has an average width of 20-feet and no centerline striping. According to the Report, this narrow section does not meet minimum standards for a two-lane conventional highway, and is the only section of State Route 36 that is not wide enough to allow for centerline striping.

Between Alton and Red Bluff, the report notes, the shoulder lengths vary considerably. And although no individual projects are identified, the report calls for widening and paving shoulders to "improve operations," since State Route 36 serves as a critical link for communities to access basic services.

Another recommendation in the report is the placement of signs at certain locations to advise motorists of weather conditions. These would be installed for both pre-trip planning information and en route travel decisions. One suggested location is near South Fork Mountain in Trinity County, and in Humboldt County, near Alton, east of Bridgeville, and between Bridgeville and the Humboldt/Trinity County line. To view the entire State Route 36 Transportation Concept Report, go to www.dot.ca.gov/dist2/planning/conceptrpts.htm

In a related note, the Highway 36 Association will be holding its annual meeting on Friday, Oct. 28 in Fortuna. The dinner will take place at Las Cazuelas Restaurant in Fortuna, with no-host cocktails starting at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., and the meeting will be called to order by Highway 36 Association President Alan French at 7:15 p.m. For details, call the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce.