Despite Safety Additions, Riverbank Intersection Sees Increase in Crashes

RIVERBANK -- Safety features installed two years ago at an intersection in Riverbank were supposed to keep drivers safe, but data released by the California Highway Patrol shows the number of crashes on Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue has actually increased.

The concrete barrier, traffic lights and signs were installed in 2016 in order to make the intersection safer.

"It's essential. It has to be because when people don’t pay attention, it’s too easy to go ahead and do just head-on, you know, head-on collision types," neighbor Celine Steinmayer said.

Other neighbors say the additions have led to more crashes.

"We've heard definitely a couple (of crashes) since we've been over there," neighbor Zac Kasinger said. "And there’s a lot of people who speed around here."

One notable example is the death of Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Hinostroza, who crashed while responding to a chase on Nov. 25. Witnesses said at the time they saw a patrol car hit the divider and then crash.

The CHP's data shows an increase in incidents since 2016, and Stanislaus County officials have noticed a troubling trend.

"Seventy percent of them were left turn, failure-to-yield, meaning a person thought they had the left-hand turn protected green, it’s a just a green ball," county Public Works Director David Leamon said.

Leamon says there isn't enough room for a protected left-hand turn but an answer may be on the way in the form of a bridge funded by a $20 million federal grant.

"There’s going to be a bridge over the railroad tracks that will prevent this, so I think that’s a longer-term solution," Leamon said.

Leamon says the bridge should be completed by 2025.

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