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Fatal crash plus Caltrans work zone slows N101 traffic for hours

Two fatal accident on northound 101 near Faria Beach in less than a week

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif.- A fiery crash involving four cars and a truck left one person dead around 9:30 a.m. Monday just north of Ventura.

It happened on the northbound 101 before the latest Caltrans work zone.

The crash involved an F550 truck caused a fire and a closure of the northbound lanes for more than four hours.

When lanes reopened at 2 p.m. the traffic was backed up for miles.

Robert Robinett who commutes 200 miles a day, from Lompoc to Oxnard for work, said he decided to get off at the beach and wait it out.

"It was rough it just kind of stopped real sudden and I waited about 10 minutes and got off at this offramp by the beach," said Robinett.

The last time he got stuck in similar traffic was during the January storm when the 101 was flooded and closed in Montecito.

He said the Caltrans work zone is also a concern during his daily commute.

"The lights from the oncoming traffic are right in your eyes and you loose a lot of vision at that time."

Caltrans District 7 Public Information Officer Jim Medina said, "I just want to remind motorists to slow down in the work zone on US 101 between Faria Beach and Mussel Shoals traveling northbound."

The four mile stretch is just north of Monday's fatal accident.

Another fatal accident happened last Wednesday around 8 p.m. at the start of the work zone.

That's when the CHP said Richard Vincent, 76 of Santa Barbara, was driving a Harley Davidson when he fatally crashed into the K-rail on the right side of the work zone.

It is not a widening project, like the one going on in Santa Barbara.

It is part of the $47.3 million Highway 101 Pavement Rehabilitation Project. About $8 million comes from Senate Bill 1.

Work on the southbound side was completed late last month.

The northbound work on the damaged pavement splits the lanes into a temporary traffic pattern.

Caltrans said it isn't expected to be done until the end of the year, depending one the weather.

"We are rehabbing the pavement on two northbound lanes and there is a crossover bypass lane and it is separated by k-rails so just be cautious when you are traveling through that section, there is a reduced speed limit and for your safety it is nice to keep a clear distance between your vehicles, "said Medina, "We don't want to see any problems, so drive safe, thank you."

California Highway Patrol Officer Jorge Alfaro said the reason it took so long to clear Monday's accident is because of the "due diligence" that follows the investigation of a fatal crash.

He said more information on the crash would follow.

For more from Tracy, follow her on Twitter below:

Article Topic Follows: Traffic
CA Senate Bill 1
CHP Ventura area
highway 101
ventura county

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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