The county's proposal to fix the county highway (Silverado Trail) at the Pratt Avenue bridge is going to continue to cause accidents and take lives. The county needs to ban left-hand turns onto the Pratt Avenue bridge coming from the south on the Silverado Trail. The city of St. Helena needs to ban left-hand turns off the Pratt Avenue bridge onto the Silverado Trail going north.
Cars and trucks going north on the Silverado Trail, coming around the turnoff to Madrone Knoll, have no time to stop for a vehicle turning left on the Pratt Avenue bridge. There is no turning lane and even if there was, accidents would occur. (Check the accident reports over the last 10 years at this location.) On more than one occasion my friend Mike Griffin and I have had to back big rigs off the bridge who tried to turn left onto the bridge. Once it was a truck and trailer full of gasoline. We had to close the Silverado Trail to get him off the bridge.
County Supervisor Diane Dillon, when she was running for re-election at the debate forum at Napa Valley College, told the audience, “We would have input into the repair of the Silverado Trail at the Pratt Avenue bridge." Then, months ago, a representative from the county came to St. Helena City Council for an update. Same story, "We will have input when the time comes." On May 28 representatives from the Napa County Public Works Department came to our City Council meeting to tell us how they were going to fix the Pratt Avenue intersection.
Currently, the public has not had the opportunity to provide any input. The mayor of St. Helena did not allow any public input on this matter. Instead, he told me to write a letter, which I am doing. This project is a suicide project. This bridge should also have the load limits the same as the Pope Street bridge, "No Large Trucks."
From the Pratt Avenue bridge north onto Silverado Trail, it is just as bad. If you are not quick enough to avoid the north and southbound traffic, you are in trouble. My wife would go down to the bridge when it was open and cut down the brush on the north side of the bridge so she could see. The county does not keep this line of sight clear. It is just too dangerous to make a left-hand turn off the bridge. The problem is that the bridge is not perpendicular to the Silverado Trail.
If the county and the City of St. Helena do not remedy this situation before construction, I will be the first person to give this letter to the next accident victim that occurs at his location. And they can take legal action against the city and county because they have been given notification of this dangerous situation.
Anthony M. Micheli