Category Archives: Transportation

General Politics Transportation

“flyOntario” – Under Local Control and Looking to Grow

Published by:

Ontario_International_Airport_Authority

By Daniel Adamus, MBA Chief Marketing Officer

Ontario, CA – On November 1, 2016, ownership of the Ontario International Airport (ONT) was transferred to the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) from Los Angeles World Air­ports (LAWA, which is also the parent company of LAX). When the transfer of airport was officially commemorated in a formal ceremony the following day, FAA Administrator (and Riverside, CA, native) Michael Huerta challenged the new owners to seize this unique oppor­tunity.

“He compared us to the dog that actu­ally caught the car,” said OIAA CEO Kelly Fredericks. “Lots of dogs chase cars, but I don’t think any actually catch them. What Administrator Huerta was telling us was that the region wanted the airport under local control and now you have it. More importantly, he was ask­ing ‘now, what are you now going to do with it?’” Fredericks said.

Local Control

One of the key elements necessary for the transfer of ownership was to create an organization which could own and operate the airport in the best possible manner. To that end, the Ontario Inter­national Airport Authority was created on August 21, 2012, via a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Ber­nardino. Alan Wapner, President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners, was actively involved in the effort to return the airport to local control and believed an independent Authority would offer the best possible operational structure.

“We created the Ontario International Airport Authority to be an autonomous public entity, separate, apart and inde­pendent from the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino. The OIAA was designed to own and operate all ONT assets when the airport was re­turned to local control,” Wapner said.

“In the development of its mission, the OIAA was tasked to operate and grow the Ontario International Airport as one of the most competitive, efficient, inno­vative and customer-friendly passenger, cargo and business airports in the Unit­ed States,” Wapner said. “We believed this to be the case then, and I believe it to be more true now than ever before – the Ontario International Airport is a key economic asset serving and sup­porting not only the Inland Empire but the entire Southern California region,” he said.

The OIAA Board of Commissioners is comprised of five members. Four are appointed by Ontario City Council to include two sitting Ontario City Council Members (Alan Wapner and Jim Bow­man) and two commissioners selected as members of the business community within the airport’s market service area (Lucy Dunn and Ron Loveridge). The fifth commissioner is Curt Hagman, the sitting San Bernardino County Supervi­sor representing the District in which the airport is located.

Wapner said the board of commission­ers is tasked with developing policy, and they hired Fredericks, a seasoned and nationally acclaimed airport ex­ecutive, to serve as the Authority’s first CEO. “We as a board were very im­pressed with Kelly, his background and his achievements in the industry. We brought him in to lead the Authority in March of last year, and he has already made great strides to build his senior staff and to complete the airport transfer process with LAWA,in compliance with all regulatory requirements and with the approval of the FAA,” he said.

“Some may say that was the easy part,” Wapner added. “Now that we have the airport under local control, we must make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Kelly and his staff under­stand the responsibility before them. They also know they have not only the support of the OIAA Board of Commis­sioners but also the support and well wishes of every municipality and busi­ness entity in the entire region,” he said.

The Work Now Begins

With just over three months under their belts, Fredericks and his team have be­gun the process of assessing the massive 1,861-acre property which comprises the Ontario International Airport foot­print. The goal in these still early days is to understand “the good, the bad and the ugly,” Fredericks noted.

“We know we bought a ‘fixer-upper,’” he said. “We have to look at safety first and ensure that all of our operating sys­tems are in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. We must take inventory, we must modify or re­write all official processes, procedures and documentation to reflect ownership by the OIAA, and we must prioritize all critical and preventive maintenance in an manner which ensures that we do not disrupt any day-to-day operations,” Fredericks said.

As part of the transfer and for the fore­seeable future, the relatively small OIAA staff is supplemented by nearly 200 former LAWA employees who will serve as a contracted labor force dur­ing the next 18-24 months identified as a “transition period.” During this time, the OIAA will have a chance to see how the airport was previously operated and to begin making changes.

Airplane

Fredericks said the OIAA is evaluating all functional areas aboard the airport, and he said that employees of the for­mer airport owner may have an opportu­nity to join the OIAA in future months. “These are the folks who operated the airport before November 1st and who will continue to do so in the weeks and months following the transfer. They are our front line with our customers, pro­viding their first ‘touch-points’ with the airport and with the OIAA. We are still getting to know each other, but we have a shared focus on providing our custom­ers with the best possible travel experi­ence while they are with us at ONT,” he said. Fredericks noted that as part of the negotiated transfer of the airport, should any LAWA employee not wish to remain at ONT, they are guaranteed a position at LAX or a number of places/departments within the City of Los An­geles.

With all that said, Fredericks and his team believe they have just embarked on an incredible journey. “Ontario In­ternational is truly an amazing airport. We have two of the longest runways on the west coast; one is just shy of 2.5 miles and the other is nearly 2 miles long. With those assets and our capa­bility to operate ‘24/7’ with no restric­tions, we can handle any aircraft flying today,” he said.

ONT currently operates 62 daily flights with seven commercial airlines, private and charter flights managed by two, general aviation fixed-base operators (FBOs) as well as a number of cargo flights by a variety of international car­riers, to include UPS and FedEx. All that activity represents less than half the potential associated with the existing airport infrastructure.

“At its peak (2007-2008), Ontario han­dled more than 7.2 million passengers per year. Today we are handling just over 4.2 million passen­gers per year. Our fa­cility, as it stands, can handle nearly 10 mil­lion passengers, along with sustained cargo growth. Beyond our current two terminals (2 and 4) ,and con­sidering the potential of long-term growth, there are already existing plans for Ter­minals 3 and 5, as well as a strategy to connect all present and future terminals into a single complex,” Fredericks said.

“As we work closely with air carriers from around the world, we have no de­lusions of grandeur,” Fredericks said. We know we must work extremely hard to earn their business by striving to re­duce their operating costs at ONT while creating the best environment possible for passengers,” he said.

Fredericks said he and his staff are work­ing on a plan to “de-stealth” the airport and to re-introduce the airport as a valu­able asset to all of Southern California. “As we work to grow international air service through our development ef­forts, we must also re-introduce ONT to the region,” he said. “According to the 2015 U.S. Census, the Ontario-Riverside-San Bernardino Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranks 15th in the United States and is in the nation’s 2nd largest Combined Statistical Area (Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim). We have tremendous numbers in our pri­mary and secondary catchment area, but we have to get the word out about what we are trying to do so people will con­sciously think about flying from Ontario first,” he said.

Fredericks said the “de-stealthing” cam­paign will be about building attention and awareness for the airport and willbe conducted through a comprehensive, targeted marketing and promotional campaign to get the message out to the business and consumer population of the region. He said he and his team will be working to connect with business and municipal leaders, as well as civic and social groups,S to encourage travel­ers to think about flying in and out of Ontario for their next business or leisure trip.

“If we can continue to do our best to improve the customer experience, and if we can be successful with the airlines to bring new and better service to ONT, ev­eryone will win,” Fredericks said. “Pas­sengers will have an easy and stress-free experience, with increased amenities, food and shopping opportunities, just minutes from home. They will reward the investment airlines make in Ontario by filling its flights to new destinations without having to battle hours of traffic to and from other airports in the region,” he added.

Room for Future Development

One of the other amazing statistics Fred­ericks shared was the fact that of those 1,861 acres, 700 are able and available for development on or adjacent to air­side operations. “You could not build an airport of this size, with the resources and capabilities of ONT today, in this, the 2nd largest metropolitan market in the United States,” he said.

Fredericks said the OIAA is now in the final stages of a selection process to hire a firm to develop a master plan for the airport, something never done before for ONT. “The successful can­didate will assist us in creating a map to guide us through the many pathways and options related to future operations and development to ensure we have the information necessary to make the best decisions possible,” Fredericks said. “The master plan process utilizes a variety of certified professionals in a number of disciplines to assist us in determining which structures are valu­able and which should be demolished. It helps us understand where a former industrial complex aboard the airport may require environmental remediation prior to development. Major companies like GE and Lockheed operated facto­ries and facilities at ONT for decades. We must evaluate each legacy property and identify any environmental issues before any development may be consid­ered,” he said.

While Fredericks stresses the impor­tance of the master plan process, he does not see it as any type of hindrance should the right opportunity present it­self. “If the right opportunity is identi­fied with any of our existing airport ten­ants, any new airline or other potential business partner, we are not restricted in any way from taking advantage of it,” he said. Fredericks said he and his team have been fielding inquiries in a number of areas, and they are working diligently to investigate the possibilities associated with each in order to determine the next best steps for the airport.

What Can You Do to Help?

Fredericks said he wishes everyone in the region to be an extension of the OIAA Marketing Team. “I ask that ev­eryone get to know the airport, to see the things we are doing to improve the ex­perience for our customers and to make it easy to fly Ontario,” he said.

