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Santee City Staff Considering Changes to Make End of SR-125 Safer

Between 2006 and 2012 there have been 61 traffic collisions at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and SR-125, three deadly.

Also read: Sign to be Dedicated in Memory of Woman Who Died in Crash at End of SR-125

At the January 9 meeting of the Santee City Council a resident brought up the issue of repeated car crashes at the end of the SR-125 freeway at Mission Gorge Road. Her attention to the matter had been reignited by the most recent accident in December, which involved a 21-year-old Orange County man accused of driving drunk and crashing into a San Diego police car, seriously injuring a rookie officer. As a result the wooden caution barrier now sits in shambles at the intersection.

Deputy City Manager Pedro Orso-Delgado replied that city staff were setting up meetings with Caltrans to discuss ideas to make the end of the freeway safer for motorists. Ideas discussed at the council meeting included reducing the width of the freeway at the end so it doesn't seem as much like a freeway and drivers will slow down, implementing a net type system or the more traditional sand bed or water barrels.

Between 2006 and 2012 there have been 61 traffic collisions at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and SR-125, 14 caused by a DUI driver, 16 caused by speeding, and three deadly, according to the Sheriff's Department. Of the three deadly crashes, two were caused by DUI, one by a floor mat stuck on the accelerator.

This week the Sheriff's Department is holding a dedication ceremony for a new freeway sign in memory of Pamela Sue Marabeas, who was struck by a drunk driver at the intersection in 2009.

COMMENT: Do you feel safe at that intersection? Do you have any ideas for making it safer?

Rob Bowman January 29, 2013 at 03:43 PM
A few years ago they put a bunch of warnings in the last mile that the freeway is ending. As Bill Engvall says, "You can't fix stupid."
Diana Ballein January 29, 2013 at 06:54 PM
We are terrified every time we drive through that intersection. It is not safe. Not sure what the rumble bars at the end of the freeway do other than to wake you up so you can see yourself crash? People don't slow down. There are no big flashing lights on your way to the end of 125. Nothing. Just a wooden barrier marking the tragedy, and even that is now a mess. Why is it taking Santee so long to clean that up?
Celina Beach January 29, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I really don't think anything other than closing that freeway exit altogether is going to make that intersection any safer. As the previous two commenters said, "you can't fix stupid" and all the flashing lights and rumble strips should be more than enough for anyone who is NOT impaired. Whoever had the idea to have a freeway END at a surface street intersection should be fired... and thanks to the SR 52 extension, that freeway exit is no longer necessary. Force drivers to exit the 125 by going to either E or W SR 52 and close that exit!
Celina Beach January 29, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I really don't think anything other than closing that freeway exit altogether is going to make that intersection any safer. As the previous two commenters said, "you can't fix stupid" and all the flashing lights and rumble strips should be more than enough for anyone who is NOT impaired. Whoever had the idea to have a freeway END at a surface street intersection should be fired... and thanks to the SR 52 extension, that freeway exit is no longer necessary. Force drivers to exit the 125 by going to either E or W SR 52 and close that exit!
Rob January 29, 2013 at 08:50 PM
One Fix can save a lot of Lives like the four that died tragically when the gas pedal stuck~~ sadly the driver could have put the car into neutral, trashed the tranny or turned off the ignition~~They would have been saved by a 120 ft. sand slow down run off like they have for runaway trucks in the mountains ~~
Ken January 29, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Seems like people got in accidents because they were speeding and/or drunk!! You can't really fix that by changing the layout of the road. Don't waste Santee's money. Stop light, speed bumbs, whatever...drunk drivers are gonna drive drunk and cause problems.
safesantee January 29, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Just finish building the 125 bridge going over mission gorge (its gonna happen someday when they extend it north anyways) and then normal people will get off like anyothr day and the drunk ppl can just fly over the bridge, over mission gorge and crash into that empty ass golf course, its pretty much a win/win scenario in my eyes
Tom Dragonetti January 30, 2013 at 03:41 PM
I think there was a major oversight at the termination of this freeway. On a downhill grade, a straight exit ramp doesn't force people to even think about braking. Either make the intersection with Mission Gorge into sweeping turns, forcing people to do something other than coast down a hill, or put another set of traffic lights on the interchange that precedes the intersection. Look on google maps. at the time drivers pass under the last set or bridges, the left/right turn signs obstruct the stop lights that are 200 yards past them. Either put a duplicate set of lights on the sign bar or some other warning.. an example would be the timed yellow flashing lights when drivers come down Balboa and across I-15 telling them there's a yellow or red light at the bottom of the hill.
Brian Hanifin January 30, 2013 at 07:18 PM
I am imagining installing those yellow crash cans on right hand side and start diverting drivers away from the right lanes and then another set to divert them to the right. If there is a two lane "S" snake that you have to do before that intersection then you cannot unconsciously go flying through the intersection. If you are drunk, you will crash into those cans and avoid the cross traffic. I know it seems like an unreasonable amount of work / expense by maybe diversions and flashing arrows inside the blocked off areas can be another deterrent. If need be this could be started further up the freeway so it doesn't require too tight of turns.
Daniel January 30, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Warning lights about the traffic lights ahead or sync'd traffic lights on the bridge as previously commented seem to be the quickest and most cost effective. Then if its determined that thats not enough add the probably more expensive and time consuming traffic calming ideas later.
Susan Jacobs February 03, 2013 at 04:53 PM
The end of the freeway needs a run-away truck type bed instead of barricades and curbing that serve only to launch the vehicle. The loose gravel bed envelopes the tires and slows the vehicle to a safe stop. Requiring a tow truck for removal and a mandatory citation for not driving safely for the conditions on the road. I agree with Tom on the lighting situation. It hard to see what is coming up after the bridge signs.
Kathy February 03, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Having a Runaway area, Sand bed or Water barrels will not prevent all of the accidents considering that all but 2 of the accidents that happened, also involved cross traffic. I believe that we have to close that 125 exit and build curved off ramps, one West and one East. If they bring the lanes down to 2 lanes will just create a major gridlock at that exit. We need to protect the drivers going West/East on Mission Gorge, it is the most dangerous Intersection in Santee.
Lisa Veall Larson February 04, 2013 at 05:28 PM
I too feel unsafe at this intersection. I have a possible solution; instead of the freeway ending at Mission Gorge, they should have made Mission Gorge road simply an exit and the 125 should have continued to the 52. This would make a smooth transition and an exit would be a deliberate move rather than the end of the freeway.
CheckingDaHood April 25, 2013 at 04:53 AM
If they squeeze that down to two lanes, it just means the drunks and texters are going to plow into the folks who are waiting for the light, instead of the folks crossing the intersection. Basically you're turning the freeway traffic into temporary yellow water barriers every time the light turns red.

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