Work to restrict left-hand turns at El Campo Road and three other Highway 101 crossings was delayed after a local winery filed a lawsuit against Caltrans.
The family of Cal Poly student Jordan Grant, who was killed in October 2018 at the crossing, is calling for a boycott of Laetitia Vineyard and Winery. Owned by parent company Vintage Wine Estates (VWE), Laetitia is located off of one of the crossings scheduled to closed.
A Sacramento Superior Court judge ordered the project to be temporarily stopped while the merits of the case are litigated, according to Caltrans.
“It’s uncertain how long this project will be suspended,” Caltrans Public Information Officer Jim Shivers said in a news release.
Shivers said Caltrans has no further comment at this time.
Sacramento Superior Court documents obtained by Mustang News show VWE filed a temporary restraining order and injunction to stop the project Tuesday, May 7.
VWE alleges Caltrans violated the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to prepare an environmental impact report, not providing enough time for public comment and failing to adopt feasible mitigation measures. They also allege Caltrans failed to analyze alternatives to the project and that the findings are not supported by substantial evidence.
“The project’s approval is motivated by political interest,” VWE said in the lawsuit.
The $250,000 median closure project between Los Berros Road in Nipomo and Traffic Way near Arroyo Grande was expected to begin Monday, May 13, according to Caltrans. This comes after the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) board recommended stopping left-hand turns to cut down on unsafe crossings in the county April 3.
The closures were initially set to be completed by the end of May.
On October 7, 2018, Jordan was traveling south on Highway 101 to watch a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base when a driver crossing at El Campo Road hit his motorcycle. The driver, Cal Poly alumnus Richard Giuli, was charged with a single count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence April 25. If convicted, Giuli faces a fine of $1,000 and a maximum of six months in County jail.
Jordan’s family and friends have been advocating for the removal of left turns on Highway 101 near El Campo since the crash.
“Until those changes are made, the next Jordan could be killed,” Jordan’s father James Grant wrote in an email to Mustang News.
In addition to the boycott, James started a change.org petition that already has more than 1,000 signatures. The family also plans to picket outside of Laetitia this week, according to James.
VWE was unable to be reached for comment.