FRESNO COUNTY, California. (KSEE) – Traveling Highway 41 is getting safer. Caltrans is installing cement barriers to prevent crossover accidents. It’s a temporary safety measure until the highway is widened.
A 6-mile stretch of Highway 41 in the Riverdale area has earned a deadly reputation.
“We have, between 2015 and 2020 this six-mile stretch had 260 accidents in 260 weeks. That weighs heavily on the local community, the people who live along this stretch because that weighs on our hearts. Because we never know who is next,” said Lorna Roush, who lives nearby,
Last year it was a member of her family, Ken Atkins. That’s when Roush started calling leaders and pushing for a widening of the 2-lane stretch of Highway 41.
“The first thing we did was started talking to community members, getting support of local farmers. To be able to put up banners trying to raise awareness for the drivers themselves,” Roush explained. “Then we started the Facebook group. I approached the victims’ families. The wives, the spouses, and parents and asked if we could use names, pictures, and things like that.”
She says that officials listened and the highway will be widened. It’s in the planning stages right now and in the meantime, cement barriers will be used to prevent crossover head-on collisions.
“So the cement barriers are a temporary solution. … They said the engineering and all of the paperwork, all of their science end of it will be done in 2024 so I don’t know whether actually, we see physical work out here in 2024 but they do say physical work will be seen in 2025.”
Caltrans says that 4.4 miles of concrete median barriers will be installed between Elkhorn Avenue and Excelsior Avenue.
The project also includes straightening shoulders along the highway with more than 25 tons of asphalt and shifting both lanes to the right to accommodate repositioned northbound and southbound traffic.