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Arroyo Grande leaders meet Tuesday to discuss improvements at busy interchange

Posted at 6:14 AM, Mar 26, 2019

Some major highway improvements could be coming to the city of Arroyo Grande and community leaders are asking for help with the roadway design.

The highway interchange where Brisco Road and Highway 101 meet can become congested with traffic, especially during morning commutes.

Many people locally agree that something needs to be done to fix this, but not everyone agrees with one solution.

“It’s a nightmare, you sit in traffic forever,” said Linda Drummy, an Arroyo Grande resident. “People are rude and they don’t respect others in others lanes. This is an accident waiting to happen and I have almost been hit by cars that were coming out of nowhere.”

The on and off-ramps were temporarily closed so the city could see if an alternative one was a viable option.

Drummy says this traffic simulation made her hopeful.

“Without that extra on-ramp it was so much quieter, it was easier, so much less stressful and traffic moved well,” said Drummy.

The city is looking at two options.

The first alternative is slated to cost $12,300,000 and would involve closing the northbound on and off-ramps at Brisco Road and Highway 101. Construction crews would also complete intersection improvements at Camino Mercado and Highway 101, as well as on the north and southbound ramps at Grand Avenue and Highway 101. It would also involve widening the Grand Avenue bridge.

Scott May manages Eagle Collision Repair off Brisco Road and East Grand Avenue and worries the ramp closures will impact his customers.

“Once you’re cutting down the traffic up here you are cutting down the flow of people coming here for business, to get their cars repaired,” said Scott May, Eagle Collision Repair manager.

When Brisco was temporarily closed, May says traffic built up elsewhere.

“Once they cut Brisco Road off, that’s a nightmare and so is Oak Park Avenue obviously because there is not another way around that,” said May.

However, he thinks the first option is more cost-effective and less confusing than the second.

The second alternative is slated to cost $22,700,000 and would involve relocating the northbound ramps at Brisco Road to West Branch Street and Rodeo Drive. Crews would also complete intersection improvements at Grace lane and Rodeo Drive, as well as on the southbound ramps at Grand Avenue and Highway 101.

“This city isn’t big enough for a roundabout,” said Drummy. “I feel like it’s going to cause more chaos for people because they aren’t going to know how to use it.”

Many people on ‘Nextdoor’ disagree, however, saying a roundabout would ease traffic and provide better access for emergency vehicles.

“Roundabouts are great,” Annaleaz F. said on ‘Nextdoor’. “It takes some getting used to, but lots of states are going towards roundabouts or even diverging diamond interchanges to reduce crashes.”

“Everyone keeps posting ‘close the ramps, worked just fine’ and while that may be true for commuters, it is a serious hindrance to emergency services which simply can’t use alternatives without increasing response time,” said Alan Stephenson, another poster on ‘Nextdoor.’

“They are always trying to better the community, as long as we are not throwing out money just to throw out money,” said May.

KSBY reached out to the city of Arroyo Grande Monday and did not hear back.

City leaders are asking the public to sit in on Tuesday’s City Council meeting to give input on the designs moving forward.

A recommendation on a selected alternative will be made at the meeting.

The council will also discuss potential ways to reduce the cost.

That meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Arroyo Grande Council Chambers.

If you are unable to make it to the meeting, but would still like to provide input, you can email your comments to brisco@arroyogrande.org.