Letter to the Editor: Olancha bypass?

olanchaObviously A Mistake
CalTrans decision to bypass Olancha is ridiculous.
The residents, the business owners  and the Board of Supervisors all stated their preference to be Alt #1, widen the existing corridor. The County has a stated goal and policy of “no bypass”. The cost to taxpayers of building a new 4 lane hwy far exceeds adding 2 lanes to the current hwy.  Likewise it is obvious the environmental impacts would be greater, not to mention they want this new  hwy to be built west of the homes and in the view shed of the Sierra. The County will face more cost in taking over the maintenance of portions of the old 395 and receive less property tax revenue due to resulting lowered commercial property values. This recent decision ignores the sentiments of the people, is far more expensive and  has greater environmental impacts.  It is no wonder they have decided to not have any further meetings for public input, their decision is obviously wrong.
Jenifer Castaneda
Lone Pine

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Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago

Here’s a stupid idea — leave 395 where it is and give each business and resident the choice o being moved to a New West Olancha. Pick a nicer spot than where it is already. Spend a little time and thought into a coherant and livable design with bike paths… Read more »

JJ
JJ
10 years ago

I’m a little late in responding, but I have to admit after learning of the amount of deaths around there make me lean to a divided road.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago

Bobbie Lee…..Next time you head out of town to destinations south,check the speed limit signs,and blinking light displaying the speed you are traveling just before you get into Cartago…and then when your heading back north,same thing just before you get into Olancha….speed limit…55 MPH…..no kidding….If you feel it should be… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago

On that stretch of HWY. 395,the way it is now,CHP speed traps wouldn’t be a bad idea.Thing is,if you obey the 55 MPH speed limit through Olancha and Cartago,you’d have nothing to worry about.

Bobbie Lee Swagger
Bobbie Lee Swagger
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Now you’re just being silly.

55 through Cartago?

That ghost hotel scares the crap outta me.

75 minimum.

Skier
Skier
10 years ago

The ghost hotel is in Olancha, not Cartago. For those who say there’s more to the Owens Valley then getting to Mammoth, maybe for you, but you can’t force people to stop somewhere they don’t want to stop. I don’t see the logic in forcing tourists through the center of… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  Skier

Skier…..I think the argument between the 4-lane through town,or the by-pass,at least for most residents here in the Owens Valley is,or should be safety reasons more so than how quickly Southern Californian tourists can get to Mammoth Lakes.If someone wants a coke,or if they are low on gas and need… Read more »

Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

They have to slow down for every town going up 395!! Olancha is the only one that is 55 mph, But they still want to drive 80 through here!! We wanted it widened, we do not want to be bypassed!! And most of 395 north through here is “open range”,… Read more »

JeniferCastaneda
JeniferCastaneda
10 years ago

There’s no question that we need a 4 lane hwy. The point is that widening in place costs far less, has significant less environmental impact, goes along with the County policy of “no bypass” and is what the majority of property owners in Olancha prefer.

Steve Reese
Steve Reese
10 years ago

Jenifer was this put to a vote? How do you know it is a majority? I have been to every meeting held by Cal Trans there has never been a vote held. Olancha and Cartago combined have a population of 300. There was only 40 to 50 residents at the… Read more »

Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Steve Reese

Sorry Steve, the majority of Olancha does NOT want the bypass, and that is a fact. There were well over 150 letters written to Caltrans from local people who do not want the bypass. There is only a handful of local people who want it. People who do not live… Read more »

Bobbie Lee Swagger
Bobbie Lee Swagger
10 years ago

These 4 lane “widening in place” roads (directly THROUGH towns rather than AROUND them) are done for purposes of setting up CHP speed traps, right?

Rob
Rob
10 years ago

There’s enough people out there speeding that the CHP doesn’t need to setup any speed traps.

upthecreek
upthecreek
10 years ago
Reply to  Rob

They need to protect the cows and sheep..

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  upthecreek

Just so happens a few years back I went on a vehicle accident clean up about a quarter mile south of the Ranch Cafe between 2 cows and a big rig to where the big rig hit the cattle, lost control,ran up a tree and burst into flames….The driver of… Read more »

Eamon
Eamon
10 years ago

The County may have a policy of “no bypass” but that isn’t a policy either the Federal or State governments have to follow. The majority of “users” of US 395 don’t a four lane through Olancha as evidenced by the surveys conducted 5 years ago. The cost between widening the… Read more »

esfotoguy
esfotoguy
10 years ago

Lets look north to the ‘bypass’ north of Carson City.Thats going real well. Bring in the Nevada highway workers w/ absolutely no economic benefits to California. Meanwhile Harry Reid’s constituents are make prevailing wage in California to take back to Nevada.BRILLIANT…question….Who is the head of the transportation committee?

Bobbie Lee Swagger
Bobbie Lee Swagger
10 years ago
Reply to  esfotoguy

Anyone know what this guy is talking about?

John Barton
John Barton
10 years ago

With good signage advertising offramp businesses, Olancha can still thrive without become an ugly sideshow next to a 4 lane highway. There are ample examples of successful businesses aound the country who depend on the highway a short distance away for people to stop, rest, shop and eat. Olancha actually… Read more »

Bobbie Lee Swagger
Bobbie Lee Swagger
10 years ago
Reply to  John Barton

“Olancha can still thrive”

That’s the first time I’ve seen “Olancha” and “thrive” in the same sentence.

John Barton
John Barton
10 years ago

Bobbie- You’re right. I should have written “Olancha could or might thrive…”. Oh wait, that still uses both words in the same sentence.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago

Bobbie Lee….Olancha happens to be one of quite a few small little towns in the Owens Valley,and Inyo County…Olancha,Cartago,Lone Pine,Big Pine,Independence…and for many of us,maybe a lot of us don’t “thrive” living in them,but it is the way we want to live,and choose to live our lives…out of the bigger… Read more »

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

When I think of a thriving community, I think of hussle and bussle.

