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Chualar residents discuss ways to improve road safety south of Highway 101, ideas on ways mentioned in meeting with local agencies

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV)- Local agencies met with community members in Chualar this week to discuss plans to prevent crashes in the area along the 101.

Driving to Salinas on Highway 101 from South Monterey County has cost many lives.

Residents in Chualar say they're tired of seeing accidents on the notorious stretch of road.

"In the 16 years that I've been living here there have been a lot of accidents, there are crosses on the roads meaning there have been deaths," said Maria Rodriguez.

According to the Transportation Agency of Monterey County, there are 13 injuries and one death a year on average between Chualar and Salinas as a result of those at-grade crossings.

To enhance safety on the highway, TAMC and Caltrans are discussing what changes need to be made and what the community wants to see.

"This is such an important decision that it's going to have to we have to understand the community," said Doug Bilse, Principal engineer at TAMC. "So that's that's what the intent of last night was, is to introduce ourselves, build some trust with the community and, listen to them."

Although no decisions are finalized yet, some ideas to improve safety are closing all left turns by adding a median, creating a ramp north of Chualar, or creating a backroad along the 101.

Community members say they have voiced their concern on the dangerous highways for years, and want to know why it's taken this long for some action to be taken.

"I want the community to know that this isn't the first time we're having this conversation," said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez. "We've had several of these over the last five years to put us in a position where we're well positioned to draw down state dollars to make these projects a reality,"

There will be another community meeting in Chualar in the near future to continue discussions on this project.

By Fall 2024, TAMC hopes to narrow down options for the solutions and from there, environmental studies will be taken.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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