Dangerous road to be fixed 

A dangerous stretch of county road known for crossover accidents is poised for an overdue fix, according to officials.

A county proposal to build a traffic barrier onWestborough Boulevard at the edge of South San Francisco, if approved by the Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting today, would resolve five months of drawn out negotiations between county and city officials.

South San Francisco Mayor Richard Garbarino on Monday praised the county’s offer to shoulder most of the expense for a metal guardrail on a notorious section of Westborough between Junipero Serra and Camaritas Avenue, where drivers frequently cross over into oncoming traffic. As many as 24 accidents have occurred on that stretch of road since 1984, including three fatalities in recent years, South San Francisco police said.

"I think it’s about time," Garbarino said. "It just makes common sense that you would do everything you could to make sure that those kind of accidents don’t occur again," Garbarino said.

The barrier — partially on unincorporated county land and partially on city land — would be about 1,000 feet long and cost the county about $191,000. South San Francisco would pay about $39,000. Work could begin as soon as June and wrap up within a few weeks, said Brian Lee, county deputy director of public works.

"In the scheme of things, this is an inexpensive solution that may save lives," county Supervisor Jerry Hill said.

The guardrail proposal comes after city officials rejected an initial proposal by the county to widen the median by eight feet, reducing eastbound traffic to one lane.

South City officials said that plan would increase already problematic traffic congestion in the area, Garbarino said.

Speeding has been a factor in many of the accidents, according to police. "It’s a long roadway with no traffic signals," Lee said.

Lee said police plan to continue speed enforcement in the area after the barrier is installed.

There have been five fatal crossover accidents on that stretch of road since 1990, according to the South San Francisco Police Department.

Roughly 1,266 citations have been issued by police on that stretch in the last five years, police said.

In the most recent accident, Ray Masaganda, was killed Aug. 9, 2006 while driving to pick up his wife Maria, 45, from a hula lesson. His car was struck head on when another vehicle came over the center divider.

County supervisors will vote on the proposal at today’s meeting. If approved, the South San Francisco City Council could vote on its portion of the funding as soon as Feb. 28, officials said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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