Somis: Caltrans delaying Donlon Road realignment

By David Stewart

This Labor Day weekend traffic was backed up from the Somis traffic light all the way to Moorpark along Highway 118 (Los Angeles Ave.).  Caltrans had plans to improve service by enlarging the intersection of Somis Road (State Highway 34) and Los Angeles Ave. State (Highway 118) back in 2000 (the issue first coming on the radar in 1997 with the much larger undertaking of widening the 118 from two lanes to four).  At that time the intersection project would have cost taxpayers 3.5 million dollars.  This would not have included the realignment of Donlon, which is a county road.  Donlon is just east of the intersection and creates a dogleg, instead of a true four way stop at the intersection.

Save Our Somis (SOS), founded by Barbara Kerkhoff and Patricia Arkin, both now serving on the Somis MAC (Municipal Area Council), opposed the project.  Caltrans temporarily withdrew their proposal after losing a lawsuit filed by SOS. The agency finally shelved it altogether in 2012 when Ventura County Public Works/Transportation went forward with its own plans to realign Donlon.

For over two years now, the County has been trying to comply with Caltrans’ stipulations, which include the expense of moving a drainage culvert Caltrans built in what will become the middle of the newly aligned section of Donlon Road.  Now Caltrans is asking for wider shoulders and the construction of an expensive retaining wall, in effect, getting the built out of the intersection at the County’s expense.

Hopefully there will be a resolution to finally improving the Donlon/Highway 118/Somis Road intersection.  The completed project would move the intersection up from an F rating, barely functional, to a C rating, with a longer left turn-pocket for traffic going south on Somis Road from westbound 118.

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Dogleg intersection Donlon/Highway 118/Somis Road
Photo Credit: Goggle Earth

 

David Stewart is retired from tech industry and is now IT director for Citizens Journal, so not exactly as retired as he’d like to be.

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