Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Central Coast lawmaker lobbying state to remedy "Blood Alley"

Wikimedia Commons/Piotr Flatau
The junction of SR 41 and 46, where the actor James Dean died in a 1955 car crash.

State routes 41 and 46 in San Luis Obispo County are notorious for their high number of traffic crashes and fatalities. Earlier this year, according to Central Coast state lawmaker Jordan Cunningham’s office, in the span of two months, six people were killed in crashes where the two highways meet. 

“The deaths on this road has been a problem going back decades and decades. This section of road, in particular the section of 46 near the Wye interchange has been called ‘Blood Alley’ for a number of years,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham, who represents the state’s 35th District in the State Assembly, said he has made it a priority of his first term in office to dedicate state transportation funding to improving safety on Highways 41 and 46.

Presently state transportation officials are deciding next year’s funding priorities, via a draft version of the California Department of Transportation’s 2018 Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP).

Looking at proposed total project costs, the draft plan has $111 million earmarked for improvement projects near Cholame, and $136 million for the Route 41/46 “Wye.” Nearly $100 million is dedicated to fixing the Antelope Grade.

Cunningham said these two San Luis Obispo County highways are a “clear and present danger.”

“In addition to the public safety risk, we’ve got an issue with this section of road connects basically all of the Central Valley with the coast, and it’s also a major shipping corridor,” Cunningham said. “They take lettuce from the Salinas Valley, down 101, take it eastbound on Highway 46, then take Highway 5 south to grocery stores in Southern California.”

The deadline for public comment on the draft ITIP is Monday, November 13. Cunningham is urging Central Coast residents to weigh in on the California Department of Transportation's draft plan; his office created a public Google document with contact information for public comment.

Correction: an earlier version of this story listed the draft plan figures in thousands rather than millions; they have been corrected.