Deadly Accidents Prompt 11-Year-Old To Fight For Safer Highway 49

NEVADA CITY (CBS13) — An 11-year-old girl has made it her mission to improve safety on a local stretch of road. Her focus is on Highway 49 which has been the scene of several fatal crashes in the last few months.

Jolie Allen is a 6th grader at Nevada City School of the Arts and when she’s not practicing her green belt Karate moves, she’s setting up meetings with the Nevada County Board of Supervisors and the Transportation Commission to discuss the safety concerns of the highway.

“I’m trying to get 10,000 signatures,” said Jolie.

Jolie is collecting petition signatures centered on the dangers of Highway 49.

“So many people are dying, and there are 30,000 cars going down the highway every day,” she said.

Jolie says she was moved by a tragic double fatal crash in December that took the lives of two Bear River High school teens.

In a matter of 2 months time since then, there have been 5 fatalities on Highway 49 between Grass Valley and Auburn that have shaken up the community.

“I want to widen the road so we can get a barrier, but also the speed limit, there are a lot of things we can do,” she said.

“People drive very fast on that road, and in the rain particularly it’s scary. I’m just proud of her for coming up with an amazing idea, in response to such a serious problem,” said Nevada City School of Arts School Director Holly Pettitt.

Jolie is passing out pins, and her brother helped set up her website– Fix49.org, and the response has been impressive.

“I understand there are over 7,000 hits on the website, and several hundred emails generated from that,” said Daniel Landon, the executive director of the Transportation Commission in Nevada County.

Landon applauds Jolie’s efforts and says while accident rates have not gone up since 2006, there are many safety concerns that still need to be addressed. He hopes Jolie’s efforts will bring about much-needed state funding.

“If nothing else, if this effort sheds light on the problem, maybe it can result in more enforcement and some money for more officers to be in the corridor, that would be a tremendous benefit,” said Landon.

Nevada County Supervisor Ed Scofield says since Jolie started this mission, and her website went up, his inbox has been flooded with emails from the community, supporting her cause.

Supervisor Scofield is hosting a town hall meeting, March 22, with state and county leaders, Caltrans, Jolie and community members to discuss plans on how to make Highway 49 safer.

To join Jolie’s effort, visit Fix49.org.

More from Shirin Rajaee
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