Positive: Nisqualli Interchange Project Gets Through Big Hurdle.

By Ashka Patel

High Desert Daily

(Victorville)–The residents of Victorville  might be alleviating themselves from the
heavy traffic they face on Bear Valley  Road. The City Of Victorville definitely
an alternate route to have traffic flow  efficiently. The project got initial
approval from the SANBAG Mountain Desert Committee for the  construction of a bridge over Interstate 15 connecting La Mesa and Nisqualli  roads, a project that’s been in the works for more than two decades to alleviate  traffic on Bear Valley Road The northbound exit and entrance ramps will connect  with Nisqualli Road. The southbound exit and entrance ramps will connect with  Amargosa Road. The new  bridge will have 3 through lanes in each direction with  double left turn lanes.

Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron stated ”
Getting a unanimous vote from SANBAG  represents a huge step to seeing the
Nisqualli interchange become a reality.”

Not only will this bridge alleviate traffic but will also create  hundreds
of jobs for local residents. Mayor Ryan McEachron also stated, “We also
expect that it will generate economic development and create additional jobs
around the project. There were some questions and concerns but in the end we
had  a unanimous vote for SANBAG to build the project. Handing the project
over to  them was the right thing to do and the only way I believe that the
project could  move forward.”

Primarily this project is needed to relieve traffic congestion on two
east-west routes, Bear Valley Road and Highway 18.  It will also provide  much
needed access between the Bear Valley Road and Palmdale Road interchanges.
With the population increase, the traffic demands have grown with it almost
proportionately. There has been a decrease in traffic with the economic
downturn, but eventually the traffic volumes will increase again. This
underscores the need for the interchange.

SANBAG estimated an immediate direct creation of 650 jobs and an indirect
creation of 1,625 jobs. Over 70 percent of the direct and indirect jobs
created  as a result of the project will be in the construction, manufacturing,
wholesale  trade, and retail trade fields, providing additional employment
opportunities  for low-income workers.

The city of Victorville and it’s Council Members have  worked diligently to
get this project passed. There were several crucial  steps and important
planning involved such as  48 parcels that  were  (permanent property takes),
permanent easements or temporary  easements from. The relocation of some
homes and six businesses, two billboards  that required removal. The city had
to take property from the County  Flood Control District.

The Engineering Department for City of Victorville was delegated  the
authority from Caltrans to Advertise, Award and Administer the construction  for
this project. We estimate that this will allow us to start construction
earlier and potentially save construction dollars in the millions.

City Officials and Local residents might have anticipated longer than
expected but on the positive side  construction costs will be far less in  the
coming years, due to the economic situation of the country, which  be of
advantage for the project.

After a construction contract has been awarded, but before the start of
construction, the City will hold a public meeting with residents and
businesses.  Construction staging and detour routes have been planned to minimize the
disruption to residents and businesses. City staff and the contractor will
explain the plans, be open to concerns and comments and address them.

The project will also be beneficial for local land values and future
development along the I-15 freeway. The New Freeway exit will be an additional
exit where travelers from the I-15 freeway can exit for dining, lodging, and
gas. This will attract for developers into the area and boost our local
economy  by creating jobs.  According to Joseph W. Brady, President Bradco
Companies  stated, ” We expect that you may see another hotel, a few additional
restaurants  in the next few years, but prudent developers and end users can
only spend a  certain amount on land or rent and then the development deal
does not make  sense. The speculation of land and the interchange is similar
to what we see in  the stock market everyday. The market and those heavily
involved in the stock  market typically have anticipated an event and the
market is the indicator of  that. Very similar to the land business.”

If everything goes as  planned High Desert Residents and Out of town
travelers can utilize the new  project by Fall of 2003. The City of Victorville
hopes to ground break within 6  months.

SANBAG INFORMATION

The mayors and city council  members of the 24 cities and the five members
of the Board of Supervisors within  San Bernardino County govern SANBAG. The
organization is unique among councils  of governments and transportation
commissions in California and is viewed by  many as the model for integrated
planning. Local governments within San  Bernardino County find value in the
monthly forum of city and county  representatives who address issues of
mutual concern with a unified voice.
As  the Inland Empire continues to grow, so does the need for efficient
freeway  systems, connecting roads, and interchanges. SANBAG provides funding
and manages  the construction of these transportation projects throughout San
Bernardino  County. Funding for these projects is provided by a number of
sources, including  local, state and federal. Local funds are derived from
Measure I, San Bernardino  County’s half-cent transportation sales tax that
was passed in  1989.

MEASURE I
Measure I is the half-cent sales tax collected  throughout San Bernardino
County for transportation improvements. San Bernardino  County voters first
approved the measure in November 1989 to ensure that needed  transportation
projects were implemented countywide through 2010. In 2004, San  Bernardino
County voters overwhelmingly approved the extension of the Measure I  sales
tax, with 80.03% voting to extend the measure through 2040. SANBAG
administers Measure I revenue and is responsible for determining which projects
receive Measure I funding, and ensuring that transportation projects are
implemented. Measure I funds are allocated based on a strategic plan.

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