Win­ery pulls law­suit after meet­ing with fam­ily of stu­dent killed at cross­ing

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY KAYTLYN LES­LIE

Vin­tage Wine Es­tates has pulled its law­suit stop­ping work to close the the El Campo Road cross­ing on High­way 101, after meet­ing with the fa­ther of a Cal Poly stu­dent killed at the Ar­royo Grande in­ter­sec­tion.

In a let­ter Thurs­day, the com­pany — which owns Laeti­tia Win­ery, also in ru­ral Ar­royo Grande — said that it “heard the com­mu­nity and the Grant fam­ily about the un­safe cross­ings at El Campo Road and along the cor­ri­dor where Laeti­tia Vine­yard and Win­ery is lo­cated.”

“We met with James Grant and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and have agreed to join forces,” read the open let­ter emailed to The Tri­bune.

Grant, whose son Jor­dan Grant was killed at the El Campo Road cross­ing in Oc­to­ber, met with the win­ery group after it filed a law­suit stop­ping con­struc­tion at the in­ter­sec­tion last week. Grant called for a boy­cott and picket of the com­pany in light of the law­suit (though he later can­celed the picket).

In its law­suit, Vin­tage Wine Es­tates asked for an im­me­di­ate halt to Cal­trans con­struc­tion to

block left-hand turns at four High­way 101 in­ter­sec­tions be­tween Ar­royo Grande and Nipomo. One of those in­ter­sec­tions was Tower Road, the en­trance to Laeti­tia Win­ery.

The group claimed the con­struc­tion, which was set to be­gin this week, had not been prop­erly an­a­lyzed be­fore be­ing ap­proved, and ac­cused Cal­trans of push­ing the con­struc­tion through with haste be­cause of “po­lit­i­cal in­ter­est.”

After meet­ing with Grant and other com­mu­nity mem­bers this week, how­ever, Vin­tage Wine Es­tates has de­cided to pull its law­suit and part­ner with them to im­prove safety along the High­way 101 cor­ri­dor in South County.

“The ad­vo­cacy of Mr. Grant and voices of the com­mu­nity have con­vinced us, in the in­ter­est of im­me­di­ate pub­lic safety, the con­struc­tion of the turn barriers should move for­ward as soon as pos­si­ble,” read the let­ter. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Vin­tage Wine Es­tates said it is committed, along with the Grant fam­ily and home­own­ers in the area of the cross­ing, to “ad­vo­cate all-en­com­pass­ing, short­term and long-term traf­fic safety solutions.”

These would in­clude: fast-track­ing an over­pass at the El Campo Road in­ter­sec­tion, adding a J-turn with ac­cel­er­a­tion and de­cel­er­a­tion lanes, low­er­ing the speed limit through the cor­ri­dor and potentially adding a stop light at El Campo Road



Vin­tage Wine Es­tates, in a let­ter

un­til an over­pass is built.

“We pledge to work with the com­mu­nity, lo­cal and state govern­ment agen­cies to keep this a pri­or­ity,” the let­ter con­cluded. “Vin­tage Wine Es­tates is committed to be­ing good com­mu­nity cit­i­zens. Our door is al­ways open for di­a­logue and we look for­ward to work­ing to­gether for many years to come.”

Cal­trans says work on the four in­ter­sec­tions along High­way 101 will pro­ceed now that the law­suit has been dropped.

Cal­trans will an­nounce a con­struc­tion sched­ule when the de­tails are cer­tain.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP dmid­dle­[email protected]­bune­

El Campo Road, lower left, in­ter­sects with high-speed traf­fic on High­way 101 south of Ar­royo Grande. The cross­ing is where 18-year-old Cal Poly stu­dent Jor­dan Grant died in a crash in Oc­to­ber 2018.

Jor­dan Grant

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