I have to agree with you Wayne I like those communties just the way they are. And you won’t ever catch me just hanging out in TOML

Mark
Mark
10 years ago

We have a cabin near Lee Vining & often travel their from our home in Santa Ynez via US 395, unfortunately the current “road conditions” through Olancha is just “an accident waiting to happen”….and there may have been some already based on the crosses/headstones we see posted in that area… Read more »

Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Excuse me, if you “drive” here you actually were on a deadly two lane north of Redrock Canyon or on 395 from the 15. You are being ridiculous about Olancha being the problem! you do not live here, we do. The people making the decisions are out of line, as… Read more »

JJ
JJ
10 years ago

There’s not even a stop sign in Olancha. Why do we need to send money on a traffic problem that never existed.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ…..Check out the traffic collisions,,,and fatalities on that stretch of highway the past 10 or 15 years….And personally speaking,a near miss head-on collision of my own a couple years back…..There is more to the Owens Valley than getting to and from Mammoth Lakes for the Southern Californians….

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

You’re right, Wayne. Caltrans’ Cedric Zemitis told us that from January of 1999 through December of 2008 135 accidents occurred in the Olancha area with 16 fatalities and 121 injuries.
bK

Steve Reese
Steve Reese
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Thank you Benett for getting the facts about the accidents, injuries and deaths. That is why I am in full support of a bypass around Olancha. Also like Wayne Deja said there are so many close calls that are unreported. My wife and I coming back to Olancha from the… Read more »

Bobbie Lee Swagger
Bobbie Lee Swagger
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

“There is more to the Owens Vall”ey than getting to and from Mammoth Lakes”

True. There’s the Jack in the Box in Bishop for sustenance and Schatt’s for dessert.

Rob
Rob
10 years ago
Reply to  JJ

people need to slow down and enjoy the ride

Bobbie Lee Swagger
Bobbie Lee Swagger
10 years ago

Build it, and they will come, I mean get to and from Mammoth faster.

Steve Reese
Steve Reese
10 years ago

I live in Olancha at the top of Fall road. There would not be anything left of Olancha if the Hwy was widened to 4 lanes with a 100′ foot median running at 65mph. The 4 lane project was proposed in 1955 to make Hwy 395 from Hwy 14 to… Read more »

Eamon McNamera
Eamon McNamera
10 years ago
Reply to  Steve Reese

So basically, you’re being a not-in-my-backyard opponent because your residence is closer to the proposed alignment than the current alignment through the village….the surveys conducted by Caltrans 4-5 years ago were vehemently in support of a bypass around Olancha /Cartago…..even the majority of responses from Bishop supported a bypass. Im… Read more »

JeniferCastaneda
JeniferCastaneda
10 years ago

Realist, you’re funny. I have no special interest in Olancha and I do not agree with the occupy wall street mentality. You obviously don’t me, and I don’t know you, because you refuse to use your real identity. CalTrans widened the hwy throughout every other community in the Eastern Sierra… Read more »

Realist
Realist
10 years ago

Just think folks, how many of you enjoy traveling across this great country of ours without having to slowdown for every community. Can you imagine if locals were allowed dictate every decision involving transportation? It would take you 20 years to drive from Mammoth to Los Angeles having to navigate… Read more »

avg.citizen
avg.citizen
10 years ago
Reply to  Realist

Are you people CalTrans or Granite Construction employees? If you are not Owens Valley residents or lovers of rural Inyo, then you are going out of way to diss something of no matter to you. If you are even a CA taxpayer, then are you happy to contribute toward the… Read more »

Realist
Realist
10 years ago
Reply to  avg.citizen

Nope, just a user and taxpayer of our beautiful highway system, and that’s what it is, a highway, not a local street to support a business or please a small group of local folks, it is for all taxpayers. I like to use the highway that I paid for from… Read more »

Eamon McNamera
Eamon McNamera
10 years ago

Fortunately Caltrans works not only for the locals, but also for Californians at large. Years ago the forward thinking employees at Caltrans sent out a survey to the majority of users of 395 (tourists) and the majority of respondants wanted a “bypass” yet the Inyo County Board of Supervisors (who… Read more »

avg.citizen
avg.citizen
10 years ago
Reply to  Eamon McNamera

What self-serving out-of-towner would not want the path of least resistance to Mammoth or wherever? The people who live in Olancha-Cartago understand what the CalTrans scheme would do to the community/environment, and so do the Supervisors and Local Transportation Commission. CalTrans works for CalTrans and has a rich history of… Read more »

avg.citizen
avg.citizen
10 years ago

Not only does CalTrans intend to plow a new 4 lane divided highway w/ 100′ median around Olancha and slashing through Cartago, but their approach was spontaneously devised after $5 million taxpayer dollars were spent on four earlier ‘alternatives.’ Unlike those, the new scheme does not provide for any public/gov’t.… Read more »

Steve Reese
Steve Reese
10 years ago

I for one am in favor of the bypass of Olancha and have said so at all the Caltrans meetings. I don’t want to see Olancha gutted wide open the way Lone Pine and Independence was. The traffic will double in the next 20 years on Hwy 395. This will… Read more »

avg.citizen
avg.citizen
10 years ago
Reply to  Steve Reese

If a bypass is constructed to the west of Olancha, then ‘old’ I-395 will become a new extension of Highway 190, and employed by the thundering truck traffic in and out of the Crystal Geyser plant (planned for expansion). If Olancha is surrounded by two major highways, how could this… Read more »