What is the Project? In January of 1999 and November of 2000, two Project Study Reports (PSR) were completed identifying deficiencies in the existing facility. The 1999 PSR addressed only environmental issues and was intended to identify programming of funds to complete an appropriate environmental document for a conceptual interchange and freeway extension project. The PSR concluded in November of 2000 investigated alternatives for a project to address facility deficiencies.
A project currently referred to as the "Ultimate" project involves the extension of the existing State Route 70 from just south of SR 162, south to north of Palermo Road, for a total length of approximately 3 miles, to include an interchange at Ophir Road and SR 70, an over-crossing at or near Georgia Pacific Way, and relocation of existing frontage roads at Pacific Heights Road and Feather River Boulevard. Several alternatives were reviewed with the middle alternative being selected as a preferred alternative by the Project Design Team (PDT). The selection of this alternative was highly contingent upon the avoidance of environmental concerns with respect to wetlands and vernal pools and also lends itself to more efficient construction from a temporary staging and traffic handling standpoint.
Why is the Project being done? The existing facility does not currently meet minimum standards for Median Width, Horizontal Alignment and Vertical Alignment. The current stopping sight distance is for 50 mph. When combined, all of these factors bring into question the compliance of this facility with other design standards.
What is the current status of the Project?
In November of 2005 Caltrans completed a CEQA Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) and NEPA - Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) as required.
Due to the extremely high total cost of this alternative (approximately $50 million), BCAG, Caltrans, the City of Oroville and Butte County began looking at alternatives that were more affordable yet met the "Purpose and Need" for the Project.
A project to improve sight distance and install signals at Ophir Road and Highway 70 was completed in the Spring of 2009.
In April of 2006, Caltrans began preparing a Phase One of the "Ultimate" project to include the extension of four lanes of State Route 70 from State Route 162, through Georgia Pacific Way to north of Ophir Road. The groundbreaking for this project was April 6, 2010. Construction was completed in the summer of 2011. The remainder of the "ultimate project" will be pursued in subsequent phases as determined by funding availability.
State Route 70 Passing Lanes:
In late 2014, Caltrans and the Butte County Association of Governments extended the vision of projects on State Route 70 to look at the entire 26 miles between Oroville and Marysville. Currently under development is a 3 mile section of passing lanes from Ophir Road south to Palermo road. Construction of this passing lane project could begin in 2020. Successive 3 mile projects are conceptually planned to occur over the next 20 years. Critical to the completion o f these projects relies entirely on the funding available through federal and state sources.
Questions or comments: Should you have any questions or comments regarding the project please call or e-mail Jon Clark, Executive Director or Andy Newsum, Project Manager at (530) 809-4616.