As predicted before the Highway 99 widening began in June, the highway is in total uproar in time for not only the Butte County Fair, but also for school starting Monday, August 31 at Gridley High School.

As predicted before the Highway 99 widening began in June, the highway is in total uproar in time for not only the Butte County Fair, but also for school starting Monday, August 31 at Gridley High School.

Sidewalks are gone, the ground is torn up and currently there is nowhere to walk when crossing the highway, other than down the streets of Hazel and Spruce, to get around the construction being done.

Butte County Association  of Governments Deputy Director/Project Manager Andy Newsum stated on Monday, “A lot of the utilities are in conflict, and we didn’t know about the utility problems in advance. It is basically a patchwork effort right now, but we plan on having the Hazel Street crossing as pedestrian friendly as possible.”

When asked about Spruce Street being pedestrian friendly, Newsum stated more time would be put into Hazel Street, so he hoped fairgoers and students would be using that street more.

Not only will high school pedestrians have to be extra careful, young drivers need to be especially mindful of the highway widening being done and not only watch for pedestrians, but also construction work as it is being done.

Superintendent of Gridley School District, Clark Redfield and Gridley-Biggs  Assistant Police Chief Brian Cook met  with highway representatives on Tuesday, to discuss student safety in particular.

Temporary crossings will be set up at Hazel and Spruce Streets and the school district has added staff to direct students at these Highway crosswalks.

To attend the Butte County Fair, and to avoid the  confusion, the parking lots at East Gridley Road are available with entry through the south gate.

Fairview Avenue may be a better way for high school students to travel back and forth  next week, rather than using the highway before and after school and during their lunch break.

Take extra precautions, like leaving home in plenty of time, and keep your eyes and ears open.

Last week, a flagman narrowly escaped being run down in front of McConnell Chevrolet.
Speed of the drivers has increased as predicted, with the highway widening, and it isn’t even near completion.

Highway 99 is dangerous enough, but with added confusion, it is very scary to think of so many high school students, some new drivers, all out at the same time with sidewalks removed, big equipment darting in and out and only one lane for travel.

Unfortunately, the highway cannot be avoided for the fair and the high school but take extra care, drive safe.