In Humboldt County, It’s Redwoods Versus the Phantom Wall-Mart
Drive north from San Francisco for a few hours, and the 101 will gradually melt into a slim road between giant sequoia trees. You've found your way to Richardson Grove State Park, where you can see thousand-year-old redwoods, the South Fork Eel River, and lots of campgrounds, but you won't see any big box stores.
That's thanks, at least in part, to the narrowness of the 101. With a speed limit of 35 miles per hour, most tractor-trailers are banned from the park. This has helped keep sprawl to a minimum, but some Humboldt officials have long complained that it isolates the county and limits commerce.
In response to the politicians, Caltrans spent about a decade working on the Richardson Grove Improvement Project, which culminated this May in a Final Environmental Impact Report.
As described, Caltrans' project would widen the highway and eliminate detours for trucks, shortening the trip from Oakland to Eureka from 725 miles to 279.
And that's where things get controversial.
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