06 November 2008

Carbon Canyon Road's Greatest Hits #2

It's not that the damage was so significant, but that it happened so fast! CalTrans, doing its due diligence (especially on the San Bernardino County side, thanks to Measure I, the sales tax levy that provides funds for highway projects), installed sparkling new guardrails on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road between the two entrances into Summit Ranch in Chino Hills. There is quite a drop off the slope and there are houses down below, so it made sense to put the rails in, especially as it's been said that a number of cars have rolled down the embankment and crashed into the backyards of some of these homes.

But, not two weeks or so after the installation in the summer of 2007, there were two crashes that caused damage to the guardrails, including the one shown above (photo taken in early August.) Notably, CalTrans came in and replaced those sections within a short time, but one possible scenario comes to mind.

If the intent of having the rails was to keep cars from going over the side, what about the probability that a car roaring through these curves hits the rail and then bounces back onto the road and into oncoming traffic or cars following behind? That is, couldn't the potential for serious injury or death conceivably be greater?

So far, we've just had crumples of the rail (and, most assuredly, the cars) in these incidents and let's just hope that anything worse doesn't happen anytime soon.

Incidentally, our next edition of this feature will feature an incident in an area that would seem to be a good candidate for more guardrails--more later!

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