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Planning continues for undercrossing at Hwy 101 and Wellsona Rd.

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Posted at 6:43 PM, Sep 30, 2021

We have an update on a safety improvement project for Wellsona Road and Highway 101 just outside of the Paso Robles city limits.

On September 30, both four and five years ago, there were deadly car crashes at that intersection.

There have been a number of other crashes since then with the latest one on Wednesday.

"It was a very forceful accident. It was quite horrific," said Juliet Hamburg.

She called 911 after witnessing a red SUV and a gray pickup truck crash at the intersection of Highway 101 and Wellsona Road on Wednesday.

"I had never seen anything like that and the force of the red car to hit that truck so hard to make it flip like that was really something," Hamburg explained.

The California Highway Patrol says, fortunately, the driver of the truck only walked away with a sprained wrist.

Officer Jose Meza says the most common violation at this intersection is failure to yield the right-of-way.

"Meaning that people that go to the gas station and come to a complete stop, they look left, right, and for some reason sometimes they don't see a vehicle coming and pull out right in front of it," Officer Meza said.

Caltrans says there have been at least 16 car crashes at this intersection over the last five years. Three of them were deadly.

Nearby resident Trisha Butcher has witnessed the aftermath of a number of deadly crashes over the years.

"It's terrible to hear and we hear it every year. It's in our own backyard and we've been highly anticipating the beginning of this construction," Butcher said.

By the fall of next year, the state agency says it'll start construction on an undercrossing beneath Highway 101 just south of Wellsona Road.

"Our intent is to eliminate the potential for multi-vehicle incidents at this intersection. By creating this undercrossing, we're essentially removing traffic, removing those points of conflict from the intersection to this new undercrossing," said Jim Shivers, Caltrans District 5 spokesperson.

Caltrans says the project is in the design phase but construction is expected to begin by October or November of next year.

A good example of this type of undercrossing is at Highway 101 and Willow Road in Nipomo.

Caltrans says the undercrossing project will cost $12 million and will take two years to complete.