Judge rules El Campo intersection work can begin, lawsuit continues

May 18, 2019

By KAREN VELIE

A Sacramento judge ruled Thursday that Caltrans can begin safety improvements on Highway 101 at four points between Arroyo Grande and Nipomo, despite an ongoing lawsuit. [Cal Coast Times]

Caltrans had scheduled construction to begin on May 13. However, in response to a lawsuit filed by Vintage Wine Estates, the owner of Laetitia Winery, on May 10, the judge ordered a temporary halt to construction.

On Thursday, the judge lifted the temporary stay of the project ruling that Caltrans can move forward with the improvements, including changes to the median area of Highway 101 at El Campo Road.

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.

Jordan and James Grant

Grant’s parents, James and Becky Grant, lobbied local officials and Caltrans to stop allowing left hand turns across four lanes of the highway.

In April, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments board voted in favor of restricting left turns at four deadly Highway 101 intersections in South County.

In response to the winery owners’ legal request to halt work on the safety improvements, James Grant called for a boycott of Laetitia wines and protests at the winery.

On May 14, James Grant met with Pat Roney, the CEO of Vintage Wine Estates. During their meeting, Roney agreed to drop litigation if it was necessary to get the safety improvements restarted, James Grant said. But after the judge lifted the work stay, Vintage Wine Estates decided to continue the lawsuit in order to promote a permanent solution to access issues.

“Our intent was to create positive action for Caltrans to evaluate all of the impacts of the closures that are likely to occur, mitigate those impacts, and importantly, consider and adopt a permanent solution to El Campo Road access, not only for Laetitia Winery but for the many homes and ranches along El Campo Road,” said Terry Wheatley, president of Vintage Wine Estates.

The Grants and the owners of  Laetitia  Winery have formed a working group with a goal of promoting safety and accessibility, James Grant said.

“When you promise your son who has passed you are going to do something, you have to make sure it happens,” James Grant said.

On Friday, Caltrans workers began taking measurements at the intersection sites.


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paragon

All the fans of the oppressive nanny state can celebrate! Some people think that the government needs to eliminate all risk from our lives. If you really want to keep people from dying on the roads, why not bring back the UK’s Locomotive Act of 1865 which set a speed limit of 4 mph in the country and 2 mph in the city. You would guarantee the elimination of almost all traffic injuries and fatalities. Yes someone died at this intersection, yes it is a tragedy, but we don’t need a knee jerk reaction for one incident. How many people have died at the Pismo Dunes over the last decade, yet people aren’t organizing to ban all offroad vehicles from the dunes. And organizing a boycott of a business that simply expressed a viewpoint of restraint is ridiculous.


mkaney

So as of today, they have not just eliminated left turns across four lanes, they have eliminated ALL left turns including those beginning on the freeway. Southbound, if you wanted to take that first left turn, you now literally have to drive 5 more miles to take off an exit and then come back 5 miles.


Mjd

Folks,


I advocate a continued boycott of Laetitia Winery, they are obviously putting profits before people, and that’s what happens when out-of-town billionaires buy our local property.


Boycott Laetitia Winery.


kayaknut

“they are obviously putting profits before people” Using that logic we should also boycott the Government for most things they do.


j1024

I have never felt unsafe making a left there. Sometimes you have to wait, but I still don’t believe it was dangerous enough to close. If a few people don’t feel safe using it, then go the long way.


shishkabob141

The guy who pulled out in front of Jordan Grant felt safe enough to do so.

That didn’t help Jordan.


Russ J

Halleluiah! Thank you Judge and thank you everyone who kept pressure on media and officials to help lift the stay. Hopefully continued litigation will fail to allow left turns across this 70 mph continuous stream of traffics. Let intelligence prevail.