PARADISE, Calif. - The Paradise Town Council is considering making changes to Skyway to create a better escape route.
Right now, the two lanes heading down Skyway become one. Camp Fire survivors say this made evacuating in 2018 a lot more difficult.
"It was like midnight in the middle of the day and you see stuff catching on fire all around you, and windows getting hot," Paradise resident John Lawson said.
Lawson has lived in Paradise his entire life and remembers trying to evacuate on Skyway.
"I was stuck in all that traffic, but if we had just those extra lanes would have helped a lot to get people out of the situation faster," Lawson said.
Nearly three years later and the town council is considering three options to make improvements to the evacuation route between Elliott and Pearson.
The options include:
- Option A: Two lanes on each side and no center turn lane
- Option B: Two southbound lanes, a center turn lane, and only one north lane
And the recommended option, Option C.
"Which would be a five-lane cross-section. To have two lanes northbound, a center two left turn lane and to have two lanes southbound," Public Works Director Marc Mattox.
The recommended route would mean getting rid of street parking on the west side of the street. People can use the lots to the side, but on the other side, the street parking would stay.
"What's great is these stay and you can see now that I have to cross the street," Mattox said.
Mattox said the center two-way left-turn lane is crucial to have.
"With that flexible lane, we actually like this better for evacuation because instead of just two, it gives us three lanes for evacuation," Mattox said.
But not everyone is excited about the proposed changes.
"The people that live here have had enough road construction and roads being torn up. I just think it invites more people to speed down Skyway," Paradise resident Cristi Groom said.
Construction that will happen on Skyway for whatever option the council approves won’t begin until late 2022 or early 2023.
Some of the money for these changes will come from federal emergency relief funds. The town is also working on other road projects like east and west connections over to Pentz Rd.