The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), using state funding only, is proposing to conduct emergency repairs within the Elephant Butte Tunnel, which is located on State Route (SR) 70 in Plumas County at post mile (PM) 1. Protective galvanized steel panels over portions of the tunnel are overloaded with rockfall and at risk of a catastrophic failure which must be addressed immediately. The project is needed to prevent or mitigate the loss or impairment of life, health, property, and essential services. The emergency work would remove rockfall from protective steel panels at several locations and repairing and/or replacing the damaged galvanized steel panels and hangers as required. Any new panels and hangers will match the existing design as much as is practical. Approximately 6 hangers at the location of a high-load hit would be repaired. Scaling the ceiling of the tunnel would be conducted as needed. The emergency work is underway and is anticipated to be completed by late-September 2021.
Staging/stockpiling would occur within Caltrans’ right-of-way throughout the project limits.
No borrow sites would be utilized. The contractor will take ownership of the rockfall removed from atop the protective steel panels and will dispose of it at their own expense at an authorized facility approved for use by the general public. The location of the authorized facility has yet to be determined.
The emergency work would not add new utilities within the project limits. Tunnel lights are present within the Elephant Butte Tunnel. However, because of the Dixie Fire, power has been turned off or the power supply line is damaged and the lights are out. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is providing temporary power via a generator until a permanent power supply is available.
All emergency work would occur entirely inside Caltrans’ existing right-of-way easement on federal land that is owned by the Forest Service. No right-of-way would be permanently acquired. The Plumas National Forest has been notified about the emergency work on Forest Service land.
The emergency work is not anticipated to impact any jurisdictional features. As such, no permits from regulatory agencies are anticipated.
Caltrans has performed a review of resource records and databases and consulted with applicable agencies and individuals. Additional coordination with the Forest Service may be required for emergency work occurring on federal land.