California Department of Transportation

California Department of Transportation

Date: December 14, 2012
District: Headquarters
Contact: Tamie McGowen
Phone: (916) 654-5467


SACRAMENTO - Caltrans today filed a lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenging Madera County’s approval of the Tesoro Viejo Specific Plan and its certification of the development’s revised Environmental Impact Report.

The lawsuit alleges that the county failed to mitigate for traffic impacts and is in violation of CEQA.

Caltrans contends that the county’s traffic study underestimates the volume of traffic the development is expected to generate, making the proposed mitigation inadequate.

"This is about realistic planning and the integrity of the state highway system,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

In addition, the specific plan proposes to realign State Route 41 in a location inconsistent with the preferred realignment of the highway, as designated in the Rio Mesa Area Plan. It would also re-direct the highway through a Caltrans vernal pool mitigation site south of the development.

Caltrans and Madera County signed an agreement in 1995 acknowledging that the highway needed to be realigned to accommodate for future growth and selecting the preferred realignment route. The county’s approval of the specific plan jeopardizes the realignment.

Tesoro Viejo is a proposed housing and commercial development adjacent to SR-41 about nine miles north of Fresno. It would include more than 5,000 housing units and three-million square feet of commercial retail office and light industrial space.

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