By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– Decades of planning and more than three years of construction will make a long-awaited vision a reality when the Town of Apple Valley holds its grand opening celebration for the Yucca Loma Bridge with events on May 19 and 20.
“I know there are people who never thought they would see the day, but as we’ve been saying, ‘Seeing is believing!’” said Mayor Scott Nassif.
The festivities will begin on Friday at 11 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the east end of the bridge. After a brief ceremony and recognition of key players in the project, the mayor and Town Council members will cut the ribbon and lead a small procession of classic cars on the first official drive.
Students from Rio Vista School for Applied Learning will also play a part in the ceremony. They have watched the bridge construction from the vantage point of their school, and adapted to changing parent pick-up patterns. A school choir will sing the National Anthem, and students will carry a banner at the front of the parade of cars.
On Saturday, May 20, the celebration continues with a “Walk and Roll” Bridge Bash from 10 a.m. to noon. This event will feature free hot dogs and shaved ice, music, and an informal walk/ride over the bridge before it opens to traffic on Monday. Registration for the “walk and roll” opens at 9:45 and the first 750 participants will get a free event t-shirt.
Appearing on San Bernardino County circulation plans since as early as the 1960s, the bridge was identified as the Town’s number one transportation priority in 2006, to relieve traffic on Apple Valley Road and its intersections at Bear Valley and Highway 18. The ground breaking was in January 2014. Measuring 1,606 feet, or three tenths of a mile, it is the longest bridge in the High Desert. It includes two lanes in each direction, barrier-protected pedestrian and bike paths, and Class II bike lanes on each side.
The second phase of the project was the widening of Yucca Loma Road from Apple Valley Road to the beginning of the bridge. This phase increased the road from two lanes to four from Kasanka Trail to Apple Valley Road. Additionally, it added a new regional drainage facility, sound walls in selected locations, sidewalks on the north side of the street and a Class I pedestrian/bicycle path on the south. A new traffic signal was installed at the intersection of Havasu Road and Yucca Loma Road and an emergency signal was installed at the fire station.
When the project opens to traffic about 9 a.m. on the morning of May 22, travelers will be able to drive from Apple Valley Road, across the Mojave River, past Mojave Narrows Regional Park along Yates Road and connect with Ridgecrest Road.
The City of Victorville is planning the third phase of the project that will extend Yates Road over the BNSF Railroad to Green Tree Boulevard at Hesperia Road.
Both events are free and open to the public. For more information please call (760) 240-7000, x 7074 or visit www.AppleValley.org.