When asked how else people interested in supporting the airport can help the ef­forts of the OIAA, Kelly Fredericks of­fered the following:

  • Please use ONT – Even if you may be paying a few dollars more, demon­strating loyalty to the airport is the best way for the OIAA to recruit (and to keep) new routes from existing carriers and to encourage new airlines to begin operations at ONT.
  • Please advertise at ONT – The OIAA will soon have a new media operator to manage new, expanded advertising and merchan­dising opportunities at the airport. If you can’t adver­tise, please support those companies advertising at the airport
  • Please share your travel data–An e-mail address has been estab­lished–iflyont@flyon­tario.com–where you can send your itinerary when you do fly Ontario and as a place where you can share the flight data when you just can’t find the right connection from ONT. This informa­tion is extremely helpful for the air ser­vice development team in preparation for meetings they conduct with the vari­ous airlines.
  • Share insights and advice – If you see something of interest in your travels, share it with the authority. If you have a problem or a bad experience, you are especially asked to share those as well. Fredericks said his staff are continuous­ly working to improve the traveler expe­rience, and they want to know when any situation does not meet the customer’s expectations. He said they take com­plaints seriously and will work with all involved airport personnel, concession­aires and tenants to solve problems as soon as they are identified, so that no customer ever has that same problem again.

For more information and to learn what is happening at the Ontario International Airport, please visit the ONT website at www.flyOntario.com. The site is opti­mized for mobile devices, and Freder­icks said it will be a “work-in-progress” for several months as volumes of data and information are transferred from the old airport site and until such a time as the planned 18-24 transition process is complete.

General Transportation

Caltrans Continues Work in the High Desert

Published by:

Caltrans

By Joy M. Schneider – Public Information Officer, Caltrans

Caltrans contin­ues work in the High Desert to improve and up­grade the trans­portation system to accommodate the rapid growth in the region. The area continues to see heavy goods movement, as well as conges­tion from commuters and recreational adventurers traveling to Las Vegas, the Colorado River and points north.

Projects at the Devore Interchange, in the Cajon Pass and throughout the High Desert will allow for a more enjoyable ride for commuters and travelers.

Devore Interchange Project

Work on the $324 million Interstate 15 (I-15)/Interstate 215 (I-215) Devore Interchange Project is complete. The project added a truck by-pass lane and an additional lane in each direction, brought the interchange up to operation­al standards, as well as addressed the ar­terial highways network deficiencies—specifically, the reconnection of Route 66 (Cajon Boulevard).

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the project was held on May 20, 2016.

I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabilitation Project

The I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabil­itation Project is nearing completion—the contractor is finishing up punch list items (minor tasks to be completed at the end of a project). The project, which is strictly pavement rehabilita­tion, will resurface and restore the pave­ment between Kenwood Avenue and the Hesperia Overhead, which will pro­vide approximately a 40-year life to the pavement through the Cajon Pass.

SR-138 Widening (West) Project

Crews continue work on the State Route (SR-138) Widening (West) Project; cur­rently they are working on the pavement on the south side of SR-138, as well as the Sheep Creek Bridge. The project is approximately 62% complete.

The project will widen SR-138 to four lanes, with a 14-foot median buffer from Phelan Road to Interstate 15. The project will also upgrade shoulders to current standards, extend drainage (as necessary) and construct a wildlife-crossing structure.

The $52.1 million project was awarded to Flatiron Construction Corp. and be­gan in February 2015. It is estimated to be completed in August 2017.

SR-138 Widening (East) Project

The SR-138 Widening (East) Project is a 2.1 mile project that will realign SR-138 from 1.9 miles east of I-15 to just west of Summit Post Office Road. It will also construct two-lane, paved sections of highway with outside shoul­ders, three wildlife crossings and an off-highway vehicle crossing.

Currently, crews are working to clear the project limits to prepare for drainage work, the temporary construction detour and new roadway.

The project is needed because the ex­isting configuration has many non-standard, steep horizontal and vertical curves and grade. There are no paved shoulders and narrow or non-existent earth shoulders, as well as few turnouts and no passing opportunities. This proj­ect will improve operational efficiency, traffic safety and will also upgrade and widen the existing lanes and shoulders to current standards.

The project is estimated to be complete in late August 2018.

SR-58 Hinkley Expressway Project

The $120 million State Route 58 (SR-58) Hinkley Expressway Project is ap­proximately 90% complete. Crews are currently paving the new roadbed for the expressway and finalizing the work on the bridges and ramps.

Ultimately, the project will widen and realign a portion of State Route 58 (SR-58) from a two-lane conventional high­way to a four-lane expressway, extend­ing from approximately 2.4 miles west of Hidden River Road to approximately 0.7 mile east of Lenwood Road, near the unincorporated community of Hinkley in San Bernardino County.

The project will include construction of two interchanges on the widened and realigned portion of SR-58: one at Hinkley Road and the other at Lenwood Road. All entrance ramps (westbound and eastbound) will have two lanes at the local road and will transition to a single lane prior to merging onto the expressway. All exit ramps will have three-way stops at the exit ramp inter­sections with the local road. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps will be included.

The project includes access to non-motorized transportation modes (e.g., pedestrian/bikes/equestrian) by provid­ing six-foot wide sidewalks, as well as standard eight-foot shoulders across the two overcrossing bridges at Lenwood and Hinkley Roads. A short length of the existing SR-58 at the east end of the project is proposed to be realigned to tie in to the Lenwood Road west­bound entrance and exit ramps. The widened and realigned ex­pressway is planned to be on a fill section (elevated sections of a roadway). All locations with large vertical surfaces (i.e., re­taining walls and bridge struc­tures) will include aesthetic/ar­chitectural treatment to prevent graffiti.

Substantial completion is esti­mated for summer 2017.

I-15 Stoddard Wells, D & E Street Interchange Project

The $74 million I-15 Stoddard Wells, D & E Street Interchange Project will construct new interchanges, bridges and ramps on I-15 at Stoddard Wells, D Street and E Street.

The project was awarded to Ames Con­struction, Inc. and began in summer 2015. It is estimated to be complete in early 2019.

Currently, crews are performing dirt hauling, surveying and utility work. Additionally, the widening of the Mo­jave River Bridge is underway.

Kramer Junction (SR-58 & US-395)

The $101 million Kramer Junction Ex­pressway Project is currently in the plan­ning phase. The project will construct a four-lane divided expressway in order to alleviate some of the congestion caused by the current lane configuration.

The project is scheduled to begin con­struction in late 2017 or early 2018.

Caltrans is committed to delivering quality projects that will enhance the transportation infrastructure in the High Desert. Providing a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability is Caltrans’ top priority.

General Transportation

The New San Bernardino County Transportation Authority Continues Its Decades-Long Commitment to Serving the High Desert

Published by:

San_Bernardino_County_Transportation_Authority

By Tim Watkins, SBCTA, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs

The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) has been a steady influence on the develop­ment of transportation improvements for decades. However, the commut­ers, residents and business owners of the High Desert may not realize that projects like the I-15/I-215 Devore Interchange, the La Mesa/Nisqualli and Ranchero Road interchanges, the Yucca Loma Corridor, and the Len­wood Road Grade Separation would not be possible without the efforts of this county-wide agency that serves as the Transportation Commission, the Transportation Authority, the Conges­tion Management Agency, the Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies, and a Council of Governments.

On January 1, 2017, this agency, re­sponsible for the delivery of so many quality-of-life aspects for its residents, began operating under a new name: The San Bernardino County Transpor­tation Authority or SBCTA.

Essentially, the legislative change to the agency is fairly simple in that functionally, it will still operate as it always has to meet its commitments to the voters of San Bernardino County. Senate Bill 1305 (Morrell) consolidat­ed its previous four transportation en­tities into the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, clarifying the distinction between the transpor­tation-related efforts of the agency and its Council of Governments role. Simply put, the agency is a dual entity made up of the SBCTA and the San Bernardino Associated Governments, which now operates under the name San Bernardino Council of Govern­ments (SBCOG).

The re-naming development process began with a county-wide survey gauging the community’s perceptions, recognition, and project knowledge as it relates to the San Bernardino Asso­ciated Governments and “SANBAG.” Research showed that only about one-third of the 800 registered voters who were surveyed were familiar with the agency.

However, when those voters were shown the transportation projects the agency was responsible for, fa­vorability of the agency dramatically increased to 75% through connecting the dots to the improvements to the system. The insights gathered through the county-wide survey supported the need to successfully brand the SBCTA and rebrand the San Bernardino Asso­ciated Governments as the SBCOG, providing both entities the opportuni­ty to build a recognizable and positive brand identity that will resonate with residents and workers in the county for years to come.

