Trancas Detour Makes It 3 Hours Before First Crash
Written by 991KBU on October 17, 2023
The new Caltrans detour at the Trancas Creek bridge was finished at 6:30 this morning, and at 9:30 came the first crash.
A woman driving east on PCH smacked straight into a concrete K-rail placed perpendicularly across the normal travel lanes, and shoved it more than a hundred feet into a power pole.
The woman was dazed but not injured as the air bags in the small sedan all fired. The car was totaled.
No signs had been placed marking the detour or the changed traffic pattern, until the detour had already been open several hours. And those signs were far in advance of the road closure, well before the Trancas signal.
Adding to the confusion, the signs were bunched so close that they were obscured by prior signs.
Incredibly, the eastbound signs that were installed at 10:30 were exactly backwards, indicating right-then-left turns, instead of left-then-right.
The crash came just a few hours after Caltrans had shifted traffic from the ocean side of the Trancas bridge to the landside, creating two sharp S-curves that were the opposite of what had been there before.
Predictable chaos ensued.
City public safety commission chairman Chris Frost witnessed the crash from across the street, in the Trancas parking lot.
“There were several cars in there, all trying to figure out where the road had been placed,” Frost told KBUU News.
While the car was being towed away, contractors working for the state added two signs in the cluster of warning signs, far in advance of the detour.
Almost unbelievably, the signs were backwards, indicating a right turn ahead when the road veered left, then the opposite.
Similar confusingly opposite-from-reality signs were placed in westbound lanes.
Caltrans officials in Los Angeles refused to speak with a reporter, and asked that all questions be emailed to them.
In the past, KBUU questions about the bridge have been dodged by Caltrans bureaucrats in Los Angeles, who have delivered nonspecific answers. Specific questions about test bores drilled in wrong places, bridge piers that were too shallow, and other observed major engineering errors have been met with written nonresponses.
KBUU News does not conduct interviews without the ability to ask followup questions, or without the ability for listeners to actually hear the answers.
Below, picture 1 shows the sign facing traffic heading towards Pt Dume. The actual traffic curves are opposite of what is indicated on the first sign, the third sign is also incorrect.