SAN DIEGO — The “Last U.S. Exit” on Interstate 5 and Interstate 805 before drivers enter Mexico is back open for now.
California Department of Transportation closed those exit ramps to add wrong-way driving safety measures. The agency is putting the new features on highway ramps to alert drivers more than once that they are not going the right way. This will mean more signs, signs with lights and lane markers.
“Always be cognizant of the signs around you, that’s always a big thing,” said Salvador Castro, a Public Information Officer with California Highway Patrol.
Caltrans launched a $9 million campaign to install wrong-way driving safety features at 74 state highway ramps. They have completed work on routes 5,8,15,52,54,67,78,94,125,163,805 and 905.
However, the agency said it will continue to make upgrades. Those upgrades and new features will include more “wrong-way” and “do not enter” signs. Some of the signs will flash LED lights, others will activate lights when there is a wrong-way driver.
The CHP called these new measures a tremendous help for them.
“It gives people to be alert if whether you are going the wrong way, or during nighttime, if it’s poorly lit, people can actually see the signs,” Castro said.
Over the last three years, San Diego County has seen 78 wrong-way driving crashes, with more than half involving DUIs. More than 17 were killed in those crashes, with more than a dozen injured.
“Even anytime we see anybody that dies in a crash, you never want to see that when it’s so preventable,” Castro said.
More work will be done to highway ramps. On the June 14, exit ramps at Camino Del La Plaza on 1-5 and I-805 will close. Caltrans will continue its work, such as adding lane reflector markers on the highways that will show red to alert drivers they are going the wrong way.
The CHP advises drivers to look ahead when driving, call them if they see a wrong-way driver or if they are driving the wrong way so authorities can come and help turn them around.