For those who commute along Highway 46 West in Templeton on a regular basis, a new four-way stop at Vineyard Drive may have come as a surprise.
Caltrans unveiled the changes last week, and while some locals say it's a good idea for safety purposes, others say it will cause congestion.
Drivers like Bruce Owens are no strangers to the highway that links the North County to the North Coast. Even though he acknowledges that prior to the four-way stop, drivers on Vineyard Drive had challenges crossing the road, Owens doesn't think it's the answer.
"This intersection needs traffic control," Owens said. "I don't think the stop sign is the appropriate solution. I think we need a signal here."
A signal that could keep traffic flowing along the highway when there aren't any cars on Vineyard Drive.
When driving along Highway 46 heading east, Owens says there isn't enough warning before drivers come to a stop. He believes that to relieve that congestion, a right-hand turn lane heading west is also needed.
"The distance here between this and the stop sign at 60 miles per hour is no more than a couple 100 feet, I can imagine," Owens said.
On Friday, some motorists failed to stop completely as they headed west.
However, Caltrans spokesperson Jim Shivers says this area of Templeton is no stranger to traffic collisions, resulting in the push for a change to increase safety.
"The four-way stop is essentially a way to calm that traffic in that location," Shivers said. "It eliminates the threat of broadside collisions which is what we've seen in recent years."
He says the stop sign is not permanent.
"At a later point in time, we plan to build a roundabout, so the public should think of this four-way stop as step one, with the roundabout being the long term solution for that location," Shivers said.
Shivers says the intersection will be monitored by Caltrans engineers, but he's confident the updated changes will serve the public well.
While there's mixed reaction about the new intersection, Shivers says the Caltrans office hasn't received any calls about the changes. The California Highway Patrol Templeton office says it has received fewer than ten complaints since the reveal of the stop signs.