The next step in the process was an exploration of branding the SBCTA. The hope was to develop a singular name that would help to clearly iden­tify the agency. Unfortunately, after the review of more than a dozen pos­sible names and naming conventions, a natural-flowing option that accu­rately covered the role of the SBCTA did not present itself. As a result, the effort moved forward with brand­ing the SBCTA acronym. Great de­tail went into the new brand concept, considering all aspects of our county (i.e. mountains, desert, lakes, valley, roads, etc.). The goal was to develop a brand that was fresh, modern, artistic, and innovative and evoked the feel­ings of development, movement, and evolution–all exceptional characteris­tics that the agency represents within San Bernardino County–and reflects the goals shared by those who live and work in the region.

Ultimately, three concepts were eval­uated for how well they provided an opportunity for flexibility with color scheme, graphical design, and the ability to give a brand identity to oth­er functions of our agency, all while committing to a consistent, recogniz­able logo. Considerations of integra­tion with our sister agencies in the re­gion (LA Metro, OCTA, and RCTC) and what that might look like on a partnership document were also strong factors to the final brand concept. The agency wanted something that would stand out from the other agencies but would not overwhelm. After a number of revisions and adjustments, a brand concept was presented to the SAN­BAG Board of Directors for final ap­proval, which was granted on Novem­ber 2, 2016.

Moving forward as the SBCTA, the agency remains committed to provid­ing the quality-of-life improvements it has been dedicated to since its incep­tion in 1973. Transportation improve­ments are a major part of the way our residents navigate the largest county in the United States. Expect that SBC­TA will continue to play a role in how commuters and travelers effectively move to and through the region, mak­ing the High Desert a great place to live, work, and play.

General Transportation

Victor Valley Transit Authority

Published by:

VVTA_LOGO

By Fidel Gonzales, Marketing & Civil Rights

Victor Valley Transit Author­ity (VVTA) con­tinues serving the growing High Desert transpor­tation needs. The agency has made great strides in its partnerships that support educa­tion, employment, veterans, and other life services opportunities.

Established as a Joint Powers Author­ity in 1991, VVTA offered Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratran­sit service and fixed-route bus service for Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hespe­ria, Victorville and county areas of Helendale, Lucerne Valley, Piñon Hills and Wrightwood. Since then, following its merger with Barstow Area Transit in 2015, VVTA service area grew from 425 square miles to nearly 1,000 square miles. VVTA’s operational area currently spans from the Los Angeles County, Kern Coun­ty, and Inyo County lines on the west and north to the Colorado River on the east. Communities now include Barstow, Daggett, Hinkley, National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Len­wood, Ludlow, Mountain Pass, New­berry Springs, Trona, Big River, and Yermo.

In addition to its VVTA Direct Access, a curb-to-curb transportation service to individuals who are certified and meet ADA requirements, VVTA pro­vides traditional bus service through its 36 fixed routes. In the last decade, fixed route ridership has grown from 1 million riders in 2006 to 2.7 million riders in 2016.

Recent routes added to the system include the 45X Express in 2015, which delivers non-stop service from Victor Valley College to the Victor­ville Transfer Point at Costco. VVTA Route 24 Oak Hills, added in October 2016, now provides service to Oak Hills High School and San Joaquin Valley College.

VVTA Route 200 Lifeline service to Needles, which operates one day per week, began in June 2016, connect­ing the cities of Needles, Barstow, and Victorville. The route is in response to a request from the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair, Robert Lovingood, who saw the need for Needles residents to have access to the courts and Medi-Cal healthcare not available in that city.

VVTA Needles Car Share program, which was nationally recognized with an innovation award, features hourly car rental-type of service starting at just $5 an hour. While Needles does have transit service within its city limits, many of the nearest supermar­kets and other retail shopping are only found across the Colorado River in Arizona. Public transportation does not meet this need.

VVTA

The VVTA Route 15 B-V Link connects Barstow to the Victor Valley and provides Monday-through-Saturday service to the Inland Empire, including San Bernardino and Fontana Metrolink. The route began in 2011, offering service just three days a week between Barstow and Victorville. The following year, service was extended to San Bernardino, and in 2013 service was extended to Monday through Friday. Saturday service was added in July 2016 when ridership blossomed to nearly 6,000 monthly riders.

VVTA continues its partnership with Victor Valley College with its Ram Pass program. Funded through a stu­dent transportation fee, students with valid VVC student IDs board fixed-route buses for free. The program be­gan as a pilot program funded through the Mojave Desert Air Quality Man­agement District.

“The Ram Pass program has reduced traffic congestion on Bear Valley Road, reduced stress on VVC’s over­crowded parking lots, and improved air quality through this collaborative Mo­jave Desert Air Quality Management District effort,” said VVTA Mobility Manager Aaron Moore. “Though the greatest impact we have seen emerge from this program is the life opportu­nities that were once more challenging to attain due to the high cost of trans­portation inherent with our sparsely populated region.”

Through the Ram Pass, 288,181 trips were pro­vided to VVC students during the extended pilot that concluded in 2014, accounting for 12% of system-wide rider trips. Students ridership from all High Desert schools remains strong and cur­rently accounts for 48% of rider trips, according to a recent AECOM sur­vey. Approximately 50% of all student ridership use the Ram Pass.

VVTA remains sensitive to its use of local roads. Between 2010 and 2016 VVTA has turned over more than $30 million in unused transit funds to local jurisdictions for street and road main­tenance and improvements.

Realizing the health and environmen­tal benefits of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), VVTA began switching from its all-diesel fleet to an all-CNG fleet in 1998. To reduce costs associated with outsourcing fuel requirements to outside vendors, VVTA now operates two strategically located CNG fuel­ing stations in Hesperia and Barstow. These fueling stations are open to the public. In addition, these new fueling stations shorten refueling times and improve operational efficiencies.

With an eye on the future, the agency continues testing of renewable energy fuel technologies. VVTA began test­ing Zero-Emission Bus (ZEB) hydro­gen fuel and electric-powered tech­nologies in 2016 and deployed its first electric support vehicles in 2017.

Vanpool

Serving the needs of the High Desert’s workforce, VVTA launched its com­muter vanpool program in 2012. The program enables individuals in groups of seven or more to commute for as low as $30 a week. The vanpool fleet has since blossomed to 212 vehicles, serving 1,500 commuters daily and logging over 400,000 miles monthly. By eliminating what would be 1,290 single-occupancy vehicles from High Desert roadways, the shared ride pro­gram dramatically reduces traffic con­gestion. With the environment, the economy, and quality of life in mind, VVTA Vanpool saves the High Desert 1.6 million single-occupancy vehicle miles monthly.

CTSA

VVTA was designated a Consolidat­ed Transportation Services Agency (CTSA) by the San Bernardino Coun­ty Transportation Authority (SBCTA) in 2015, enabling that division of the agency to operate with fewer restric­tions in its mission to improve mobil­ity options for residents who are most in need and often the most difficult to reach through conventional fixed- route transportation. This designation of the CTSA was made in recognition of efforts VVTA had made through its Mobility Management Department to enhance regional transportation for se­niors, disabled individuals, and High Desert residents who do not otherwise have transportation options.

The agency has also been essential in expanding transit services, providing oversight and financial management to local nonprofits. Residents of Trona in the northwest county and Big Riv­er along the Colorado River are now served through volunteer-driver pro­grams.

VVTA 2

For seniors and those with disabili­ties, living in sparsely populated areas proved challenging for those in need of transportation, especially for medical and social services appointments. Pri­or to the CTSA, public transportation was simply not available, and the con­sequences adversely impacted medi­cal conditions and public resources. To meet this need, the CTSA launched the Transportation Reimbursement for Individuals Program (TRIP), which provides an incentive for volunteer drivers (usually friends or neighbors) to assist eligible individuals who are unable to drive or access public trans­portation by providing necessary, es­corted transportation. Participants re­ceive funds to reimburse the volunteer driver and to offset the cost associated with providing transportation.

Realizing the success nonprofits have made in serving the community but also the transportation challenges these organizations face, the CTSA initiated the Mobility Vehicle Dona­tion Program to serve these needs. The program donates retired vehicles to regional nonprofits to help reach their clientele–including the elderly and those with disabilities–who are living in the greater VVTA service area. While VVTA is restricted from providing assisted medical transpor­tation, by working through qualified nonprofits, the CTSA realized that, through such transportation partner­ships, the nonprofits provide medical transportation for a fraction of the cost and without further burdening emer­gency medical response systems. This new approach to transit saved families from skyrocket­ing transportation costs. To ensure the long-term success of these programs, the CTSA developed a Driver Training Program and a Vehicle Mainte­nance Program.

Working with the Veterans Admin­istration Loma Linda Health­care System, the CTSA helped develop the free Vet­erans Express Transportation System (VETS) for those veterans who have medical appointments at the VA Loma Linda. Previously, transportation op­tions were not only costly but were limited to certain times of the day and veterans could not receive the care they needed.

