MORONGO VALLEY, Calif. - Several serious, sometimes deadly crashes along State Route 62 in Morongo Valley have prompted Caltrans to make some changes with safety in mind. "I've seen many horrible accidents," said Mindi Matsumoto, a Morongo Valley resident who takes the road every day to work in Palm Springs.
The thoroughfare from the Coachella Valley to the high desert has become one of the most dangerous in our area, especially at night. The change in grade paired with speeding commuters make it a prime location for crashes. "You know, you can't control it if you hit gravel or are distracted," said Matsumoto. "You know, they drop something and they swerve and try to over correct."
Now, Caltrans wants to curb the problem. The new speed limit on the dangerous stretch is 60 miles per hour, a decrease from 65.
Caltrans released this statement:
"There was a lot of concern about traffic collisions in the area. People are going to speed whether it's 50 or 60."
"Overall, it is good because it will slow people down," said Matsumoto. "People are going to speed whether it's 50 or 60."
While people may continue to speed, they won't be crossing traffic. Caltrans put up new delineators in August. It's a temporary median until one more permanent is built. It continues to draw criticism from some residents. "They seem like more of a hindrance because everyone's making u-turns on this street," said Robert Amador. "More people making u-turns and that seems like it's more dangerous."
It might create a delay, but Matsumoto says the time's well spent for the price of safety. "Would you rather have to drive a few yards and flip around or have someone have a head-on and land in your front yard anyway?"
Caltrans is looking at other possible solutions including putting in a stoplight at Bella Vista Road and 62.