California Department of Transportation

Olancha - Cartago 4 Lane Project Traffic Safety

What are the safety issues?

At times, the existing roadway carries more traffic than it is designed to handle and therefore operation suffers. This is especially true on weekends and holidays when traffic volumes are extremely heavy. Traffic backs up, and a slow-moving trail of vehicles hinders passing. Plus double-yellow lines prohibit passing through 58% of the project limits. So, it takes motorists longer to get where they want to go. Contributing to the situation is the high volume of recreational vehicles (4.3%) and trucks (21.5%) using the route. As a result, drivers can become frustrated and may attempt to pass other vehicles in an unsafe manner.

Caltrans traffic studies indicate that 46 accidents occurred in that stretch during the three-year period ending August 31, 2007. There were 3 deaths and 19 injuries; the others resulted in vehicle damage only. Accidents were caused by improper turns (30.4%), speeding (23.9%), reasons other than the driver, (21.7%), other violations (15%), alcohol (6.5%), and failure to yield (2.2%).

Widening the road to four lanes would alleviate these problems. Having two lanes for each direction of travel, with a median separating the northbound and southbound lanes, would keep traffic separated and allow fast-moving traffic to safely pass slow-moving vehicles, trucks and recreational vehicles.