General Politics Transportation

It’s Time for Action on Failing Roadways

Published by:

Scott Wilk

By Senator Scott Wilk

Responding to a call on Cajon Pass last month, a San Bernardino County Fire crew watched as their beloved Engine plummeted about 20 feet to its demise as Interstate 15 collapsed underneath it.

Thankfully, the firefighters remained on what solid ground was left on the dilapi­dated thoroughfare. But this incident highlighted, in dramatic fashion, the ramshackle shape of our region’s net­work of roads.

We once led the world in transportation ingenuity in this state. During the mid­dle part of the last century, California — under the direction of Jerry Brown’s father, Governor Pat Brown — built a system of highways unrivaled by any other in the nation.

They built long roads over tough terrain and huge bridges up and down our rug­ged coastline. And they found new and innovative ways to fund and complete these massive undertakings, partnering with the federal government to raise funds for the unprecedented projects.

In the years since, though, we’ve let those advancements that made Califor­nia a beacon of progress fall by the way­side. Our roads and highways, once the model for transportation excellence, are now a paragon of dilapidation and mis­management. The highway system, one of the most ambitious projects our state took on back then, is now in shambles.

The collapse of Interstate 15 a was shocking display of our incompetence in the area of road maintenance. Just last year another instance was on prime display in the Victor Valley when High­way 18, a major commuter route be­tween the Victor and Antelope Valleys, remained closed for a year and a half as mismanagement of the repair project led to delay after delay, increasing cost and detouring over 5,000 commuters headed to work.

Unfortunately, these are not rare ex­amples; they only a few in a long line of troublesome extremes we’ve experi­enced after decades of neglectful trans­portation policies.

This winter Highway 50 in Northern California was almost completely inop­erable due to half of its lanes falling off the hillside in the Sierra Nevada moun­tains. Likewise, Interstate 80 and high­ways 49, 101, 20, 1 and 299 have all left Californians stranded in remote areas of the state as one after another they’ve seen massive failures over the past few months.

Not only have we let our roads fall into horrible disrepair, but we long ago stopped pursuing new projects as well. Our transportation network was a mas­sive undertaking for our predecessors. They saw the need to connect our state and the driving economic force that convenient transportation could be; and they took action.

Our highways made trade and travel throughout the state easy and accessible for all Californians. But our transporta­tion infrastructure hasn’t been upgraded in nearly 60 years, and it wasn’t built for today’s California. Interstate 5, and most of our state’s highways, were built in the 1950s when our population was just over 10 million; by the end of this decade it will hit 40 million.

California leaders way back then, includ­ing the first Governor Brown, couldn’t have anticipated the massive population growth we’ve experienced or that their successors, and children, would give up entirely on maintaining and expanding our transportation network. Unfortu­nately, the old adage about apples and the tree apparently doesn’t hold true when it comes to prioritizing our trans­portation needs.

Our governor and the legislature have not prioritized these needs in the least. We have over $57 billion in deferred maintenance for our roads. That means $57 billion worth of things they could and should have taken care of but didn’t. That means $57 billion worth of repairs just to keep the roads we already have in working order, much less expand or build new ones.

While political elites in Sacramento will tell you there’s no money for these ser­vices and that raising taxes, again and again, is the only answer, this is simply not the case. Californians already pay the highest transportation taxes in the nation. In fact, Californians are already taxed enough each year to cover every squareinch of every highway in the state with dollar bills.

But our politicians, in their infinite wis­dom, have “redirected” those funds to cover their reckless spending in other areas. So while we’re already being taxed to pay for highway repair, and taxed again for highway maintenance, and taxed again for highway construc­tion, we continue to see the deferred maintenance figures rise and road driv­ability fall.

Adding more taxes is not going to solve the problems we face.

California Republicans have introduced a plan to address those maintenance needs without raising taxes. Instead, we’ve proposed spending tax revenue meant for infrastructure repairs on – in­frastructure repairs.

The legislature knows the money is there. To fix our roads, to build free­ways and expand those we have. To build a highway system suited to handle the huge number of people traversing this state each day. To end traffic con­gestion. To reduce deadly accidents. To solve our state’s infrastructure problems once and for all. But they’d rather not.

They’d rather “redirect,” “repurpose” and “redistribute” our money to pork-barrel projects and gubernatorial pipedreams. They’d rather do any and everything but take action to fix one of the most glaring problems impacting Californians today.

So, as we drive on the nation’s most di­lapidated roads and highways, we do it as our government spends $64 billion on a bullet train to nowhere rather than directing that money to the $57 billion in maintenance our roads desperately need.

It is time for action on our failing road­ways. We can no longer afford to stand by as the asphalt crumbles beneath us. The fire engine that fell off a collapsing Interstate 15 last month was empty; no one was hurt.

But next time it could be a school bus full of our children, or a family headed to Sunday service or any other night­mare scenario where our government’s negligence on fixing our roads leads to the loss of human lives.

Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Victor valleys.

General Transportation

Caltrans Achieves Major Milestones in the High Desert

Published by:

By Joy M. Schneider – Public Information Officer, Caltrans

For approximately four years, Caltrans has been actively working in the High Desert to improve and upgrade the transportation system. Rap­id growth in the region and the resulting congestion have made improvements a priority. As one of three routes in and out of Southern California, the Inter­state 15 (I-15) and Interstate 215 (I-215) interchange is a heavy goods movement corridor and recreational gateway to places like Las Vegas and the Colorado River, in addition to being a commuting route.

Two of the major projects that will ad­dress congestion and wear-and-tear on the facility are nearing the finish line, while several others continue to work to bring relief to the High Desert.

Devore Interchange Project

The $325 million I-15/I-215 Devore In­terchange Project, which began in No­vember 2012, will add a truck by-pass lane, add an additional lane in each di­rection and bring the interchange up to operational standards, as well as address the arterial highways network deficien­cies—specifically the reconnection of Route 66 (Cajon Boulevard).

Devore Interchange

The project is currently 95% complete. The major items of work left to be per­formed are completion of Cajon Boulevard and final striping of various areas of the project.

The project team joint ribbon cutting cer­emony (partnering with the I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabilitation Project) was held May 20, 2016. The ceremony included a walk, run, bike event geared toward community involvement.

I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabilitation Project

The I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Reha­bilitation Project began in Spring 2013. As a strictly pavement rehabilitation project, it will resurface and restore the pavement between Kenwood Avenue and the Hesperia overhead, which will provide approximately a 40-year life to the pavement through the Cajon Pass.

Coffman Parsons Joint Venture, the project contractor, is currently complet­ing the last few concrete replacement areas. They expect the striping to be back to the existing configuration by the end of April 2016. Once the striping is finished, workers will install a rumble strip.

The Cajon Pass Project team working in coordination with the Devore Inter­change Project team held a joint ribbon cutting ceremony on May 20, 2016.

SR-138 Widening (West) Project

The SR-138 Widening (West) Project consists of widening State Route 138 (SR-138) to four lanes with a 14-foot medi­an buffer from Phelan Road to Interstate 15. The project will also upgrade shoulders to current standards, ex­tend drainage (as nec­essary) and construct a wildlife-crossing structure. The $52.1 million dollar project was awarded to Flatiron Construction Corp. The project began in February 2015, and is currently 45% complete. It is estimat­ed to be completed in December 2016.

SR-138 Widening (East) Project

The SR-138 Widening (East) Project is a 2.1 mile project that will realign SR-138 from 1.9 miles east of I-15 to just west of Summit Post Office Road. It will also construct two-lane paved sec­tions of highway with outside shoulders, three wildlife crossings and an off high­way vehicle crossing.

The project is needed because the ex­isting configuration has many non-standard, steep horizontal and vertical curves and grade. There are no paved shoulders and narrow or non-existent earth shoulders, as well as few turnouts and no passing opportunities. This proj­ect will improve operational efficiency, traffic safety and will also upgrade and widen the existing lanes and shoulders to current standards.

Work began in late April 2016.

SR-58 Hinkley Expressway Project

SR-58 Hinkley Expressway Project

The State Route 58 (SR-58) project will widen and realign a portion of State Route 58 (SR-58) from a two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane expressway, extending from approxi­mately 2.4 miles west of Hidden River Road to approximately 0.7 miles east of Lenwood Road, near the unincorporated community of Hinkley in San Bernardi­no County.

The project will include construction of two interchanges on the widened and realigned portion of SR-58; one at Hinkley Road and the other at Lenwood Road. All entrance ramps (westbound and eastbound) will have two lanes at the local road and will transition to a single lane prior to merging onto the expressway. All exit ramps will have three-way stops at the exit ramp inter­sections with the local road. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps will be included.

