CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — Drivers in Citrus Heights know all too well about the left turn at the intersection Fair Oaks Boulevard and Old Auburn Road.
“We can hear tires screeching, brakes screeching, what have you, and the crashes quite frequently actually,” Kate Davis said.
“I don’t use that turn lane because I’ve seen at least eight to nine, maybe even 10 [crashes] in the last two years,” John Whisler said.
That lane is the outer lane Fair Oaks turning onto Old Auburn, where drivers tend to take the turn too fast and crash into the plant barrier on Old Auburn Road. If fact, the city of Citrus Heights told CBS13 there were just three crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The barrier has been involved in so many wrecks that neighbors put up signs every time someone slams into it.
“There is a sign that is put up occasionally like ‘cars zero, wall 20.’ I think the last one I saw was 25 or 26,” Lisa Wilson said.
The city told CBS13 there have been16 crashes from 2013 to 2018, but it said there are crashes that do go unreported. The signs may soon be a thing of the past with help from the City of Citrus Heights.
“We will be implementing a reduction in the number of turn lanes to pull people farther away from the planters,” Leslie Blomquist, the principal civil engineer for the city, said.
That’s because the city will soon begin a major overhaul of Old Auburn Road from Garry Oak Drive to Auburn Boulevard, which includes closing that outer lane. The main goal of the project is to improve road safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on that section of the road.
The initial closure is a temporary move. But it may become a permanent one after the city reviews all of the community feedback it has gotten for the entire Old Auburn project.
“So instead of two left lanes from Fair Oaks onto Old Auburn, we’ll only have one,” Blomquist said. “That’s primary interim stuff that’s going on right now.”
Some drivers say this change will cause headaches.
“I know that they tried that temporarily to see how that worked and it backed traffic up all the way to the signal at Oak Avenue,” Wilson said.
Others are glad there are signs that things are changing.
“I don’t think that we should be worried about whether it’s going to cause more traffic. We should worry about overall safety,” Whisler said.
The city said it plans to finalize and roll out its plan for the Old Auburn Road in February 2020.