Friday, January 25, 2008

New Funds Aid CHP On Highway 12

New Funds Aid CHP On Highway 12
By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 01/25/2008

Traffic moves Thursday along Highway 12 in Solano County, which is becoming a safer route. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

With several physical changes toward safety on Highway 12 already in place, a new $1.1 million grant will help the California Highway Patrol start heavily enforcing driving rules on the dangerous stretch.

The grant, given to several CHP divisions whose service areas include parts of Highway 12, was announced at a press conference Thursday attended by local government officials, CHP brass and members of various transportation agencies. Given by the Office of Traffic Safety, the grant will help pay for more officers, extra overtime and public awareness for Highway 12 between Interstate 5 on the east and I-80 on the west.

This is just another step to increase safety by a large collaboration of city and county government, law enforcement, Caltrans and the Solano Transportation Authority. The press conference also was held to designate officially Highway 12 as a Safety Corridor.

Some steps already taken to increase safety included adding 5.7 miles of temporary center barriers on the stretch of highway through Suisun City, adding rumble strips, increased signage and creating a law establishing a double-fine zone for any moving violation between I-5 and I-80.

CHP Capt. Sue Ward said none of the changes would have been possible without the cooperation of several agencies and groups.

"It shows the joint effort," Ward said. "To see how it's coming together is outstanding."

Also working hard on safety issues has been Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Solano.

She, too, attended the conference and was described as "relentless" and "stubborn" when it came to getting legislation passed for the highway. Wolk said it all started when county and city officials came to her office asking for results after several deaths in early 2007.

"They said they weren't going to leave until I promised to do whatever I could to make it safer," Wolk said. "This grant comes at a critical time. Motorists seem to be getting the message. It's great news, but we aren't finished yet."

With some of the changes came issues among drivers. When many of the temporary lane barriers were installed in Suisun City last fall, there were several instances in which big-rigs hit them. CHP spokesman Marvin Williford said there were some issues at first, but drivers have started to adapt.

"With everything new, there is the possibility of bad," he said. "These people have been transitioning. The word has gotten out."

Danny Bernardini can be reached at

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