MARYSVILLE (CBS13) — The latest deadly crash on a road long regarded as a danger is prompting calls for change.
A 70-year-old man was killed in a crash on Tuesday night, becoming the 16th fatality stretch of road since the start of 2017.
Driver Darlene Sutherland still remembers her close call on Highway 70 north of Marysville.
“It was honk, bam,” she said.
A car slammed into hers.
“They were passing somebody…a black car. They didn’t have their lights on…never saw them,” she said.
That was about four years ago. Luckily, she made it out alive but now tries to avoid driving on Highway 70, especially the stretch between Oroville and Marysville.
“People die on that highway all the time. It’s like dead man’s highway,” she said.
Tennile Underwood agrees. She saw the aftermath of Tuesday night’s deadly crash.
“One of the cars you could tell that it was pulling out to the left and somebody hit it to the side. A man and a female,” she said.
She wants to see something done to make the road safe.
“This area through Marysville, dangerous. It’s so packed and there’s not enough room for everybody. It’s bad. It’s dangerous,” she said.
Concerns like these are why the mayor of Marysville is also calling for change, citing stats of 16 fatalities on the highway since January 2017.
Caltrans says it is aware of the issue. It has made some changes to the roadway, mostly in Butte County, but has others planned in the near future.
“We’ve been working a number of years on a safety project on highway 70,” said Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.”
A $104 million project on the stretch of Yuba County.
“That would add shoulders and what we call clear recovery zones, two-way left-turn lanes as well as providing passing opportunities,” he said.
The mayor is calling for a five-lane expansion, but Caltrans says while that’s part of the long-term goal, their immediate focus is the safety project which will provide room for passing as well as wider shoulders.
Drivers like Darlene say it’s a much needed first step
“They need something for sure. They need something. It’s too busy,” she said.
That safety project from Caltrans is slated to begin in 2020.