Richard Shaddeau: Don’t let Highway 174 roadwork destroy our natural beauty |

Richard Shaddeau: Don’t let Highway 174 roadwork destroy our natural beauty

I live in an area of Nevada County which is particularly lush and green, even in summer, with many trees providing shade and privacy, even with Highway 174 right outside our door.

I don’t believe anyone in their right mind would want to remove all these trees, some of which were here when the railroads ran steam engines down along what would become my driveway! The significant history of the Narrow Gauge Railroad that once was the means through which equipment, material and people were brought to the gold mines here in Grass Valley and Nevada City is being repeatedly pushed aside and forgotten by progress. That is a shame and should be acknowledged here.

The beauty of this particular region lies in its trees, and in the groundwater that sustains them (and us). Many properties that are being threatened by highway expansion have water running through them and also exceptionally good wells. The Department of Transportation has not explained what will happen to the water if they get their way and alter the highway to the extent that it covers existing waterways and private wells. One more example of a pattern of secrecy and which does nothing to inspire confidence in their proposal.

The existing highway is not broken. It is well maintained and not difficult to navigate, if the driver has an understanding of basic skills in operating a car. Or happens to be sober.

The highway does wind around a bit, naturally as good roads do, and the region through which it goes is picturesque, with pastures and forests visible to drivers and passengers, and yes, if someone needs to turn onto Greenhorn Access Road from the southbound lane of 174, they will hold up traffic, which could be resolved with a turn lane and warning signs (perhaps even guard rails).

I have no problem with improving the safety of the highway. I just want the Department of Transportation to be reasonable and limit themselves so that the beauty remains for everyone to appreciate.

Richard Shaddeau lives in Nevada County.

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