SLOCOG board endorses partial closure of deadly Arroyo Grande intersection

Supporters of making changes to the deadly El Campo Road and Highway 101 intersection

The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) board voted Wednesday in favor of restricting left turns at a deadly Highway 101 intersection in Arroyo Grande.

On Oct. 6, 2018, Jordan Grant, 18, was riding his motorcycle southbound on Highway 101 near El Campo Road. A man living in the Falcon Ridge Estates on the west side of Highway 101 attempted to make a left turn onto the highway and pulled out in front of Grant’s motorcycle, killing the Cal Poly student.

Grant’s parents, James and Becky Grant, have since lobbied local officials and Caltrans to stop allowing left hand turns across four lanes of the highway while they seek a permanent solution to the danger that the intersection poses. In turn, SLOCOG conducted an assessment of the implications of restricting access to the intersection of Highway 101 and El Campo Road.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the SLOCOG board voted to support, as a short-term fix, to not allow left turns onto and off of Highway 101 at El Campo Road. Additionally, the SLOCOG board voted in favor of the same restriction for three other Highway 101 intersections between Traffic Way in Arroyo Grande and Los Berros Road in Nipomo.

“With continued growth in the region and heightened use of the roadways by residents and tourists alike, these intersections are becoming more and more problematic and the public response has shifted to support restricted access in the short-term,” SLOCOG Board President Fred Strong said in a statement.

Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers said the state transportation agency now plans to proceed with restricting left turns at the four South County intersections. However, the changes will not be made immediately, and a date in which they will take effect has yet to be determined. 

Some residents have opposed the partial intersection closures on the grounds that they will increase congestion in the area.

Many residents, including individuals for and against the partial closures, support a proposal to construct an overpass at Highway 101 and El Campo Road. However, the construction of an overpass or some other revamping of the intersection is considered by SLOCOG to be a long-term project.