Friends of Hope Valley oppose digital signs on highways

Record Courier Report

A proposal to set up digital highway signs along Alpine County highways has sparked opposition from the Friends of Hope Valley.

The California Department of Transportation has extended the public comment period until May 2 on what it refers to as the Carson Transportation Management Systems project.

The project would install five signs along Highway 88, including one at Picketts Junction, one on Highway 89 near Markleeville and another on Highway 4 near the western boundary of Alpine County.

“Hope Valley is one of the jewels of the Sierra,” said Friend Debbi Waldear. “It is one of the few scenic meadows the public can easily access by car. Driving through this incredible alpine meadow has to be one of the most picturesque experiences in the state. Views of the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. The large electronic signs would change the entire character of the valley.”

“The message signs are only the most visible portions of the work that would include road and weather information and other sensors.

Among the many signs proposed, one will be placed in the historical town of Markleeville. Simply because of the easy access to power,” Waldear said. “The department of transportation doesn’t seem to realize how antiquated the message signs are becoming.”

In an evaluation included at a website, the state indicates there would be a less than significant impact on the quality of public views of the site.

That’s something the Friends of Hope Valley disputes, saying a digital road sign at the intersection of highways 88 and 89 in the middle of Hope Valley would affect views of the valley.

Public comment on the $26.2 million project has been extended to May 2. Under the schedule appearing on the project web site, the final environmental document is expected to be done in August 2022, with right of way acquisition completed by March 2024, and construction starting on October 2024 for completion in March 2026.

Written comments may be submitted at or by mail to C. Scott Guidi, Senior Environmental Planner, District 10, Environmental Division, California Department of Transportation, 1976 East Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Blvd., Stockton, Calif., 95205.

The Friends of Hope Valley formed in 1986 to stop a proposed 345 kilovolt transmission line through Hope Valley.

Since then the group has worked on several projects to preserve Hope Valley’s beauty.

A portable sign set up along Highway 88 in Alpine County on Sept. 16, 2021. The state of California is proposing permanent digital signs in the county.
Kurt Hildebrand/Record Courier

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