By Deb Murphy
In case northbound travelers heading to Bishop haven’t noticed, all evidence of what was once Sunland Drive are now gone, as is the final 840-feet of the road between Gerkin Road and U.S. Highway 395.
If you’re thinking this is a form of government trying to protect us from ourselves, you may be right. But, in this case, we needed to be protected from ourselves and drivers flying down Sunland with 395 traffic in sight. Oops, was that a stop sign?
Sunland is the scenic route heading up to Rossi Hill, then north past pasture lands, ending at Line Street. Eight hundred forty feet from Hwy. 395, was a two-way stop to allow Gerkin traffic the right of way.
According to the Board of Supervisors August 28 agenda documents, from 2005 to mid-2017, there were five accidents. Then, from July 2017 to July 2018, there were four.
The California Highway Patrol couldn’t retrieve records on the July 2017 accident, but the January, May and July 2018 accidents all resulted in major vehicle damage and minor injuries.
One theory as to why the apparent epidemic of didn’t-see-the-stop-sign was inaccurate navigation and mapping programs and confusion for non-local drivers with the close proximity to Hwy. 395.
Whatever the reason, the County’s Road Department tried a few fixes. After the January accident, the department put in rumble strips at the “stop ahead” signs and replaced the stop sign.
Five months later, after the May accident, up went Type 3 barricades with 30-inch stop signs on the west side of the intersection, orange flags on the stop ahead sign post and flashing red lights on the intersection stop sign.
Two months later, after the July accident, the County put up a temporary message board on Sunland.
Enough is enough. Two weeks ago, the Road Department tore up and hauled off 840-feet of Sunland Drive; Caltrans took down the Sunland road signs on 395 and erased the turn lane. Sunland now T’s into Gerkin.