County employees working long hours to keep roads open

Dave Brooksher

Redwood Times

Timing could not have been better for last month’s Humboldt County road department’s project that closed down parts of Redwood Drive between Garberville and Redway to clear material out of culverts and drainage ditching along the road’s shoulder.

Road maintenance supervisor Marty Messenger scheduled the project for Thanksgiving week because schools are out of session - but there was no way of knowing it was just in time for the deluge that caused flooding and landslides.

"Generally, I have to be proactive," Messenger said, "You’ve seen the amount of material that can come down off the bluffs. Fortunately we did it when we did, because if we hadn’t Redwood Drive would probably still be closed."

Driving along the bluffs last week after the storm, it was evident that the process will need to be repeated again soon. Soil and rocks are already obstructing parts of the drainage trench on the road’s uphill shoulder. According to Messenger, that will have to wait until he’s able to make some room at the refuse facility.

"As far as when I’m going to do the next ditching," Messenger said, "that’s determined by where I’m going to be able to dump the material. I’m waiting for the material down below the maintenance station to dry out a little bit so we can move it around with the bull dozer and make room for more. My biggest logistical problem right now is where to put the slide materials. It’s getting harder and harder due to environmental concerns."

Messenger’s area of responsibility includes 240 miles of roads, some of which are unpaved, from Shelter Cove in the west to Trinity County in the east, and from Mendocino County to the south up to Miranda in the north.