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By Miriam Raftery

July 28, 2017 (Jamul) – Earlier this month, we covered concerns raised by Jamul community members and Supervisor Dianne Jacob over highway safety concerns on State Route 94 since the Hollywood Jamul-San Diego Casino opened and on delays in improvements planned on State Route 94.

In response to our inquiry, we received a statement issued by Caltrans, as well as additional remarks from Caltrans public information office Cathryne Bruce-Johnson.

Below is the statement:

Caltrans Statement on State Route 94 Improvements

SAN DIEGO—Caltrans has issued the following statement regarding State Route 94 improvements in the Jamul area of San Diego:

The Jamul Indian Village (JIV) opened a casino in east San Diego County, known as the Hollywood Casino. The JIV is a federally recognized Tribe. The casino is on sovereign land. Caltrans has no role in the opening of the casino.

The Tribal-State Gaming Compact requires that JIV demonstrate a good faith effort to mitigate traffic and other impacts. State law and the Tribal-State Gaming Compact do not require a permit from the State or completion all traffic mitigation before a casino opens. State Route 94 is a rural highway that leads to the JIV casino. Improvements to SR-94 are under way as part of the Tribe’s mitigation. Improvements are being done in two phases:

Construction work on the first phase on SR-94 includes: widening the highway and adding traffic signals to Daisy Drive and Melody Road for access to the casino. This work will be completed shortly.

A second phase of improvements will begin in early 2018.

At Caltrans, safety is our number one concern. Improvements to the highway do not impede the safety of the motoring public. Any roadway deemed unsafe would not be open to the public.

There has been intense community opposition to the casino opening, including from San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors granted approval for the necessary right-of-way for the highway improvements in April 2016.

Caltrans takes this issues seriously and understands the concerns of the community.

East County Magazine asked for further details on right-of-way issues and the latest revised timetable.

Below are remarks sent by Cathryne Bruce-Johnson in response:

Caltrans is not part of the Tribe’s ongoing Right of Way negotiations with property owners associated with the SR-94 Improvement Project.

Here are the links to the SR-94 Improvement Project that can help with your story:

Project Overview

Caltrans in conjunction with consultants for the Jamul Indian Village (JIV) prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was certified on March 28, 2016, covering the traffic impact mitigation measures on SR-94 proposed by the JIV.  These measures are outlined below and include access improvements directly adjacent to the JIV Gaming Development, and off site access improvements at several SR-94 intersections due to the project’s impacts at those locations. 

Access Improvements

Widen SR-94 and signalize Daisy Drive and Melody Road for access to the JIV GD project.

Off Site Access Improvements

1.     SR-94 /Jamaica Boulevard Intersection

Restripe the intersection to provide an additional northbound right-turn lane.

2.     SR-94 /Jamacha Road Intersection 

Widen SR-94 to provide an additional eastbound right-turn lane.  Restripe the intersection to provide a third northbound left-tum lane.

3.     SR-94 / Steele Canyon Road Intersection

Widen SR-94 to provide a second through lane in each direction.

4.     SR-94 / Lyons Valley Road Intersection

Install a new traffic signal.

5.     SR-94 / Maxfield Road Intersection

Widen SR-94 to provide an acceleration lane for northbound Maxfield traffic heading westbound on SR-94.

Status of Work

Access Improvements are currently under construction and will be completed in two phases. The first phase consists of widening SR-94 and construction of a new signalized intersection at Daisy Drive. The limits of this phase extend from just south of the Melody Road intersection, to approximately 1,500 feet south of Reservation Road.  Construction of the first phase was completed on June 30. The second phase includes improvements to the Melody Road intersection and consists of widening SR-94, to provide a second through lane in each direction, and installation of a traffic signal. Beginning of construction for Phase 2 will be dependent on right-of-way acquisition, and is currently scheduled to begin early 2018. 

Off Site Access Improvements are currently in the design phase and have been grouped in prospective packages as follows:

Phase 3

SR-94/Jamacha Boulevard;

SR-94/Lyons Valley Road; and

SR-94/Maxfield Road.

Phase 4

SR-94/Jamacha Road

Phase 5

SR-94/Steele Canyon Road

Completion of design and beginning of construction are dependent on the Tribe’s ability to acquire right-of-way, which has been met with opposition and is the principal reason for delays in implementing the traffic mitigation measures identified in the Final Tribal Environmental Evaluation (FTEE), approved in January 2013, and the EIR. Design of Phase 3 is scheduled to be completed fall 2017, and beginning of construction in early 2018.

Casino Operation     

Regarding the casino’s operation, Caltrans does not determine when it can operate.  There is no encroachment permit for the casino operation.  As a federally recognized sovereign nation, the JIV entered into an agreement with the State of California called a Tribal-State Gaming Compact on October 8, 1999, with a renewal of the Compact on August 4, 2016.  The Compact requires JIV to demonstrate a good faith effort to mitigate significant traffic impacts of the casino project.  Per the Compact, the JIV acted in good faith to get the improvements implemented expeditiously but has encountered delays in the form of legal challenges.  Caltrans requested approval from the County Board of Supervisors for use of the necessary right of way for the highway improvements twice in 2015. The County Board of Supervisors granted approval in April 2016.

For more information about traffic improvements associated with the JIV GD, please visit

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