CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. - Hundreds of drivers have been ticketed for intentionally ignoring road closures along a rural stretch of Crow Canyon Road in unincorporated Alameda County.
The roadway has been closed for more than three weeks between Castro Valley and San Ramon because of mudslides, erosion and storm damage. But officials say some drivers ignore the barriers and signs that say to stay off that part of Crow Canyon Road.
In fact, 300 drivers have received tickets this month and another 1,000 have been given warnings.
"There’s no excuse for wanton disregard for public safety," Officer Daniel Jacowitz with California Highway Patrol said. "It doesn’t make any sense to us."
Residents and business owners first notified the CHP that drivers were ignoring the road closure signs and speeding along the 7-mile stretch of Crow Canyon Road.
The closure warning signs are posted in Alameda County beginning at Castro Valley Boulevard and barriers are in place beginning at Cold Water Drive.
"They need to learn how to read," said Crow Canyon Saddlery owner Gary Arney. "It definitely says not open to through traffic. They run through here crazy."
The CHP said it has officers patrolling the road almost daily and oftentimes within minutes catches commuters using the road as a short-cut.
"If you want to make that poor choice to driver around a barricade, you’re going to get a ticket and hopefully that ticket will resonate with you and you won’t make that same choice again," Jacowitz said.
Tickets for ignoring road closed signs start at $300 and a point on a license. KTVU rode along with the CHP Monday and quickly found drivers breaking the law.
"I know it says road closed, but there was a huge gap where people could cut through, so I just figured it was safe," a driver who was commuting from Dublin said. "I’ve learned my lesson."
The safety message is slowly spreading that residents, business visits and deliveries are the only exceptions for driving on the road.
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Driver Kevin Kelly of San Leandro said his friend was pulled over three separate times just to check and confirm they lived off Crow Canyon Road.
"I’m definitely staying off of the roadway," Kelly said. "This is a major thoroughfare. I think they need to work faster and get this roadway open."
Alameda County Public Works, which is responsible for the cleanup and construction said there are two spots where the roadway may be compromised from recent washouts.
It is expected to take weeks or longer before the road can fully reopen to all traffic, an official said.
For now, CHP officers plan to continue education and enforcement efforts to prevent drivers from going rogue.
"The CHP’s not out here looking for revenue. We’re not out here to ruin someone’s day," Jacowitz said. "We’re trying to prevent loss of life. We’re trying to prevent injury and property damage."