The Coast News Group
NewsOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast NewsRancho Santa Fe

Reopening of Jeffries Ranch Road inches forward

OCEANSIDE — City Council took a step towards reopening Jeffries Ranch Road to SR-76 with the approval of $400,000 to begin design and construction of the access road on Aug. 31 in a 3-2 vote, in which Councilmen Jerry Kern and Gary Felien voted no.
The vote allows for $400,000 to be allocated for the design and construction on the access road.
The initial $400,000 for the project will come
from advanced Waste Management franchise fees that the city received. TransNet funds will be sought in March for the balance of the construction costs for the estimated $1 million road.
The access road that sits on Caltrans property also needs Caltrans approval before it can be built.
“We will use $400,000 to go as far as we can,” Councilman Jack Feller said.
Jeffries Ranch Road previously served as a second access in and out of the Jeffries Ranch community of over 1,000 homes.
The access road was closed because increased traffic on state Route 76 caused safety concerns at the intersection.
Some were reluctant to spend city funds and questioned if the need to reopen the road is a true emergency. “We shouldn’t even be here tonight it isn’t an emergency,” Kern said.
The council majority did not support borrowing $1 million from the Healthy Cities Fund to build the access road immediately.
“I did not support bumping other projects that the city prioritized,” Felien said. “We are going to have millions of dollars in shortages for years and years as far as the eye can see.”
In addition to costs, it is unlikely the road can be built before March when additional funds can be secured.
An OK to build from Caltrans may take over a month and the environmental review and design process will take about six months.
“Anything over $200,000 would have to go to Caltrans headquarters,” said David DiPierro, city traffic engineer. “It will not be done in a matter of weeks.”
Most agreed a second road in and out of the Jeffries Ranch community is needed.
The recent gas pipe break that backed up traffic in Jeffries Ranch and closed down State Route 76 for hours underlined the need for a second access in and out. Some Jeffries Ranch residents criticized council members who they said put budget concerns over safety.
“How do you compare the safety of our neighborhood to fiscal irresponsible,” asked Dana Corso, a Jeffries Ranch resident.