Special to the Village News
Drivers who cut through Fallbrook, Sandia Creek and De Luz on their way to Temecula or I-15, were met with a surprise Saturday, July 2, because they no longer have access to the privately owned and maintained Sandia Creek Drive. The gate is now locked and no one has access without a pass.
"As of 8 a.m. this Saturday morning, the gate is closed," said Alma Carpenter, secretary of the Sandia Creek Road Committee. "The fire department did an extensive review of the gate and (how it will work) and they know they can open and close it."
The 2.2 miles of road are solely owned and maintained by the Sandia Creek home and land owners. The County of San Diego is not involved.
"We tried working with the county for years." Carpenter said. The county told them it would cost $18 million to repair the road and make it within their guidelines.
The county study revealed that 80-percent of the vehicles traveling Sandia Creek Drive were out-of-area drivers.
"The only solution the county has given us was to close traffic from coming through, " Carpenter explained.
According to statistics, 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles have used Sandia Creek each day over the years, to avoid I-15 northbound and the check point.
With the increase of drug and human trafficking, Sandia Creek Drive residents have had to deal with high speed crashes, dead bodies dumped out there and even cars with dead bodies in them dumped, she explained. Residents were tired of it all and the costs were mounting.
The increase in crime and traffic events also alarmed residents of Sandia Creek because of their liability in owning and maintaining the road. They had to do something. The county advised them on installing a gate.
"The owners have already paid for road expenses and maintenance over the years," Carpenter said.
Gate pass cards are being sold for $588. The proceeds will help pay for road maintenance and upkeep and the gate maintenance.
"Everyone in Rock Mountain, Gavilan and De Luz, bought a pass," Carpenter said.
All essential services, such as sheriff, North County Fire, the postal service, and utility services have access.
Farm owners on Sandia Creek have a way to let workers in. Home delivery services will contact people on their routes to be let in.
There is a way to call from the gate to a resident.
If you need an annual pass, check out https://www.sandiacreek.org/gate-access.