The project includes access to non-motorized transportation modes (e.g., pedestrian, bikes, and equestrian) by providing six-foot-wide sidewalks, as well as standard eight-foot shoulders across the two overcrossing bridges at Lenwood and Hinkley Roads. A short length of the existing SR-58 at the east end of the project is proposed to be realigned to tie in to the Lenwood Road westbound entrance and exit ramps. The widened and realigned expressway is planned to be on a fill section (elevated sections of a roadway). All locations with large verti­cal surfaces (i.e., retaining walls and bridge structures) will include aesthetic archi­tectural treatment to prevent graffiti.

The project was awarded to Skanska and broke ground in April 2015. To date, drainage features have beeninstalled in anticipation of a 100-year storm event. The major earthwork will be finished by mid-April 2016, at which time concrete paving will commence. The Hinkley Road/Bridge is open. The project is expected to be complete in February 2017.

The project team takes the needs and concerns of the Hinkley community members very seriously. Community meetings are held every two months so that the community can find out about the status of the construction, as well as report any concerns they may have about the project and/or construction activities.

US-395 Widening Project

With traffic expected to increase by as much as 90% by the year 2038, Phase One of the US-395 Widening Project aims to improve the operational efficien­cy of the highway by providing one ad­ditional lane in each direction, installing a 14-foot median and rumble strips, and modifying signals at various intersec­tions from SR-18 to Chamberlaine Way in the cities of Victorville and Adelanto. Caltrans District 8 is currently partner­ing with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) to work on the right-of-way and final design for the widening of US-395. It is estimated that the project will go to construction in Summer 2018 and will be completed in Winter 2020.

Caltrans is pleased with the achieve­ments of the projects mentioned above. Each project will aid in the enhancement of the transportation infrastructure of the High Desert. Caltrans will continue to deliver quality projects that will provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and effi­cient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.

General Transportation

High Desert Corridor Final EIS/R To Be Released Late April

Published by:

By Laurie Hunter

The High Desert Corridor, in the High Desert of both San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties, an east-west highway between Palmdale and north Victorville and private sector-supported rail line connecting Anaheim to Vegas, is close to being environmentally cleared for land ac­quisition and development. The final Caltrans-produced EIS (environ­mental impact statement), followed by a month-long review period, was due to be released in late April, 2016. After the Federal Government issues a Record of Decision, usually within a few months of EIS release, land acquisition of the right of way can legally begin.

High Desert Corridor Interactive Map

You can get the latest information, see where the on and off ramps are likely to be located, and see land use and public comments relating to spe­cific points by doing a web search for the HIGH DESERT CORRI­DOR INTERACTIVE MAP. The final alignment, and cost estimates will be announced when the EIS is released, and you can follow prog­ress on the Interactive Map (devel­oped by Arellano and Associates under contract from Metro for HDC EIS Outreach).

High Desert Corridor JPA

The High Desert Corridor (HDC) is a prototype for how to intelligently plan, without “sprawl”, to join two major population centers—and like the olden days—using transporta­tion infrastructure built first—to pro­vide the backbone for planning the best land use for the region. In the High Desert there is an abundance of housing, but residents need to com­mute for hours to jobs far away. To reduce commute times and provide jobs, the HDC affords the opportu­nity for land use planning and in­vestment/development that creates jobs: the goal is increased mobility, a safer alternative that saves half the time and removes trucks from SR 138, and improves the quality of life by spurring jobs along the alignment that enable residents to spend more time at home instead of commuting.

The HDC is locally supported by a two-county coalition of local gov­ernments who govern a Joint Powers Authority to stimulate its develop­ment in order to advance economic development and investment in the Victor and Antelope Valleys. The HDCJPA is chaired by Robert Lovingood, with Vice Chair Michael D. Antonovich and local board representation by Ryan McEachron, Vic­torville; Scott Nassif, Apple Valley; Richard Kerr, Adelanto; and Jim Ledford, Palm­dale.

Financing: The HDC will be developed as a public-private partner­ship (P3), with private investment providing the majority of fund­ing. Because govern­ment funding is also needed, there will need to be a future Oversight Board or JPA (Joint Powers Authority) of some type that will be responsible for contracting out for engineering, land acquisition, and construction/development.

DESCRIPTION: The HDC has four components in one right-of-way (ROW):

  • Highway/expressway between the SR 14 in Palmdale and the I-15 at Falchion Road in Victorville
  • High speed rail tracks to connect rail stations: XpressWest’s station, on the east side of the I-15 where Dale Evans Parkway enters/exits— traveling to the west in the HDC Right of Way to Palmdale’s future California High Speed Rail (CAH­SRA)/Metrolink Station
  • Green corridor to use space not occupied by the highway and rail tracks for solar energy generation to power the trains and an underground transmission line for solar rooftop and solar farm connection to the grid, and;
  • Bikeway between Adelanto and Palmdale

The EIS will environmentally clear 63 miles of highway/expressway, but realistically, the eastern seven miles in Apple Valley will not be included in an initial P3. Private sec­tor financing, combined with public transportation funding, will require the project to be developed in mul­tiple phases, leaving the eastern sev­en miles through Apple Valley for the future. In the Victor Valley, the HDC P3 will travel from US 395 in Adelanto, approximately along Air Expressway through SCLA in Vic­torville to an I-15 interchange at Fal­chion Road, then roughly six miles into Apple Valley, ending near the North Apple Valley Industrial Park.

Financing

Construction costs can be initially reduced by working with the pri­vate sector on plans to build the HDC in phases as funding strategies are devised. For example, develop only two or four lanes of highway-expressway initially-reserving right of way for future widening for lanes needed at a later date.

Yet another possibility for phasing is separating the timelines and con­struction of the highway and rail components to build the rail tracks first if there is private sector fund­ing interest to begin before highway funding is available. Then the right of way (ROW) for the highway can be preserved. The green corridor can be planned and developed even later when the latest technology of the day can be used for operations of trains, lighting, maintenance, thus increas­ing revenue.

Strategies to phase highway or rail development will be determined in the coming year. Full buildout of an eight-lane highway and HSR tracks, and the last non-P3 seven miles is around $8 Billion. Strategies to re­duce costs and to attract private sector funding can make this sum manageable and reduce initial costs by billions. Phasing will be decided by the timing of available public and private financing.

Possible sources of funding are:

  • Tolling the middle section of the highwayn Adelanto
  • Applying a “toll” on passenger ticket sales between Palmdale and Las Vegas, regardless of whether the operator is XpressWest, CAHSRA, Metrolink, or private operators not in existence today
  • TIFIA (highway) or RRIF (rail­road) federal loans and PABS (Pri­vate Activity Bonds) are debt in­struments issued by state or local agencies to construct projects with significant private involvement.
  • EIFDs (Enhanced Infrastruc­ture Development Districts), one surrounding the Palmdale HSR/ Metrolink Station and one surround­ing the XW Station. Modeled some­what after Redevelopment Agencies, state legislation provides new author­ity for lesser tax increment financing of real estate development
  • Cap and Trade Financing: The HSR Tracks are eligible for Cap and Trade funding in their own right and for CAHSR “Connector” expendi­tures in Palmdale
  • Costs will be shared to develop the CAHSR connector ROW and tracks
  • Local 1/2 cent sales taxes. 1) The HDC is named in Measure I as eli­gible for the 1/2 cent sales tax in San Bernardino County, but more likely a new Measure would be considered. 2) In Los Angeles County, the Metro Board is close to placing a Measure R2 for the November 2016 ballot that specifies the Antelope Valley Metrolink Line will have priority for new Metrolink R2 funding, and $170 Million for ROW purchase in the first five years, with authority for ac­celeration through a P3 and funding available in 45 years without a P3. Polling in North Los Angeles County showed 71% public support for using a new 1/2 sales tax to fund the HDC
  • FAST and Freight: New Fed­eral Transportation funding legislated by Congress contains provisions for infrastructure that relieves freight congestion which might be ap­plied to improvements to Metrolink to bring passengers to Palmdale to transfer to High Speed Rail transport by XW to Las Vegas
  • Revenue to be determined from the green corridor energy generation and transmission, electric and natu­ral gas fueling stations, fibre optic and broadband lines, and more.

P3 Revenue Studies Underway

To provide preliminary information to the private sector to gauge their interest, two studies are currently underway:

Highway: Metro has just selected a contractor to perform a study to de­termine the revenue that can be ex­pected from tolling the middle sec­tion of the highway between 100th St. E in Palmdale and US 395 in Adelanto. A previous study by In­fraConsult estimated tolling would provide $4.7 Billion in 2012 dol­lars over 45 years (low forecast); $5.8 Billion (high forecast). Tolls in the mid-section will be adjustable for cars and trucks and attract new business from new trucks traveling from Chicago/Vegas, and Northern/ Central California, and the Ports of Hueneme, LA, and Long Beach to new intermodal facilities at SCLA, and logistics facilities at the Apple Valley Industrial Center, Barstow, and Hesperia.

