U. S. Forest Service Roads - The five National Forests in Siskiyou
County provide roads for a variety or reasons and activities. Access is
provided to harvest timber, provide recreational opportunities, fire
protection and forest management activities.
State of California - The California Department of Transportation is
responsible for the operation and maintenance of eight state and
interstate routes maintaining 320 miles of highways in the county.
Siskiyou County - Publicly maintained roads not under the
jurisdiction of the Federal Government, State of California or
incorporated cities are the maintenance responsibility of the County of
Private Roads - Many roads are created by developers who choose to
keep the roads within their subdivision as private roads to avoid the
cost of constructing the roads to the County's standards and offering
the roads for dedication to the County. This results in lower costs to
purchase property and consequently lower property taxes, but these costs
savings are offset by the property owner being responsible for the cost
of maintaining the roads.
County Maintained Road System
The Public Works Department's Road Division is responsible for providing
safe and driveable public roadways in the unincorporated areas of the
The primary function of the Road Division is the operation, maintenance
and improvement of the county's roads and bridges, which currently
includes 1,361 miles of roadways and 175 bridges.
Supporting activities are administration, financial, planning,
engineering, surveying, inspection, and traffic operations. These
support activities are performed by personnel working in the Public
Works Department's main office located in Yreka.
Maintenance functions are provided through the Central Shop located in
Yreka, six regional maintenance districts and three regional
The county road budget receives approximately $9 million (from all
sources) per year. This amount provides for resurfacing, rehabilitation,
new construction, snow removal, ice control and routine maintenance.
Funding available for road purposes is always less than the work that
needs to be accomplished; therefore, work is prioritized in order to
insure optimum use of available funds.
The Department's highest priority is to provide needed maintenance to
protect the investment in existing roads and bridges and to provide for
improvements to the safety, capacity and serviceability of the roads.
Routine maintenance includes pothole patching and crack filling of
asphalt pavements, grading and dust control of unpaved roads, shoulder
maintenance, guardrail repair and replacement, snowplowing of mountain
roads, traffic sign maintenance and replacement, pavement striping,
bridge inspection and repair, and cleaning and maintenance of drainage
structures, such as culverts, catch basins, ditches, and gutters.
Resurfacing and rehabilitation of asphalt pavements include asphalt
overlays and pavement chip seals.
State law dictates that County road funds may not be expended on roads
which have not been accepted into the County Maintained Road System
Of the 1,361 miles of roads in the maintained system, approximately 470
miles of roads are unpaved. Almost all of the unpaved roads were
accepted into the road system more than thirty (30) years ago and most
were brought into the road system when the system was created by state
legislation in 1948.
Most of the unpaved roads in the County Road System carry a low volume
of traffic. Limited funding prevents the County from paving these roads.
There are many additional miles or roads in the County which are being
used by the public which are not in the maintained road system. As
stated above, the County may not expend funds to maintain or improve
Funds for road maintenance and construction are derived from a portion
of the federal reserve, Senate Bill 42 and from taxes collected on the
sale of fuel.
No property taxes or other county general funds are used for the
maintenance and improvements of county roads and bridges.
Generally speaking, the County's share of the highway user's tax is
apportioned by population and maintained road mileage. Since Siskiyou
County is a large but sparsely populated county, the revenue for road
maintenance is low compared to the more densely populated areas.
Most improvement work is funded by various federal and state grant
Given the inflated costs and the reduction in revenues, the County's
ability to maintain the road system has been severely limited and unless
a new revenue source is created maintenance efforts will have to be
further reduced in the future.
Acceptance of Roads Into The Maintained System
The County receives many requests to accept additional unpaved roads
into the maintained system. Due to funding limitations and the
difficulty in maintaining the roads currently in the system, the County
must deny most of these requests.
The criteria for acceptance requires that appropriate right-of-way
exists or be obtained and that the road be constructed and paved to
county standards at no cost to the County. Specific construction
requirements vary depending upon the location, classification, and
traffic volume of the road involved.
Acceptance requires approval by the Board of Supervisors and must be
based on proven benefit to the public.