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Infrastructure, Housing and Development

SLO County asks Caltrans to close deadly Highway 101 median openings

This week San Luis Obispo County officials voted to ask the state transportation agency to close middle sections of Highway 101 south of Arroyo Grande to prevent further collisions and deaths.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is sending a letter to Caltrans asking for the closure of the median openings along the stretch of Highway 101 where Cal Poly student Jordan Grant died in a crash in October.

Jordan Grant’s father, James, has been advocating for the median closures since his son’s death. He says he expected the county board to sign on to the idea, but traveled from his home in Texas to make sure.

“We sort of committed ourselves in Jordan's memory to fix this problem, so the next Jordan wouldn't be hurt,” Grant said.

In 2007, Caltrans started looking at closing the median gaps from Los Berros Road to Traffic Way on 101. The agency found there were 216 collisions in that area in a three-year period.

San Luis Obispo County resident Susie Smith said she was seriously hurt in a car accident seven weeks before Jordan Grant was killed at the same location.

“This was supposed to be closed a long time ago,” Smith said.

But area businesses say not all the Highway 101 crossings should be closed. Attorney Ty Green represents Laetitia Winery, whose entrance aligns with the one of the median openings.

“Caltrans is using the tragedy at El Campo [where Jordan Grant died] as an opportunity to do closings that they've been trying to do for 20 years,” Green said at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting.

In its closure request letter to Caltrans, the board said the long term solution is to convert that section to a full freeway with on-ramps and off-ramps.