Responding to pressure from the community and state Sen. Jerry Hill’s office, Caltrans is again pushing off its plans to spray herbicides on Highway 84.
“Caltrans is further assessing our operations to figure out what changes we can implement,” Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro wrote in an email to resident Patty Mayall last month. “As of this time, there is no set date for further spraying. In the event spraying is to occur … we will provide timely advance notice to all interested parties.”
The email came as welcome news to concerned residents such as Mayall, who lives near La Honda and, for years, has led the charge to stop the spraying in her neighborhood.
“Jerry Hill’s office has been very supportive,” Mayall said “They’ve been communicating with Caltrans and hearing our concerns and have been very responsive to our concerns.”
Caltrans held an open house in La Honda in November to educate the public about the roadside spraying and notify people of plans to spray Highway 84 later that month.
Caltrans postponed the spraying, stating that it was looking at sometime in February instead.
While Mayall is strongly against the spraying of herbicides, she recognizes that something has to be done to combat the invasive plants.
“There are areas along 84 where you can see the French broom and Scotch broom is encroaching,” Mayall said.
Mayall is a big proponent of using mechanical rather than chemical measures to remove the weeds that block visibility along the roadways. She indicated that many of the area residents perform some of their own weed removal along the roadsides bordering their properties, but that many places aren’t safe for residents to access on their own.
“They have all this equipment that a regular resident doesn’t,” Mayall said of Caltrans. “It’s a big job, we all know that, but it’s their job.”
Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said on Tuesday that Caltrans staff met earlier in the day to look at mowing and other options, but Haus was unable to get an update on any decisions made at that meeting in time for Review print deadlines.
“We’re looking at several options that will allow us to do a lot less with the spraying itself,” Haus said.
Hill said in a statement provided by his office that he had recently held a meeting with a Caltrans representative and county Supervisor Don Horsley to discuss the issue.
“I’m pleased that Caltrans is respecting residents’ concerns,” he said in the statement. “I look forward to working further with Caltrans on this issue.”