(Victor Valley)–The California Department of Transportation and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) will host a public meeting this month to present the results of the Draft Environmental Document for the Interstate 15/Interstate 215 Interchange Improvements Project in Devore.
The public meeting will be held Monday, June 20 from 4:30 pm to 7 pm at Kimbark Elementary School, 18021 Kenwood Avenue, in the Devore area.
Caltrans and SANBAG have been studying the proposed addition of one northbound lane and one southbound lane on Interstate 15 between Kenwood Avenue and Interstate 215. The project also proposes to improve vehicle merging operations, add truck bypass lanes and connect local roadways, including reconnecting historic Route 66 to Cajon Boulevard.
“The Devore interchange is the worst grade-related traffic bottleneck on Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County,” said SANBAG President Brad Mitzelfelt. “SANBAG and Caltrans have examined a range of design alternatives with the goal of improving traffic circulation and relieving traffic jams that occur from commuters, recreational travelers and trucking operations.”
Traffic volumes are projected to increase dramatically in the coming years, according to traffic studies. More than one million vehicles travel each week through the Devore interchange. This number is expected to grow to 379,000 per day by 2040. While current delays cost motorists about $3.75 million per year, delay costs are forecast to jump to more than $80 million per year in 2040.
Engineering studies conducted for the Draft Environmental Document included current and future
traffic conditions, highway capacity and traffic weaving analysis, drainage, seismic conditions, hazardous materials, public services and utilities, and cost estimates.
Environmental studies also were conducted to assess how the project may affect private properties, cultural and historic properties, sensitive plants and wildlife, air quality, water quality and noise levels.
The interchange improvements are intended to relieve traffic congestion, enhance safety and improve the flow of goods along this national freight corridor. Improvements will be compatible with future plans to widen Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass.
The June 20 meeting will be held in an “open house” format with no formal presentation. Residents, business owners, commuters and other interested parties can attend the meeting to view maps and exhibits of four different build alternatives, talk to project planners and provide written comments about the project. Comments must be received by July 7 and can be received via email or by U.S. mail, as follows:
- Via email: D8_15email@example.com
- Via U.S. mail: James Shankel, Senior Environmental Planner, Branch Chief – Environmental
Studies, California Department of Transportation, District 8, 464 W. 4th Street, MS 827, San Bernardino, CA 92401-1400
Once environmental approvals are received in approximately early 2012, Caltrans will begin purchasing property needed for the project in approximately mid-2012. Caltrans will then award a design-build contract in fall 2012, and project design and construction are anticipated to start in late 2012 and last until 2016.