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One way to make 120 Bypass safer
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

Kudos to Julie Minton for creating her Facebook page and endeavoring to rally the community and elected officials to address the safety issues with ‘dead man’s curve’ on the 120 Bypass.

Clearly, the transition ramps from the 120 Bypass to Highway 99 need to be modernized at some point in the future, but there are other less drastic ways to address the problem in the meantime.

The main problem seems to be impatient and reckless drivers who use the left lane to speed up to the front of the right lane, and then jam their vehicle into the stream of traffic at the last opportunity to enter the onramp to Highway 99. I’ve witnessed this myself many times on that stretch of road. I’m sure Caltrans has several choices among their road safety systems and median dividers that would discourage these drivers, and could be installed now for much less than the cost of redesigning the interchange.

The first one that springs to mind for me are the lane separators used at the Bay Bridge toll plaza. They are the flexible, tubular plastic posts that separate the lanes leading to the toll booths, which are intended to discourage drivers from pulling up to the front of the line and then trying to cut in.  I found an example on-line, the Flexstake Tubular Surface Mount Delineator. It is a hi-impact flexible tube, 30”, 36”, or 48” tall, designed to withstand vehicle impacts of up to 70 mph, and seventy five or more impacts of 55 mph. They are easy to install, cost less than $30 each depending upon height, and are made from recycled plastic.

Of course, these are not designed to stop a vehicle from crossing into another lane, but if a driver wants to cut in badly enough that he doesn’t care about damaging his vehicle, then these would do the trick. This isn’t the ultimate solution, but it would provide a deterrent to lazy, stupid and reckless drivers until the county can come up with the millions of dollars needed to do the job correctly.

Stephen Breacain