The removal of trees on Fredonyer Pass is preliminary work to a road realignment project that should begin in 2020, according to Sean Shepard, project manager for Caltrans District 2.
Work will take place across the entire pass with curves being realigned and four foot paved shoulders added throughout the project limits. Guardrails will be installed at some locations, but in general the side slopes of the reconstructed roadway will be flat and clear enough so they will not be needed, said Shepard. The roadway will be repaved as well.
The work is known as the Good Fred Project because it includes a new bridge over Goodrich Creek on Highway 36 as well. The bridge will be about seven feet to the north of the current bridge and have wider shoulders.
Shepard said a lot of the land along the highway where the construction project is located is privately owned. Therefore to straighten curves the State had to acquire additional right of way.
In addition to trees being cut, travelers will notice stakes along the roadway across the pass. Shepard said they could be markers for clearing limits or earthwork that will be done at a later date. As the date for the project to begin approaches, more stakes will be added. However the project contractor has not yet been selected. The Caltrans team is finalizing the design, according to Shepard, but expects to put the project out to bid by January, if not sooner.
In 2017 environmental studies were being prepared on the Good Fred Project and part of the work included investigating the history and archaeology around the project area. That year Cheryl Brookshear, an employee of JRP Historical Consulting, spent time at Westwood Museum gathering information on the historical significance of the old chimney on Highway 36 as well as the Coppervale area.
The Davis-based Historical Consulting company prepared a report in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The report included research completed on the historic properties to determine if they would be impacted by the proposed project. The studies helped determine whether recovery of artifacts within the project footprint or other steps were needed prior to beginning work.
Those who drive Highway 36 traveling east of Westwood will experience traffic delays when the project begins. Shepard said that is the downside of the Good Fred Project.