New Home

Oakhurst office to open

editor@sierrastar.comAugust 27, 2013 

The new California Highway Patrol Mountain Division station on Highway 49 will open Monday, Sept. 9.

Sitting on 2.1 acres on the south-west corner of Highway 49 and Redbud Drive, the two-story, 13,850 square-foot building cost $7.2 million.

A child safety seat inspection will be held 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.

"We've been looking forward to this day and we want the community to come out and see what their tax dollars have paid for," Sgt. Ed Greene said.

The facility includes an auto maintenance shop, evidence and interview rooms downstairs and business offices, clerical and a locker room upstairs.

The facility will house the 23 uniformed officers and three staff members that work the various shifts in the division.

Access to the lower level of the building will be restricted to CHP personal only. To prevent icing, the driveway to the restricted area will be electrically heated as needed so quick response times of CHP officers will never be hindered.

The new facility also includes a 1,800 square foot single-story storage/emergency generator/radio building, a fuel island with above ground tanks and a 120-foot communication tower.

Funds for the facility come from Department of Motor Vehicles registration fees and have been earmarked for this project for a couple years.

According to Tony Berzinas, CHP project facility manager, the process for the Oakhurst station began in 2007 and has gone through many steps including planning, funding approval, land acquisition and design.

The state purchased the land for $455,000 in 2008.

Berzinas said the facility was built under the 'Essential Services Act,' Title 24, that provides for the highest standard of building codes in California. A detailed seismic study was undertaken to assure the facility will be earthquake proof.

The mountain division is currently made up Lieutenant, Commander Sandra Adams, 19 officers, and three sergeants. The facility was built with future growth in mind and can accommodate up to 36 officers and four sergeants as Eastern Madera county grows.

The general contractor was F&H Construction of Lodi who worked with about 30 subcontractors during construction. The new facility will replace the 2,000 square-foot double-wide trailer in Coarsegold adjacent to the post office that officers and staff have worked out of the past 10 years.

"We'll have much more room and will be more visible to the public here in Oakhurst," Adams said. "We will have a conference room where we can hold public education classes for the community."

The "green" construction enhancements designed for the facility to use less energy and create less waste will be recognized by The United States Green Building Council with a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

The Coarsegold office will be closed Sept. 4-8 due to the move to Oakhurst. Affective, Sept. 9, the new CHP phone number is (559) 658-6590.

A public open house of the new Oakhurst station will be held at a later date.

CHP will conduct DUI check point Friday in Mountain Area

The Oakhurst office of the California Highway Patrol will conduct a Sobriety/Driver License Check Point 8 p.m. - 4 a.m. on Friday (Aug. 30) in Eastern Madera County. In addition, specially assigned officers will patrol the surrounding area searching for DUI drivers.

Sobriety Check Points will be staffed by CHP officers who are trained in the detection of alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers. The officers will also be equipped with hand-held breath testing devices which provide an accurate measure of blood alcohol concentrations of suspected intoxicated drivers. Motorists approaching the sobriety/driver license checkpoint will see informational signs advising them that a checkpoint is ahead.

Once diverted into the lane, motorists will be detained for a few moments while the officer explains the purpose of the checkpoint.

"All too often, members of the community are senselessly injured or killed on our roadways in traffic collisions, especially when the collision involves intoxicated or unlicensed drivers," said Lieutenant Sandra Adams, Oakhurst Area CHP Commander. "The goal of the CHP is to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist by targeting roads where there is a high frequency of intoxicated and unlicensed drivers. It also sends a clear message to those who consider mixing drinking with driving. A sobriety/license checkpoint is a proven effective tool for achieving this goal and is designed to augment existing patrol operations."

"Our objective is to send a clear message to those individuals that consider mixing alcohol or drugs and/or drive when unlicensed — you will be caught," Adams said. "The drivers of vehicles who license status is suspended will be cited and their vehicles may be towed away. The drivers of vehicles who are unlicensed will also be cited and their vehicles may be towed away."

State-wide effort

As motorists prepare for the final holiday weekend of summer, the CHP is gearing up to save lives by joining with law enforcement agencies throughout the country and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an ongoing nationwide drunk driving crackdown.

During the holiday enforcement effort, which begins tomorrow (Friday) at 6 p.m. and continues through 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sep. 2, all available CHP officers will be on patrol throughout California to help ensure everyone has a safe journey. An additional emphasis will be placed on removing impaired drivers from the roadway before they destroy their life or the lives of their fellow motorists.

"Through our education and enforcement efforts over the holiday, we are hoping to save lives and reduce the number of people injured and killed on California's roadways," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Do not let your guard down just because summer is coming to an end — drive defensively and always wear your seat belt."

During last year's Labor Day weekend, 35 people were killed in collisions on California's roadways. Within CHP jurisdiction nearly half of the 16 vehicle occupants killed were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision.

CHP officers throughout the state made more than 1,300 arrests for driving under the influence (DUI), which represents an 11% decrease from the same period the previous year.

The public is encouraged to be a part of the campaign by dialing 9-1-1 to report suspected drunk drivers.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service