Caltrans Eyes Mt Shasta Highway Interchange Improvements


If you drove through the Interstate 5-Highway 89 interchange last week, you might have noticed traffic counters across the roadways and freeway ramps, and even some Caltrans personnel alongside the road, watching how traffic flows.

Caltrans intends to use the information it gathers to design potential alternatives for the interchange at the south end of Mount Shasta city. Ultimately, the highway agency could reconstruct or relocate ramps, and construct new links to local roads. The idea is to accommodate existing traffic and future growth in better fashion.

It’s no secret that the interchange, which also incorporates South Mt. Shasta Boulevard, Big Canyon Drive and the Azalea Road overcrossing, is not the easiest thing to navigate, especially for tourists on busy weekends. This tourist has found himself going the wrong direction on at least one occasion. Of course, any project would need to serve locals as well as visitors.

The highway junction is located just south of the Mount Shasta city limits, but the traffic flow affects the city. The big problem, said Mount Shasta City Manager Ted Marconi, is that the I-5/Highway 89 junction is not a full interchange, and Caltrans does not have the funding or real estate to build one.

“Our biggest concern is that they maintain the south entrance to Mount Shasta,” Marconi said. “They’ve been in consultation with us for five or six years. We just don’t want them to make it worse.”

No, we certainly don’t want that. Especially we lost tourists. Once a full analysis is complete, Caltrans officials will submit it to the Federal Highway Administration for review and potential funding.

On today’s A La Carte menu:

Walking the talk … Last year, I poked fun just a little bit at Walk to School Day, during which parents, teachers and community leaders lead groups of kids, who might otherwise ride in a car, on a walk to their campus. I’m all for kids walking or riding their bikes to school. I just didn’t think there was more to it than opening the front door and pointing them in the right direction toward school. But my wife (one of those community leaders who participated last year) keeps trying to convince me that the world is a different place than when I started walking to school more than 40 years ago. Anyway, Shasta County’s Safe Routes to School program has ten $500 grants available for parent-teacher associations and school site councils willing to coordinate a walk-to-school event on October 5. The grant application deadline is September 2. Click here for details and an application form.

Don’t gamble with your health … The Redding Rancheria Health Fair is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, in the Eagle Room at Win-River Casino’s Event Center and in the nearby Rancheria Community Center. Free screenings of blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes will be available, as will body fat analysis and information on healthy living. The event is open to the public and free. For further details, contact Trish Stoffers at (530) 226-1734.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is a freelance journalist based in Western Shasta County, CA, and doesn’t stop to ask for directions. He may be reached

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

Paul Shigley

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.