High Desert Multipurpose Corridor Project

Rail: The High Desert Corridor JPA selected a contractor to perform an investment grade study to assess the volume of rail passengers between Anaheim and Las Vegas and their willingness to pay for HSR to Las Vegas instead of car or plane, as well as interim use (until CAHSR) of Metrolink to get to Palmdale to board an XW car to Las Vegas. The study, which will provide a revenue estimate, will show if the rail com­ponent of the HDC will need any public funding and if so, how much. The study is slated for completion June 30, 2016.

High Desert Corridor Interactive Map: don’t forget to search the web for “High Desert Corridor Inter­active Map” to get specific informa­tion about various locations along the alignment and progress of the EIS.

General Transportation

Transportation Improvements Continue in the High Desert

Published by:

Ranchero Road Interchange

By Joy Sepulveda
Public Information Officer
Caltrans

Since 2012, Caltrans has been actively working to improve the transportation infrastructure in the High Desert. The growth of the region, as well as the result­ing congestion has made improvements a priority for the department. Commut­ers and tourists are using the routes and arterials more and more in their travels. In fact, more than one million vehicles travel through the Devore Interchange each week, which makes it the most significant chokepoint on Interstate 15 (I-15) in San Bernardino County with traffic queues extending south for five miles during the late afternoon/evening rush hour.

While no major projects were complet­ed in 2014, two projects continued full steam to deliver significant changes to the transportation system. In addition, two projects are planned for State Route 58 (SR-58) west of Barstow to provide enhanced connectivity from the High Desert to the Kern County line.

Devore Interchange Project

The I-15/I-215 Devore Interchange Proj­ect, which began in November 2012, will add a truck by-pass lane, add an ad­ditional lane in each direction, bring the interchange up to operational standards, as well as address the arterial highways network deficiencies—specifically the reconnection of Route 66 (Cajon Bou­levard).

To date, the project has achieved several major milestones and is 50% complete. The milestones include:

  • Opening of the new southbound I-15 Kenwood Avenue on and off-ramps
  • Opening of the new Devore Road Bridge
  • Opening of the new I-15 inside lanes south of the I-15/I-215 interchange
  • Completion of 10 of 30 walls
  • Completion/under construction 10 of 17 bridges

With so much work happening at once, the Devore Interchange Project team is committed to providing superior com­munication. To that end, communica­tion and collaboration with emergency responders continues and is considered a high priority. Additionally, construc­tion zone staging is designed to provide access to emergency responders (par­ticularly fire services and CHP). The project team is also committed to pro­viding safe access to motorists traveling through the project area.

Currently, the project is estimated to be complete in late 2016.

I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabili­tation Project

The I-15 Cajon Pass Pavement Rehabil­itation Project began last spring. As a strictly pavement rehabilitation project, it will resurface and restore the pave­ment between Kenwood Avenue and the Hesperia Overhead, which will pro­vide approximately a 40 year life to the pavement through the Cajon Pass.

So far the project has replaced the pave­ment in 13 lane miles on I-15, as well as reconstructed 33 miles of shoulders. Most significant is the completion of the northbound and southbound lanes from SR-138 to Oak Hill.

The project currently has another 28 lane miles to replace and 15 miles of shoulder to reconstruct. It is estimated to be complete in late 2015.

As with the Devore Interchange Proj­ect, communication is key for the Cajon Pass Project team. In addition to com­municating with emergency respond­ers, information is also shared utilizing many formats.

SR-58 Hinkley Expressway Project

Caltrans plans to widen and realign a portion of State Route 58 (SR-58) from a two-lane conventional highway to a four-lane expressway extending from approximately 2.4 miles west of Hidden River Road to approximately 0.7 mile east of Lenwood Road, near the unin­corporated community of Hinkley in San Bernardino County.

The project will include construction of two interchanges on the widened and realigned portion of SR-58; one at Hinkley Road and the other at Lenwood Road. All entrance ramps (westbound and eastbound) will have two lanes at the local road and will transition to a single lane prior to merging onto the expressway. All exit ramps will have three-way stops at the exit ramp inter­sections with the local road. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps will be included.

The project includes access to non-motorized transportation modes (e.g., pedestrian/bikes/equestrian) by provid­ing six foot wide sidewalks, as well as standard eight foot shoulders across the two overcrossing bridges at Lenwood and Hinkley Roads. A short length of the existing SR-58 at the east end of the project is proposed to be realigned to tie in to the Lenwood Road westbound en­trance and exit ramps. The widened and realigned expressway is planned to be on a fill section (elevated sections of a roadway). All locations with large ver­tical surfaces (i.e., retaining walls and bridge structures) will include aesthetic/architectural treatment to prevent graf­fiti.

The project was awarded to Skanska and is expected to begin construction in June 2015.

SR-58 Kramer Junction Project

This project proposes to widen the road­way to accommodate four lanes of ex­pressway on SR-58 in the County of San Bernardino near the Kern County line to miles east of US Highway 395. This project involves the realignment of the roadway and will provide for a grade separation for the railroad crossing. The project will construct new pavement and widen the median, as well as improve geometrics to accommodate the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) trucks.

The purpose of the project is to accom­modate increased volumes of oversized vehicles. The project will reduce traffic congestion, improve traffic safety, re­duce accident rates, improve operation­al efficiency by separating slow-moving vehicles, improve reliability of goods movement, reduce people/goods move­ment conflicts and extend the life of the pavement.

The project is currently in the environ­mental document phase and is estimated to be advertised for bid in December 2016.

The four projects mentioned above will greatly transform the transportation in­frastructure of the High Desert. Caltrans is proud to be able to deliver quality projects that will enhance the lives of the traveling public.

General Transportation

Keeping the High Desert Moving in the Right Direction

Published by:

Ranchero Road Interchange

By Tim Watkins
Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs
San Bernardino Associated Governments

The San Bernardino Associated Govern­ments’ (SANBAG) commitment to the High Desert re­mains strong, as evident by four major transportation improvements that are currently underway. Navigated by the SANBAG Mountain/Desert Commit­tee, a sub-group of the SANBAG Board of Directors, made up of representatives from the municipalities in the Mountain and Desert areas, as well as two County Supervisors, these four projects repre­sent improved mobility, increased ac­cess to the region, better goods move­ment for the economy, and enhanced connectivity of the High Desert.

I-15/Ranchero Road Interchange, Hesperia

After two years of construction, and recovery from a construction-related fire in May of 2014, the Interstate 15 Ranchero Road Interchange, located in Hesperia, has opened to traffic.

Ranchero Road Interchange

Ranchero Road Interchange Concrete Pour

This interchange is part of a series of projects for the Hesperia area. The Ranchero Road Underpass (grade sepa­ration) to the east, combined with future improvements to Ranchero Road, and this new interchange will offer a much-needed alternative for area residents, saving commuters time and money from their daily travels.

The afternoon of May 5, 2014, offered the project team a seemingly devastating blow to progress when a construction-related fire engulfed the falsework that was preparing for the concrete pour of the new bridge. Swift response by San Bernardino County Fire, the contractor, and agencies like Caltrans and SAN­BAG, enabled the team to get traffic flowing on Interstate 15 again in about 24 hours. Good planning and coordina­tion moving forward allowed the team to get back on track to rebuilding the damaged area and, ultimately, deliver­ing this highly anticipated interchange in February, just four months from the original target date of completion.

This $59 million project adds a new bridge over I-15, provides congestion relief for the interstate and Main Street, improves drainage, and enhances safe­ty.

I-15/I-215 Devore Interchange Project, Cajon Pass

One of the more significant projects for the future of commuters through the Cajon Pass is the $324 million Devore Interchange Project that began in June 2013. SANBAG and Caltrans have partnered to deliver this innovative De­sign-Build Project that will reconfigure the relationship between Interstate 15 and Interstate 215, add additional lanes between the junction and State Route 138, introduce truck by-pass lanes, and reconnect old Route 66.

Devore Interchange

I 15-215 Devore Interchange Project

The Devore Interchange is one of the worst grade-related bottlenecks in the nation. Severe delays, with up to five mile traffic queues, are common for the more than one million vehicles travel­ing through the corridor each week. The Devore Interchange Project has been developed to reduce congestion, reduce accidents and improve freeway opera­tion.

For regular updates on the project, please visit the project site at www.de­voreinterchangeproject.com; or call the helpline at 855.415.4215.

Lenwood Road Grade Separation, Barstow

Lenwood Road is a major truck traffic connector route between I-15 and State Route 58 to the north of the Mojave River. SR 58 carries significant levels of truck traffic from central California through to I-15. This project is con­structing a grade separated crossing along Lenwood Road over the existing BNSF tracks. These improvements in­clude the widening of Lenwood Road from two lanes to four lanes between Main Street and Jasper Road.

