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Intersection calls for added safety

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Last Friday, Aug 19, the world changed for many people. There was another unfortunate and preventable traffic accident on Highway 49 at the intersection with Lone Star Road in North Auburn (Journal, Aug. 21). This time, luckily, there were no deaths — one driver was taken by helicopter to Roseville; another transported to the hospital by ambulance with a broken neck. This dangerous intersection has seen accident after accident, multiple deaths and multiple injuries, with more to come — unless something is done to correct the hazard. There are only a couple of stop lights on Highway 49 between Dry Creek Road and Grass Valley. At the Lone Star intersection, the speed limit is 65 mph. The speed limit drops to 55 mph after Wolf Road; lowering it to 55 mph from Dry Creek to Wolf Road would also help) which means traffic routinely travels at 70 to 75 mph. Put that together with a bend in the road right at the Lone Star intersection, traffic trying to turn right and left from both sides of 49, and traffic turning right and left from 49 to both sides of Lone Star, and you have a dangerous situation, which was proven again last Friday. Why hasn’t this condition been corrected? Why do repeated accidents continue? As the California Department of Transportation explains, there are guidelines for determining when to place a stop light at an intersection, and the guidelines require more deaths than have taken place at Lone Star and 49. Really? How many deaths are necessary? Isn’t it enough that there are horrendous accidents which change people’s lives, even if there are survivors? Doesn’t it make sense sometimes to throw away the “guidelines,” especially when they make no sense? The downside of a stop light is that the travel to and from Grass Valley may take a few extra seconds or even a couple of minutes. And, the state explains, when there is a stop light, you may encounter additional accidents, like rear-end collisions. However, these are minor, slow-speed accidents, compared to a front-end collision between a stopped car turning left and an oncoming car going 70 mph or more. How can a few seconds’ delay be worth the agony and life-changing event of a high speed wreck? It’s time to slow it down and prevent preventable accidents. John D. Lowery, another Lone Star Road resident, Auburn