After a meeting between Vintage Wine Estates, James Grant, and community members, Caltrans got the green light to resume work on closing El Campo and three other intersections along Highway 101 between Los Berros Road and Traffic Way on May 21.
- Photo Courtesy Of Jordan Grant's Facebook Memorial Page
- MOVING FORWARD As Caltrans resumes work to close El Campo and three other intersections, Vintage Wine Estates, the surrounding community, and James Grant move forward with long-term solutions.
According to an open letter by Laetitia Vineyard and Wineries' parent company, Vintage Wine Estates, emailed to New Times on May 16, the interested parties met and have agreed to join forces in pushing for long-term solutions for El Campo Road.
"Together we have agreed to continue to advocate all-encompassing, short-term and long-term safety solutions. This includes a fast-tracked overpass at El Campo, a J-turn including acceleration and de-acceleration lanes, lowering the speed limit on Highway 101 through this corridor, and potentially a stop light at El Campo until an overpass can be built," the letter read.
With the new partnership came a May 17 ruling in the lawsuit Vintage Wine Estates filed to halt the closures, allowing Caltrans to once again begin working to put up barriers at El Campo, a private unnamed road, Tower Grove Drive, and Hemi Road, regardless of the litigation—which is still ongoing.
Caltrans issued a press release on May 20 stating it will begin an operational improvement project at the four intersections on May 21.
Motorists will encounter lane closures along northbound Highway 101 weeknights during the overnight roadwork hours from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. and southbound from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. The intersection closure construction is scheduled to be completed May 24.
Vintage Wine Estates filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Court on May 7 against the state of California, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Papich Construction Inc., alleging that Caltrans violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to prepare an environmental impact report and/or mitigated negative declaration for the project.
Due to the legal challenge, the judge assigned to the case initially ordered a temporary stay on the El Campo project while the case is in litigation. The order prompted James Grant—whose son was fatally injured at the El Campo intersection in October 2018—to call for a boycott of Laetitia and all other wineries owned by Vintage Wine Estates.
With the new partnership in place, Grant announced on the Jordan Grant Memorial Facebook page that the boycott is over.
"Vintage Wine Estates is stepping forward and being the responsible community partner they have said they want to be, and we are grateful for their partnership with us in putting public safety before any other interests," Grant said.