Q Thank you for your valuable column. Just a quick note. I have commuted from Aptos to Salinas for 23 years. I have seen many dangerous situations but now I see that we have inadvertently caused a whopper with the new interchange at Highway 1 and Salinas Road.
Three times now, I have been traveling north on Highway 1 toward Watsonville, approaching the overpass and have seen cars take off to the left, into oncoming traffic as the road splits. The road splits and traffic traveling north is supposed to bear right. This is not always happening. The first time I saw a silver Honda bear left and head the wrong way, I frantically called 911. The other two times, I saw cars stuck in the mud going the wrong way at that spot, apparently waiting for a tow out of the mud.
There desperately needs to be huge red signs screaming, "DO NOT ENTER WRONG WAY." Maybe flashing red lights. As it is, you can casually bear to the left and into a terrible accident. It will only be a matter of time.
Sorry, I didn't know who else to contact. Thanks for your time.
April Barclay, via email
A Thank you so much, April, for your life-saving email. I forwarded it to Caltrans, which said a "WRONG WAY DO NOT ENTER" sign is planned for this location but had yet to be installed. One additional sign is on the way as well as new pavement arrows telling drivers where they should direct their vehicles.
The contractor working on the project has been notified to make these changes, said Susana Cruz, Caltrans spokeswoman. All this "will be corrected shortly," she added.
"Please thank the reader for pointing out this concern," Cruz said.
Meanwhile, the CHP's Monterey office, which has jurisdiction over this part of Highway 1, has been notified, as well.
"Your reader certainly does describe a few harrowing encounters near the new Salinas Road Interchange," said officer Robert Lehman, CHP Monterey spokesman. "Thankfully, looking through our call logs and traffic collision reports submitted since the new roadway was completed, it appears these are isolated incidents. The area is marked 'Do Not Enter' and includes a barrier to separate the two directions of travel where the new roadway begins. If anyone observes an occurrence similar to this, please follow your reader's example and call 911."
Q Thank you so much for your help and work. Each day, as I've driven by this past week, I've seen more dug-in tire marks and signs of more people going the wrong way. I'm so glad that you have these contacts. Bless you.
A Thank you and bless you, too, April.
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