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CASITAS SPRINGS : Bypass Road Study to Take 9 Months

A detailed study of possible routes for California 33 to bypass the community of Casitas Springs should be completed in nine months, a state transportation official said Friday.

Ventura County officials have said a building moratorium on new subdivisions in the Ojai Valley will remain in effect as long as traffic bottlenecks in Casitas Springs.

A committee of Ojai Valley residents recently asked the Ventura County Transportation Commission to urge Caltrans to complete the bypass design study as soon as possible. The commission meets Oct. 4, said staff member Mary Travis.

Ed Keating of the California Transportation Department said the study was begun early this year and is due to be completed in mid-1992.

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He said it will take longer than other highway studies because of engineering difficulties in the mouth of the Ojai Valley.

To design a four-lane, divided highway in a developed area bordered by mountains and the Ventura River is not easy, he said.

Once completed, the study will allow county transportation officials to seek a priority status for state funding to build the bypass around Casitas Springs to Oak View. At this time, officials say they doubt construction could begin before the year 2023.

Gene Daffern of Oak View, chairman of the county’s Highway 33 Improvement Committee, said the current two-lane stretch through Casitas Springs has twice the normal rate of fatal accidents for similar highways, causes delays for emergency vehicles and endangers pedestrians trying to cross the highway “to buy a loaf of bread” or catch a school bus.

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“We just want to get something done,” Daffern said.


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