Some East County residents call for changes on Ramona-to-Julian stretch of state Route 78

Residents asking for turnouts, speed signs

SAN DIEGO - Some East County residents are demanding action after seeing too many deadly crashes on state Route 78.

A deadly crash on SR-78 in August 2012 is something Jackie Osborne will never forget.

"I was second on scene to that terrible accident," Osborne said.

In the crash near Santa Ysabel, four people -- including two children -- were killed.

"It was just terrible. I stayed out there for probably an hour and a half," Osborne said.

Osborne said crashes and near misses happen regularly on SR-78. The mix of tourists and locals lead to problems on the windy, 22-mile stretch from Ramona to Julian.

"Either they go too fast and they don't understand the curves, or they go too slow because they don't understand the curves," Osborne said.

"Inconsistent traffic flow and there's no clear speed posting," said Tag Gaines, a retired firefighter and resident of Julian.

Gaines said there are not enough posted speed signs, not enough turnouts and no real enforcement.

"I'm hoping that Caltrans would do a traffic study on this section of highway from Ramona to Julian," Gaines said.

Caltrans spokeswoman Cathryne Bruce-Johnson said traffic flow is monitored daily on SR-78 at monitoring stations near state Route 67 and by state Route 79 in Santa Ysabel. As far as speed signs are concerned, she said there are six posted in each direction.

Bruce-Johnson said there are two paved turnouts drivers can use.

"It's adequately covered, even beyond the guidelines," Bruce-Johnson said.

But Osborne believes that's not enough.

"Please make more turnouts and pave them," Osborne said.

Both sides agree they want to avoid deadly crashes from happening again. However, Caltrans said there are no plans to install any more speed signs or turnouts in the near future.

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