Editorial: Widen Hwy 4 east of Antioch for safety
- Published Friday, January 4, 2002, in the Contra Costa Times
For safety's sake, widen Highway 4 to east of Antioch
Highway 4, far East County's main street, connects Oakley, Brentwood,
Byron and Discovery Bay to Central County and to the valley cities of
Stockton and Manteca. The road that served the farming communities of
the past needs to be updated, straightened and widened to serve the
needs of today's modern lifestyle.
One of the places where the two-lane road's inadequacy is so well
demonstrated is the short route from Brentwood to Discovery Bay.
Recent statistics released from the office of state Sen. Tom
Torlakson, D-Antioch, show that in the period from Jan. 1, 2001, to
mid-December, there were 67 accidents, more than one accident per
The worst accident this year occurred just outside of Discovery Bay
that claimed the lives of two Antioch residents and severely injured
other relatives returning from a family outing to Disneyland.
Another accident involved Discovery Bay resident David Piepho, the
chairman of the Discovery Bay town council. Piepho injured both legs
so that he will be unable to work as a firefighter for six months.
At Piepho's instigation, Torlakson, Caltrans and the California
Highway Patrol will look at this particular stretch of Highway 4 that
shows a 76 percent increase in accidents from the previous year.
It's about time. Too many people have died or had their lives altered
because of accidents on that road.
But Highway 4, once a back-door shortcut to Stockton, has become a
major commute route for the booming communities of far East County.
There is a continuous stream of trucks and cars at all times of the
day, frustrating drivers and endangering pedestrians.
Even if the so-called bypass is completed, connecting Balfour Road
with Highway 4, it will still be a two-lane road. Already, new
businesses and shopping centers are planning to locate along that yet-
to-be-built roadway. These retail and business centers will only add
more traffic to the daily traffic grind commuters have to endure on
our local roads.
While the stretch of Highway 4 through Pittsburg and Antioch has
garnered most of the attention of traffic planners, widening up to
eight lanes at some spots, it is time Caltrans' road engineers take a
serious look at the entire stretch of Highway 4 east of Antioch.