The $290,000 that will fund the project comes from Caltrans. The money is meant for planning and will fund ShastaReady, an emergency preparedness plan.
Michael Kuker, assistant transportation planner with the Shasta Regional Transportation Agency said everything is on the table. That includes notification systems and methods, along with going over data from recent wildfires to identify bottlenecks that slow down both evacuations and responding firefighters. He said they’ll even looking into figuring out how to reroute traffic without overwhelming rural areas.
“When (Interstate) 5 was closed for the Carr Fire, we had these smaller mountain communities on (State Route) 299 that were then having the entire north south traffic routed through them,” Kuker said.
How to best serve the elderly and disabled during an evacuation is also on the list. Eight fatalities were associated with the Carr Fire, including a woman who lacked a vehicle and two of her great-grandchildren.
“Our network is a little bit more robust than that in Paradise, with all of those long, non-connected streets, so we were fairly fortunate, but, things could have gone differently,” Kuker said.
Along with the Carr, Delta and Hirz fires last year, Shasta County has had to contend with periodic flash flooding, especially over burn scars.