Highway 65 Signs Unveiled To Improve Safety
Representatives of Placer County Public Works Department, the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation gathered on Tuesday to highlight the creation of a “Stay Alive on 65” Campaign to reduce the number of traffic deaths and injuries on State Route 65 north of Lincoln.
As a first step, agency representatives unveiled one of a series of signs placed by Caltrans along the highway requiring that motorists use headlights at all times to increase visibility for both drivers and approaching motorists. Daylight headlight corridors have been an effective safety tool in other locations, creating “remarkable decreases in collisions,” according to Officer Kelly Baraga, spokesperson for the CHP.
Last year alone, Auburn Area California Highway Patrol officers responded to five fatal crashes on SR 65 that occurred north of Lincoln and killed nine people. Agency representatives saw a growing need to place additional safety measures due to the number of commuters and residents that now use this roadway.
Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt had requested the support of California Department of Transportation District Director Jody Jones in a letter last October. “The County, along with the CHP, has watched the recent increase in severe accidents with concern,” he said. “Both the Rural Lincoln and Sheridan Municipal Advisory Councils (MACs) have been following this issue closely,” he added, noting the importance of the regional roadway. “The section of roadway from the City of Lincoln to the Bear River is of particular concern,” he said, citing “heavy truck traffic, along with high speeds.”
The Placer County Public Works Department has created “Stay Alive on Highway 65” message cards on behalf of the agencies that are working together as the Highway 65 Safety Task Force. The message cards provide safety tips and key phone numbers regarding the roadway, and feature a drawing by a local student.
The daylight headlight requirement will extend along S.R. 65 between the City of Lincoln and the City of Wheatland, a 14-mile stretch. During the first 30 days of implementations, CHP officers will issue warnings to motorists who disregard the signs; after 30 days the officers will begin issuing citations.
"Thanks to Caltrans, CHP and our staff for working together on this critical project, which can help save lives," Supervisor Weygandt, said. "Members of the Sheridan and Lincoln MACs should also be commended for continually reminding agencies and the public of its importance."
In the months to come, other safety measures will also be considered.