CHP removes protester from Caltrans construction site

WILLITS, Calif.

Will Parrish climbed up on the equipment to stop work on a controversial freeway project in Willits in Mendocino Country. Parrish locked himself to a tower used to install drains in a wetlands area. He was up there for 12 days, but today the California Highway Patrol moved in. It took officers an hour to cut him loose. Parrish and another protester who said she was there to observe were arrested.

Caltrans wants to build a 4-lane freeway bypass on Highway 101 around Willits. Critics want a smaller, cheaper road that would have less environmental impact on wetlands in the area known as Little Lake Valley.

Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie said Parrish was removed from the tower because he "has put himself and others at risk and delayed construction by trespassing and with ongoing hot weather forecasted, we are also concerned about his health and safety."

Caltrans also began driving piles in another part of the bypass construction area on Monday.

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