Highway 3 in Yreka will get $76M in upgrades: What to know when roadwork starts in summer

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
A three-year Yreka pavement rehab project to improve Highway 3 through Yreka is expected to begin in June of 2022.

A large-scale $76 million Caltrans District 2 project to improve Highway 3 through Yreka is scheduled to start next summer. 

The three-year Yreka pavement rehab project is expected to begin in June of 2022, with city crews doing preliminary work on water and sewage lines in April. The road project will be done in three phases to ease traffic, mainly during the summer months, and should last at least three years.  

“It is a needed project that provides a lot of benefits,” Yreka Mayor Duane Kegg said, and pointed to improvements to traffic, increased safety and beautification of the area. “We hope it will bring more businesses and people to Yreka."

Where the roadwork will be

The first part of the work would be to repave a three-mile segment of the highway corridor that has cracks and is in rough shape, said Kerry Molz, Caltrans District 2 Project Manager for Siskiyou County.

The highway work would start near Walmart at Fort Jones Road. It goes through town into Main Street, and ends near the Yreka Truck Stop is on Montague Road. It will include traffic signals and drainage improvements.

The construction will also go a bit into Highway 263.

The last time the highway was repaired was in the early 1990s. Molz said once the upgrades are complete, the new stretch of highway should last about 50 years. 

Not just car traffic improvements

 The project also upgrades sidewalks, curb ramps, and a bridge rail.

Those upgrades will make it safer for pedestrians, people using wheelchairs and scooters and bicyclists passing the area, besides motorists.

Molz said the safety improvements would tentatively start on the south side of town, but this can change.

A drawing of some of the improvements proposed for the Caltrans Highway 3 project.

Area will get bike lanes

Caltrans will add bike lanes in each direction from Oberlin Road to Broadway Street.

Currently, bikes share the vehicle lanes.  

A  drawing of some of the improvements proposed for the Caltrans Highway 3 project.

More parking is coming, too

There also will be parking on both sides of the road on Main Street. Drivers know that parking spots are limited in that area.

Prepare for traffic delays

Moltz said while there will be some intersection closures, Caltrans is trying to minimize delays and ensure access to local businesses throughout the project. 

Some background on the Highway 3 beautification project 

On Sept.7,  the Yreka City Council approved the beautification part of the project, Councilors said at the time they were hopeful the enhancements would boost commerce and tourism. 

A  drawing of the sidewalk improvements proposed for the Highway 3 project.

Councilor Joan Smith Freeman said this is a once-in-a-lifetime type of project that will “make Yreka better and more beautiful. It would have a positive impact both visually and financially for the city. Lord knows we need that.”  

The city's portion of the cost is about $230,000, with state and federal highway dollars paying for the rest.

According to a financial impact study done by the Siskiyou Economic Development Council and the Center for Economic Development at Chico State University, towns and cities throughout the country that did similar beautification projects.

The report said nearly 500 jobs could be added to the economy in the first year of the project, with an estimated 333 people employed by the project.

Tonya Dowse, executive director of the Siskiyou Economic Development Council, was upbeat about the project. 

“It’s going to be a transformative moment for Yreka’s future,” she said.

Bill Choy covers sports and general news for the Siskiyou Daily News/Mount Shasta Herald/USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter at @SDNBillChoy. Email Bill at bchoy@siskiyoudaily.com. Support local journalism by subscribing today.