Residents respond to bypass idea
The bypass suggestion and a laundry list of other options will be discussed at the Town Hill Safety Task Force Meeting held in the supervisor’s chambers, 707 Nevada St., at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Dahle, who represents the area the bypass would traverse, strongly opposes the idea.
“If they’re going to put a freeway through my district out here, we’re going to turn some rocks over on it,” Dahle said. “I think they need to investigate other routes before they start knocking down Meadow View School and put trucks through there. It’s not going to happen. I’ve gotten calls. I’ve got concerns. I’ll be at the meeting.”
Chapman urged Dahle not to engage in hyperbole and said the suggested bypass was not a freeway and there were no plans to tear down Meadow View School.
The District 2 Supervisor said he thought the task force should examine every option available to help control truck traffic coming down the hill into Susanville.
“I think the task force has an obligation to study and look at all options and turn over every rock we can,” Chapman said. “This is one that hasn’t been turned over yet. Just because we talk about it, that doesn’t mean that’s the outcome. There are other alternatives. The bottom line is we can’t have trucks crashing at the bottom of the hill.”
Chapman said he’d discussed the Old Paul Bunyan Road bypass idea with Caltrans, and the state agency wasn’t very receptive.
“If they do make this an exit route that’s mandatory for those trucks, then they’ve got to look at it as an alternative Highway 36,” Chapman said. “So basically the whole Skyline thing — from where they tie in at all the way to where it hits Highway 36 on the east side — has become a de facto state highway. They’re not interested in taking over any more roadway.”
Chapman said Caltrans also has a number of other issues with the Old Paul Bunyan Road suggestion.
Several supervisors agreed with Chapman’s conclusion that something had to be done to stop the runaway trucks coming into town and endangering the public.
Chapman said the local drivers know about the hill and the corners coming into Susanville. The problem, he said, is with the drivers who have never come down the hill and into Susanville on Highway 36.
District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle asked about a mandatory truck brake inspection station at the top of the hill, and added such a station would have prevented a loaded truck from crashing into an apartment building on Sept. 11.
“If that facility had been in place,” Pyle said, “that 19-year-old kid would never have been let down the hill in the first place.”
Dahle, the only supervisor who holds a commercial Class 1 drivers license, said such a facility might not solve the problem.
“There are plenty of laws already in place” to prevent incidents such as the Sept. 11 accident, Dahle said. “There are plenty of regulations.”
Dahle said the California Highway Patrol doesn’t always stop every driver and many are waved through.
“That only would have worked if that driver had stopped,” Pyle said.
Chapman said Caltrans and the CHP have expressed an interest in a truck stop at the top of the hill, but they don’t have funding to build it right now.
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