Mitzelfelt calls for expedited funding, construction
(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors today approved an agreement with the City of Hesperia to widen a five-mile stretch of Ranchero Road in Hesperia. The segment to be widened will connect four lanes between the proposed I-15 Ranchero interchange to the proposed Ranchero Road railroad underpass, forming what has been referred to as the Ranchero Corridor, a new east-west route that would traverse southern Hesperia.
“One of my first actions as Supervisor was to convene a meeting with the City of Hesperia to help determine how we could expedite construction of the Ranchero Corridor,” said County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who represents the area. “Since then, and with this agreement, we are moving closer to completing this much-needed corridor sooner than previously planned.”
Seeing a similar need for forward planning, Mitzelfelt convened regular meetings of the Town of Apple Valley, the County, SANBAG and the City of Victorville to expedite planning for the Yucca Loma corridor expansion. It has succeeded in expediting the funding for construction. Mitzelfelt said a similar effort may be needed with this project at this time.
The staff recommendation presented to supervisors projected that funding for construction of the project would come from Measure I revenue, generated by a half-cent sales tax. However, revenue in that account is not anticipated to reach the level necessary to fund the project for more than five years. Seeking to avoid the specter of two major regional transportation improvements connected by a two-lane rural road, Mitzelfelt modified the staff recommendation, calling for expediting construction of the project by financing construction with other transportation revenues, which could later be reimbursed by Measure I funds. “When I saw the staff report predicted funding availability in five to ten years, I said no way; We will build it sooner,” Mitzelfelt said. He noted, as just one possible example, the potential to use funds previously committed to the Nisqualli/La Mesa interchange in Victorville, which were made available after $21 million in funds for Nisqualli had been secured by SANBAG from the California Transportation Commission last Thursday.
The action taken by Supervisors formalizes an agreement between the County and City to jointly fund the cost of the plans, specifications, estimates, and environmental documentation for the project, which is estimated to cost $1,154,156. Planning and environmental work for the project is expected to be completed by February 2012. Once environmental approvals are granted, right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation can commence, which may take up to one year. Mitzelfelt said he wants construction, which will widen Ranchero Road between Coriander Drive and 7th Avenue, to begin by spring of 2013.
Construction costs for the road widening project are estimated to be more than $15.7 million, of which the County’s share is $4.65. Hesperia’s share is expected to be $4.65 million and SANBAG is expected to contribute $6.4 million.