Spraying herbicides along Highway 84 west of Skyline Boulevard, which was to have begun March 3, has been postponed and will now take place on two Tuesdays -- March 10 and March 17, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
The office of Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, said the spraying was postponed while Caltrans meets with the Regional Water Control Board.
Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro said Caltrans will spray the herbicides Milestone, EsplAnade 200SC and Matrix SG between Skyline Boulevard and Stage Road, about one mile east of Highway 1, on the westbound side of 84 (also known as La Honda Road), with no spraying between Hildebrand and Pescadero roads.
Local residents have protested the spraying, asking Caltrans to honor the county's 2012 ban on broadcast spraying of herbicides.
If Caltrans must spray, residents want advance notice, including notice on the streets to be sprayed so local residents can keep animals inside, and cyclists and others can avoid the areas.
Residents asked for the postponement because some herbicides should not be sprayed within three days of rainfall.
In 2012, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors banned broadcast spraying of herbicides everywhere in the county except at its two airports. But the county has no authority over Caltrans. Although Caltrans has stopped spraying herbicides in other counties when asked to do so, the agency continues to spray herbicides alongside its highways in San Mateo County.
"During a routine inspection, Caltrans deemed spraying is necessary for safety measures, such as clearing weeds around signs and guardrails, sight distance, establishing fire strips and (to kill) invasive plants and species that maintenance is not able to control by any other means," Ms. Navarro said.
She said Scotch broom has "encroached the travel way, which creates a safety hazard for motorists." Ms. Navarro promised crews will not spray in driveways, creeks or near groups of mailboxes, or within 50 feet of any creeks or rivers.
Ms. Navarro also said Caltrans will not spray in La Honda or San Gregorio, or on properties that have posted "No Spray" signs.
Local residents were also upset after Caltrans recently sprayed herbicides along Skyline Boulevard (also known as Highway 35) without any notice. After San Mateo County banned broadcast herbicide spraying in 2012, Ms. Navarro promised that the agency would not spray unless it had to, and would not do so without prior notice.