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Lonely Highway

February 28, 1991|CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS

How lonely is Ventura County's loneliest highway?

In 1983, Caltrans engineers estimated that an average of 600 vehicles daily rolled past Ozena Station at Lockwood Valley Road, about 30 miles beyond Ojai, on California 33. That put the intersection among the least-traveled stretches of state highway in California.

Of course, Ventura County gained about 100,000 residents over the next six years. Average daily traffic on the Ventura Freeway at Victoria Avenue rose from 85,000 vehicles to 117,000. But when Caltrans returned to the Maricopa Highway and Ozena Station in 1989, the rate of traffic remained unchanged: 600 vehicles a day, perhaps 95 in a peak hour.

In its northern stretches beyond Ventura County, California 33 stays rural, but gets a bit busier: 9,000 vehicles a day at 6th Street in Taft, 6,300 at 5th Street in Coalinga and 5,300 at 8th Street in Firebaugh. In all, the highway runs 289 miles, with four breaks, from Ventura Freeway in Ventura to Vernalis in San Joaquin County.

Some other 1989 Ventura County traffic estimates from Caltrans:

* At California 1 on the Ventura-Los Angeles county line, 13,700 vehicles daily; 1,750 in a peak hour.

* At California 1 and Gonzales Road in Oxnard, 47,500 daily; 4,400 peak hour.

* At the Moorpark Freeway and Olsen Road in Thousand Oaks, 49,000 daily; 5,100 peak hour.

* At California 34 and Daily Drive in Camarillo, 13,400 daily; 1,650 peak hour.

* At the Ventura Freeway and Westlake Boulevard in Thousand Oaks, 144,000 daily; 12,300 peak hour.

* At the Ventura Freeway and Camarillo Springs Road in Camarillo, 96,000 daily; 8,400 peak hour.

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