Needles, CA: Needles City Council discussed how to improve safety and address traffic concerns after several accidents occurred along U.S. 95 near Gates Subdivision.
Members of the Needles City Council discussed how to improve safety and address traffic concerns along U.S. 95 near the Gates Subdivision in Needles, California after several accidents that resulted in the highway to be closed and heavy traffic being detoured into their residential area.
** Video from ZachNews on YouTube: **
The discussion regarding Highway 95 happened during the Needles City Council and Needles Public Utility Authority Meeting held on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 inside the Needles City Council Chambers in Needles, California, and was placed on the agenda for discussion after a request and letter from Ms. Virginia Tasker was sent to the City of Needles Mayor and Needles City Council Members regarding “major problem on Highway 95”.
In the letter, Ms. Virginia Tasker said that “there has been 6 accidents in the same area of Hwy 95 between Spikes and Morgan in the last two months. Four of these accidents caused the highway to be closed and the traffic was routed through our neighborhood.”
One of those accidents that lead to a closure of U.S. 95 was a big rig truck that jackknifed along East Broadway (U.S. 95) at Morgan Drive in Needles, California at around 10:36am PT on Monday, January 9th, 2017.
ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez captured on camera the aftermath of the jackknifed accident, which caused 15 gallons of fuel spilled onto the roadway resulting in the closure of both directions of East Broadway (U.S. 95) from Morgan Drive to Spike Road, and the traffic being detoured onto small residential streets, including onto Morgan Drive, Holiday Drive, Mustang Lane, and Easy Street.
Vehicles, RV’s, and semi trucks slowly navigating along these small residential streets and along tight curves and turns to get around the closure on U.S. 95 instead of using Interstate 40 to Five Mile Road.
Because of the many accidents and heavy traffic being detoured through the Gates Subdivision, staff with the City of Needles began receiving calls from residents voicing their concerns, including damaging the streets and creating an unsafe environment.
According to the City of Needles, on Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, the Needles City Manager and Public Works Director met with representatives from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Public Works Departments, the California Highway Patrol, and CalTrans to review the recent incidents along this portion of U.S. 95 near Spike’s Road.
Needles City Manager Rick Daniels presented the following conclusions that were reached regarding U.S. 95 during that meeting to members of the Needles City Council.
** Conclusions from meeting regarding U.S. 95: **
- The Speed is too high at that point. CalTrans is investigating beginning the 40 MPH speed zone further south thus lowering the vehicle speed at this point.
- There seems to be inadequate warning signs of the dangers ahead. CalTrans is also going to investigate adding signs to warn trucks of the risk of tipping at that point.
- The Condition of the pavement may be contributing to the accidents. CalTrans is investigating regrinding and resurfacing this section of the roadway. Incident command needs improvement. In the future all parties will be notified and involved in Similar accidents.
- There will be an effort to redirect trucks getting off of the freeway to re-enter the freeway and redirected to Five Mile. – Upstream traffic will be intercepted and directed to Five Mile for freeway access.
- CalTrans will not direct traffic onto City Streets.
- City of Needles Public Works crews will establish barricades to control any traffic exiting off of the highway onto residential streets.
During public comment on this issue, former Needles City Council Member Jim Lopez suggested having police stake out along the highway and catch truck drivers speeding or doing unsafe traffic moves.
The result would hopefully get the message out to anybody, especially truckers, to drive safely throughout their community well along U.S. 95.
Residents hope that making sure that improve traffic safe measures as well as better preparedness and communication between all departments will result in less accidents along this portion of U.S. 95 and keep residential areas free of traffic congestion and mess.
** Pictures from ZachNews. **