Morrison Canyon Road Traffic Safety Project

Morrison Canyon Road is a narrow one-lane road that has historically provided access to the rural hillside properties in the Morrison Canyon and Vargas Road areas.  Over the years, the use of Morrison Canyon road has evolved to create a number of traffic safety issues:

  •  Increased traffic creates two-way vehicle conflicts on a narrow road that in certain places requires one motorist to reverse until there is sufficient space in the roadway for one vehicle to pass. The roadway is as narrow as nine feet in certain sections with an asphalt berm separating the roadway from a steep embankment. 
  •  Significant commuter cut-through traffic to access the I-680 freeway in the evenings in the eastbound direction. Approximately 80% of the total vehicle traffic on Morrison Canyon Road during weekdays is from eastbound commuters traveling between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm.
  • Increased use by the community as a hiking and bicycling trail results in recreational users having to share the narrow roadway with vehicles. On weekends, there are more people hiking and biking on Morrison Canyon Road than there are people driving.      

**Morrison Canyon Road Volume Data**

**Road Closure Location**

During the Spring of 2018, City staff conducted a community outreach process to solicit feedback on different project alternatives to improve the safety of Morrison Canyon Road.  On June 19, 2018, the City Council reviewed the alternatives along with community feedback, and provided direction to pursue closing the “middle” section of Morrison Canyon Road in the interest of public safety. 

On October 16th, 2018, the City Council approved a a temporary one-year closure of Morrison Canyon Road and authorized the City Manager and City Attorney to pursue state legislation providing the City with special authority to operate Morrison Canyon Road.  The temporary closure will be in effect starting Saturday, November 17, 2018. The temporary closure will be implemented through a combination of signs and barricades to prohibit use of the roadway by motor vehicle traffic.  The barricades will  be outfitted with a hinged base that still allows emergency access for public safety personnel and local hillside residents.    

The primary objectives of the closure are to:  

1)    Eliminate the use of Morrison Canyon Road and Vargas Road as a commuter traffic route
2)    Retain Morrison Canyon Road as route for emergency access to serve the hillside community.  It is noted that
        the “lower” portion of Morrison Canyon Road needs to be retained to serve properties with driveway access
        along the road.
3)    Substantially eliminate the occurrence of two-way traffic on Morrison Canyon Road; 

A community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 7:00 PM at Vallejo Mill Elementary School located at 38569 Canyon Heights Drive.  The purpose of the meeting is share perspectives on the effects of the temporary closure (pro and cons) and to provide an update on the status of state legislation regarding Morrison Canyon Road operations.  If you have any questions, you can contact staff at transportationengineering@fremont.gov.