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Winery business files legal challenge to stop El Campo Rd./Hwy 101 project

Posted at 5:13 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 20:50:22-04

A project to eliminate left turns on Highway 101 at El Campo Rd. and three other intersections between Arroyo Grande and Nipomo is on hold.

The work was scheduled to begin on the evening of Monday, May 13.

However, Caltrans says the project has been suspended until further notice because of a legal challenge filed in Sacramento Superior Court.

That challenge was filed May 7 by Vintage Wine Estates, which owns Laetitia Vineyard & Winery.

The winery is located off Tower Grove Dr., also known as Laetitia Vineyard Dr. The road’s intersection with Highway 101 is one of the four intersections involved in the project.

In the court filing, Vintage Wine Estates alleges that Caltrans violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not preparing an environmental impact report and failed to provide notice of the project for public review before approving the plans to eliminate the left turn lanes.

It claims the project will cause environmental impacts, including impacts to transportation, greenhouse gas emissions, access to emergency services, air quality, and safety risks.

It also alleges that the project’s approval was “motivated by political interest.”

The $250,000 project was approved six months after the death of Cal Poly student Jordan Grant. The 18-year-old was killed when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle that authorities say pulled out in front of him as that vehicle made a left-hand turn onto Highway 101 from El Campo Rd.

Grant’s parents initiated the effort to make changes at the intersection and lobbied heavily for it.

The other two intersections involved in the project are at Hemi and Telephone roads.

Caltrans says it can not comment further at this time because of the legal situation.

KSBY News attempted to reach out to Laetitia Vineyard & Winery for comment but has not yet received a response.