Caltrans hopes to make deadly road safer

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RAMONA, Calif. – State Route 67 is one of the deadliest roads in San Diego County and the California State Transportation Department is trying to figure out how to make it safer.

“SR-67 is a curvy rural highway with one or two lanes in each direction,” said Caltrans spokeswoman Cathryne Bruce-Johnson. “It also intersects with a lot of crossroads and driveways.”

imageCaltrans did not have exact numbers on how many fatal deaths have taken place on Route 67, but residents who live near the highway say there are several deadly accidents every year.

“Every time there is a fatal accident, a life flight helicopter is brought in and the freeway is shut down, sometimes for four hours at a time,” said Sheri Salomone, who lives off of the highway in Ramona. “I personally have had to sit in my car all that time and wait for the road to reopen because it is just too long to drive all the way around.”

Caltrans is in the early stages of considering several different options to improve the road. The alternatives for potential improvements being considered include a median concrete barrier, a high tension cable barrier, a metal barrier and median buffer from Willow Road to Shady Oaks Drive in the cities of Lakeside, Poway and Ramona.

The idea of median barriers have been rejected for decades because residents say they would inconvenience those who live off the highway, because they would have to drive for miles before they could make a U-turn to head back in the other direction.

Stephen Adams has used SR-67 for 28 years and said most of the accidents are the result of careless driving.

“People need to take responsibility of themselves and be more careful of their driving,” Adams said.

In areas where there are more than one lane in each direction, adding barriers could reduce the number of lanes, according to Caltrans.

Residents argue that one lane would cause more traffic on a highway that is already congested during rush hour.

Salomone said she’s not even convinced a barrier would solve the problem.

“There’s already a barrier on Slaughter House Canyon Road and there’s a lot of accidents there,” she said.

Caltrans is soliciting public feedback on the potential improvements until October 15 online at Caltrans website and email.

Construction would not likely begin until 2016 or 2017.


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