California Department of Transportation

Willits Bypass - Introduction

Willits main street with the Willits Arch

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The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) propose to construct a new segment of Route 101 that will bypass the City of Willits, in Mendocino County, California. The intention of the bypass is to relieve congestion, reduce delays, and improve safety for interregional traffic. The project limits begin about 0.8 miles south of Haehl Creek Overhead and end about 1.8 miles south of Reynolds Highway, a distance of approximately 5.9 miles.

Project Purpose and Need

Route 101, functionally classified a principal arterial route, is the single north-south route serving the length of coastal California and is crucial in the commerce of northwestern California. On Route 101, trucks and passenger vehicles transport goods and people to and from the many communities throughout the region. In the Willits area, it serves an increasingly heavy commuter, recreational and commercial traffic demand. Lack of capacity and congestion has resulted in delay and lengthy traffic queues within the project limits north of the city limit.

Route 101 has numerous lane configurations within the project limits. Especially through the downtown area, it is an old style highway, and the right-of-way is relatively narrow. Widening the existing facility is not feasible as much of the commercial development would be demolished to make room for the highway.