Lenwood Road Grad Separation

Lenwood Road Grad Separation

Lenwood Road currently carries approximately 4,200 vehicles per day, including a high percentage of heavy trucks serv­ing commercial, light industrial and residential develop­ments. The prima­ry objective of this project is to improve operation and safety by ensuring prompt emergency response time to businesses and residents while eliminating the haz­ards and inefficiencies of trains passing through the flow of vehicular traffic. As a result, impacts to air quality are re­duced by eliminating the volume of idling vehicles.

Work is expected to be complete in the summer of 2015.

Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River, Apple Valley

Construction of the Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River, which also in­cludes improvements on Yates Road, started in January 2014. The bridge will connect Apple Valley on the east side of the river to Victor­ville on the west side. Ultimately, this corridor will provide easier access to the I-15/LaMesa-Nisqualli Interchange in Victorville that was opened to traffic in 2013.

The project team will build the Yucca Loma Bridge, widen Yates Road from two lanes to four lanes, install a new traffic signal at Park Road, and con­struct new soundwalls on the south side of Yates Road. The new bridge will also feature facilities such as Class II bike lanes, barrier protected sidewalk on the north side, and a barrier protected Class I path on the south side.

The total construction cost is estimated at $37.3 million. The project received funding from Measure I (the San Ber­nardino County ½ cent sales tax for transportation improvements), Town of Apple Valley funds, State Local Trans­portation Partnership Funds and Propo­sition 1B funds.

General Transportation

Bear Valley Road Bike Path to the Victor Valley College

Published by:

By Kathie Martin
Marketing & Public Affairs Officer
Town of Apple Valley

At their February 11, 2014 Board meeting, the Victor Valley College (VVC) Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding between VVC and the Town of Apple Valley for the construction of a new Class 1 Bike Path that will connect the Town to the upper campus.

The Town of Apple Valley will be the lead agency for the bike path project, which starts in Apple Valley and continues east to VVC along the north side of Bear Valley Road. The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) Board allocated to the Town of Apple Valley $386,370 from Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds for the construction. The Town is providing matching funds of 20%.

The project has three segments: 1. From Reata Road to Jess Ranch Parkway, 2. From the Bear Valley Road Bridge to Mojave Fish Hatchery Road, and, 3. From Mojave Fish Hatchery Road to the Campus. The Town is working with Hall and Foreman, Inc., the design engineering company, to finalize the construction drawings. It is anticipated that construction will start later this year.

The new bike lane will provide a continuous route of access from Apple Valley Road to Victor Valley College, providing better bicycle access to students living in Apple Valley. It also improves travel conditions for bike riders coming from Victorville to visit the many shops and restaurants located at the Apple Valley/Bear Valley Road intersection. Coupled with the construction of the Yucca Loma Bridge 3 miles to the north, which also includes a Class 1 bike lane, citizens on both sides of the Mojave River will find travel options greatly expanded over the next two years.

General Transportation

Caltrans Transforms the High Desert Transportation Infrastructure

Published by:

By Joy Sepulveda
Public Information Officer
Caltrans

Most of Interstate 15 is currently undergoing major improvements from Devore to the Nevada state line. As the High Desert areas surrounding I-15 continue to boom with growth and more and more motorists use the corridor to travel to vacation destinations to both the north and south, it has become necessary to improve the transportation system.

There are several major projects that have broken ground in the last year that aim to transform the infrastructure and operational efficiency of Interstate 15 through the High Desert.

Devore Interchange Project

The I-15/I-215 Interchange in Devore is a heavily traveled interchange due to goods movement, recreational vehicles and commuters. Travel through the Cajon Pass is one of only three routes into and out of Southern California. In addition to being a primary goods movement corridor of national significance, it is the route to vacation destinations such as Las Vegas and the Colorado River, to name a few.

As one of the worst grade-related bottlenecks in the United States, The Devore Interchange Project was initiated to address the issues of this highly traveled interchange.

The project was awarded to Atkinson Contractors, LP of Foothill Ranch, Calif. in November 2012. The purpose of the project is to reduce congestion and accidents and improve freeway operation through the interchange.

The $324 million dollar design/build project will add truck by-pass lanes, which will improve traffic flow and reduce delays; add lanes, which will reduce congestion because it will eliminate the need to make multiple lane changes; bring the interchange up to operational standards, improving the road conditions so that they are in a “state of good repair.” The existing design causes passenger vehicles, freight trucks and RVs to weave to their desired lanes at the same time traffic is exiting and entering local interchanges, which causes higher than average accident rates. Local interchanges will be reconfigured to provide a safer drive, and reconnect State Route 66 (Cajon Boulevard) from just north of the I-15/I-215 interchange to just south of the same interchange.

The project is estimated to be completed in 2016.

I-15 Cajon Pass Project

The second design/build project on I-15, the Cajon Pass Project, which will begin this spring, will resurface and restore the pavement between Kenwood Avenue and the Hesperia Overhead. The project is needed because all of the high volumes of traffic traveling in this area have caused the pavement to deteriorate and settle.

The $120 million project was awarded to Coffman/Parsons: A Joint Venture. It will replace the two outer lanes, grind and replace random slabs in the interior lanes, rehabilitate ramps within the project limits, and upgrade and install roadside safety features.

The project is expected to be completed in summer 2016.

Clyde V. Kane Roadside Rest Area Rehabilitation Project

The existing facilities of the Clyde V. Kane Roadside Rest Area, located on I-15 30 miles east of Barstow, are unable to keep up with user demands in terms of facilities and parking capacity. A project to upgrade the facility was awarded in December 2013.

The work includes installation of new comfort stations, walkways; upgrading water, electrical and sewer systems; expanding parking lots and traveler amenities. The project will provide onsite drainage improvements and new picnic shelters, as well as pet recreation facilities. Also, this project will accommodate increased traffic and will improve public safety.

The project was awarded to RSM2 Contractors, Inc. of La Mesa, Calif. and is expected to be completed September 2015.

SR-58 via Hinkley Widening Project

This project involves the realigning and widening of State Route 58 (SR-58) from two to four lanes and upgrading the highway to an expressway near the community of Hinkley in the County of San Bernardino from west of Hidden River Road to east of Lenwood Road. The project will also add a mixed-flow lane in each direction and include shoulder construction, drainage improvements and median widening.

The project will eliminate the existing gap between the adjacent four-lane roadways. It will also address the need to safely accommodate increased large truck and recreational vehicle traffic, as well as reduce unnecessary delays to the traveling public. Additional benefits of the project include: reduce traffic congestion, improve traffic safety, improve operational efficiency, improve the reliability of goods and movement, and reduce people/goods movement conflicts, as well as extend the life of the pavement.

The project will be ready to list for bid this May and is set to begin construction by the end of 2014.

Caltrans is extremely proud to be able to bring such revolutionary and innovative projects to the High Desert. The Department has heeded the call for infrastructure improvement through the area and is looking forward to building partnerships to ensure that the I-15 corridor continues to shine statewide.

General Transportation

Update-SANBAG High Desert Transportation Projects

Published by:

By Jane Dreher
Public Information Officer
San Bernardino Associated Governments

San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) is the Council of Governments and transportation agency for San Bernardino County. The SANBAG Mountain Desert Committee is composed of representatives from all Mountain and Desert cities. They evaluate projects in the High Desert, Mountains, Morongo Basin, and Colorado River regions. This edition of SANBAG’s update will focus on these High Desert projects:

  • I-15/LaMesa-Nisqualli Road Interchange Project, Victorville
  • I-15/Ranchero Road Interchange Project, Hesperia
  • I-15/I-215 Devore Junction Interchange Project, Devore
  • Yucca Loma Bridge, Apple Valley and Victorville
  • Lenwood Road Grade Separation, Barstow

I-15/LaMesa-Nisqualli Road Interchange, Victorville

The Interstate 15 LaMesa-Nisqualli Interchange Project located in Victorville between Bear Valley Road and Palmdale Road was completed in August 2013. The total cost of the project, including engineering, environmental studies, right-of-way acquisition, and construction was $70 million. LaMesa and Nisqualli Roads are expected to relieve the heavy burden of traffic that has existed for years on Bear Valley Road and Palmdale Road.

The project was in the planning stages since 1990. SANBAG, in conjunction with the City of Victorville, came up with an innovative funding plan to finance the project that included a combination of Federal, State, Measure I (the county’s ½ cent sales tax measure for transportation improvements) and City of Victorville funds. The project received $16.2 million from the State Proposition 1B fund through its Corridor Mobility Improvement Account.

The interchange improves local circulation, enhances safety, relieves I-15 congestion, and improves the quality of life for area residents.

I-15/Ranchero Road Interchange, Hesperia

The Interstate 15 Ranchero Road Interchange, located in Hesperia, started construction in January 2013.

This $59 million project will add a new bridge over I-15, provide congestion relief for I-15 and Main Street, improve drainage, and enhance safety. It is scheduled for completion in early 2015.

