The Vista City Council has given its blessing to the $24-million expansion of the County Jail there after getting assurances that roads around the facility will be improved.

The decision removed a nagging stumbling block for the project, which calls for adding about 300 beds to the 400-inmate complex by early 1989.

Earlier this month the council had refused to allow the expansion because of traffic congestion on roads around the South Melrose Drive complex. In particular, officials expressed concern over increased traffic around the already crowded freeway off-ramps leading to the jail.

County officials, meanwhile, voiced worries that the delay caused by the Vista council could jeopardize a $19-million state grant that will help pay for the jail expansion.


On Tuesday, that problem evaporated as the council voted, 3 to 2, with council members Lloyd von Haden and Nancy Wade dissenting, to approve architectural documents for the project.

In exchange, the county has agreed to spend $120,000 to install a traffic signal at Melrose and Hacienda drives. Moreover, county officials say they will push for money to widen Melrose Drive between California 78 and the jail.