This interchange is part of a series of projects for the Hesperia area. The Ranchero Road Underpass (grade separation) to the east combined with future improvements to Ranchero Road and this new interchange, will offer a much-needed alternative for area residents, saving commuters time and money in their daily travels.

This aerial photo was taken in June 2013. The framework for the bridge is now constructed over the I-15 Freeway and signs of the completed interchange are starting to become more visible

I-15/I-215 Devore Interchange Project

Construction on the $324 million Devore Interchange Project began in June 2013. The project is being constructed through a “Design-Build” process. Caltrans is the lead on the project.

Construction crews are currently conducting nighttime activities which necessitate occasional connector, ramp and alternating lane closures for the safety of the public and workers. Closure restrictions are lifted each day so motorists can travel at peak daytime traffic times. Some graded areas on both sides of the freeway are visible.

Elected officials and representatives from State and Federal agencies gathered for a photo at the groundbreaking ceremony in late June. A western theme was used to depict the days when covered wagons and pioneers trekked across the Cajon Pass.

Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River

Construction of the Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River, which also includes improvements on Yates Road, started in January 2014. The bridge will connect Apple Valley on the east side of the river to Victorville on the west side. Ultimately, this corridor will provide easier access to the I-15/LaMesa-Nisqualli Interchange in Victorville.

The Yucca Loma Bridge is of regional importance in the High Desert as it is midway between the two existing Mojave River crossings at Highway 18 and Bear Valley Road. This project is Phase 1 of the three-phase Yucca Loma Corridor Project that includes Yucca Loma Road/Yates Road/Green Tree Boulevard. The project was designed to provide another east/west connection in the region.

Phase 1 includes building the Yucca Loma Bridge and widening Yates Road from two to four lanes. The new bridge will feature Class II bikeways and improvements to the regional drainage system.

The total construction cost is $37.3 million. The project received funding from Measure I (the San Bernardino County ½ cent sales tax for transportation improvements), Redevelopment Agency Funds, State Local Transportation Partnership Funds and Proposition 1B funds. To qualify for congestion relief funds, the bridge is required to not only get motorists across the river but eventually provide a direct route to I-15.

MAP: The map below outlines all three phases of the project.

  • Phase I includes construction of the Yucca Loma Bridge and improvements on Yates Road.
  • Phase 2 involves widening of Yucca Loma Road on the east side of the bridge. It is in the design stage and should go to construction in the summer of 2015.
  • Phase 3 is the Green Tree Road Extension with a bridge constructed over the BNSF railroad tracks. It is in the design stage and should go to construction in 2016.

Lenwood Road Grade Separation, Barstow

Construction on the Lenwood Road Grade Separation project in Barstow began in March 2014. The Lenwood Grade Separation Project was developed in response to commercial and industrial development in the area. A grade separated crossing along Lenwood Road is being constructed over the existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks, allowing the uninterrupted flow of both vehicular and freight rail traffic.

The primary objective of this project is to improve operation and safety by ensuring prompt emergency response time to businesses and residents while eliminating the hazards and inefficiencies of trains passing through the flow of vehicular traffic.

The City of Barstow and the County initiated this project in 2007. After the environmental studies were completed in 2010, the City and County requested that SANBAG take the lead to manage the final design and project development, and to secure funding.

SANBAG combined funding sources from the City of Barstow, the County of San Bernardino, Federal and State, BNSF Railroad, and Measure I, the ½ cent sales tax approved by voters in San Bernardino County for transportation improvements.

The total project cost is $31 million, which includes:

  • $13.7 million in Federal funds
  • $8.3 million from State Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Funds
  • $3.5 million from Victor Valley Major Local Highway Measure I bond funds
  • $2.5 million from the County
  • $2 million from the City of Barstow
  • $1 million from BNSF Railroad
General Transportation

High Desert Corridor-Spring 2013

Published by:

By Robert Lovingood
First District Supervisor
County of San Bernardino

Of the duties of the 1st District Supervisor in San Bernardino County, one of the most important responsibilities for the economic future of the High Desert is to co-lead the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority (JPA) —a two county special authority (LA and San Bernardino) created in 2007 to jump start the planning and construction of the High Desert Corridor, by creating the state’s first Public Private Partnership (P3).

When the JPA began, environmental planning of a highway east of the US Hwy. 395 in Adelanto it was already underway, ending at SR 14 in the Lucerne Valley. A separate Caltrans highway widening project existed within Palmdale City Limits. Both were called the “High Desert Corridor Project.” There was no middle connector of the projects. Please see map below.

Without traditional gas tax funding available, the JPA jolted the project to life using an international financing model where private sector financing, backed by user fees, would be used as the primary source of construction, operation, and maintenance funding. In the USA, this model is known as a Public Private Partnership (P3).

To succeed as a P3, we need to plan and finance the middle connector betweenAdelanto and Palmdale, so that the P3 extends from the area surrounding a new highway interchange with the I-15 at Falschion Rd. Financing would also emanate from simultaneous construction of rail and green energy components—more info below.

This eastern terminus of the HDC P3 project is in very close proximity to the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) and Apple Valley Industrial Park, both already operating with master planned logistics facilities. Logistics facility plans in Adelanto and Hesperia and even Barstow will benefit from the critical new access the HDC will bring. And importantly, post-construction, sustainable logistics and jobs will be stimulated, at the same time reducing the need for commuting down the hill.

Environmental Document Drafting Underway, Completion In December 2014

Voters in Los Angeles County passed a November 2009 ballot measure naming the High Desert Corridor environmental work among projects to receive funds. About the same time the two-county HDC JPA project was ranked near the top of potential P3 projects at the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Subsequently, in May 2010, with talented Metro executives willing to take on management, coordinate with SANBAG, and combine Metro’s P3 consultant’s analysis, the HDC JPA orchestrated regional consensus for Metro to lead the HDC project’s environmental work under CEQA and NEPA– to cojoin the existing environmental work underway in the Victor Valley, and the JPA’s P3 plans, with the Caltrans work underway in Palmdale. The Draft EIS/R is on schedule for release in the winter of 2014, the final document in December 2014.

Rail And Green Energy Corridor Added To HDC Project EIS/R

In 2009, the JPA had formed an alliance with XpressWest (XW) to collaborate our Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (DEIS/R) with an extension to XpressWest westward—so XpressWest could first build a segment from Vegas to Victorville, then turn westward to the Palmdale Transportation Center on tracks within the HDC.

Incorporation of a rail connection of the XW Station and the Palmdale Transportation Center Metrolink Station is now included in the Metro/ Caltrans EIS/R alternatives analysis, as part of the HDC DEIS/R.

That allows for a future connection between XW in Las Vegas and Los Angeles Union Station, and access to Metrolink for Victor Valley residents. Solar power generated in the right of way for electric powered rail was endorsed in concept, to make the rail and highway components energy independent and self-reliant.

The Two-County Environmental Document (DEIS/R) Managed By Metro

The HDC DEIS/R with rail connectivityto XpressWest and Metrolink, a Green Corridor and a Bikeway was officially dubbed a “Multipurpose Corridor.” This incorporated rail and right-of-way for green energy purposes into the EIS/R by Metro in March of 2012.

Strategic Multipurpose Corridor Components

  • Highway/Expressway (including tolling in the middle section between US 395 and 100th St. in Palmdale)
  • Green Energy (solar production and/ or transmission facility with connections for other renewable energy sources to be connected to the grid)
  • Feeder High Speed Rail (HSR) (connector service tracks from the private sector XW station in Victorville to the PalmdaleTransportation Center)
  • Bikeway ( Route has been included for further analysis)

The purpose of the EIS/R, started by Metro in September 2010, is to study alternatives that improve east-west capacity, safety, goods movement, connectivity to airports, and rail while also contributing to the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

We are fortunate to have Metro and its dynamic staff and Caltrans District 7 taking the lead on this two county effort, and working with SANBAG, the JPA, and the cities along the way. The HDC EIS/R Project Team, led by Robert Machuca of Metro and Karl Price of Caltrans District 7, is currently conducting technical studies on highway and rail alternatives. A Draft EIS/R document is on schedule to be circulated in the spring of 2014, and a final document completed late in 2014.

*July Public Meetings*

Four public meetings are being scheduled for July for the HDC Multipurpose Corridor including two each in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. In addition, a live webcast will be provided at one of the meetings in each county.

Dates and places are in the box on page 12, notification of the meetings will be sent out closer to the meeting dates, but stakeholders are encouraged to visit the project website to obtain the latest project information and also to use the GeoSocial Interactive Map that has been created for this project.

This interactive map tool allows users to dynamically interface with project cities, alignments, and other features to get information and also geo-code comments on the map that can also be shared by social media.

*You can visit the project website at www.metro.net/hdc

I invite you to check it often.