About 250 people turned out on Friday, January 10 for the Town of Apple Valley’s groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Yucca Loma Bridge project. The large turn-out wasn’t surprising, considering how long the community has been waiting for the bridge to be built. Construction of the first phase is scheduled to begin at the end of Yucca Loma Road on February 10.
Apple Valley Mayor Art Bishop hailed the project as a much-needed relief for traffic on Bear Valley Road and Highway 18, pointing out that 56,000 cars a day travel on Bear Valley. He also said he felt honored to be where every mayor in the past 25 years has wished they could be standing during this moment in history.
First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood stated that the county is one hundred percent behind the project and is committed to seeing the project all the way through to the connection to Interstate 15. He pointed out some of the benefits of having another thoroughfare, which will allow better movement of traffic, and also increase safety.
The bridge has officially be part of regional transportation plans since 1968. The Town Council adopted the bridge as their number one transportation priority in February 2006. The official name of the project is the Yucca Loma Bridge over the Mojave River and Yates Road Improvement Project, and is the first phase of a larger corridor project that will connect to Hesperia Road at Green Tree Blvd.
The Town of Apple Valley, City of Victorville and San Bernardino County have been working together on the project, as the bridge encompasses land in both cities and the county.
When completed, the Yucca Loma bridge will be 1606 feet long (twice the length of the Bear Valley Road Bridge), and almost 100 feet wide. It will have two east-bound and two-westbound lanes, plus barrier-protected bike path, sidewalk, and two standard bike lanes.
The first phase of construction will build the bridge, and construct a six-foot tall by 10-foot wide concrete culvert to serve a future regional drainage system being constructed under Yucca Loma Road (as part of phase two).
The widening of existing Yucca Loma Road is anticipated to start in Summer 2015. The existing Green Tree Blvd will be extended and will connect to the bridge via a proposed bridge over the BNSF railroad tracts, with an anticipated start date in Spring 2016.
Other aspects of the project including widening Yucca Loma Road to two lanes in each direction, widening Yates Road in Victorville to four lanes, two in each direction plus bike lanes on each side of the road. A Class I bike path is planned as part of the future Mojave Riverwalk Project.
The project will also include the widening of Yates Road, The decomposed granite trail on the south side of Yates Road will be preserved. A new traffic signal will be put in at the existing Mojave Narrows Regional Park Entrance.
Key players in the project including Dokken Engineering, which designed the bridge and handled the environmental clearances, Parsons Engineering for construction management, and Security Paving acting as general contractor for the project.
Some of the funding for the project includes $16 million from SANBAG Measure I, and 1B funding.
Many veterans were in attendance, and Hugh Kidd spoke to the crowd regarding naming the structure the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The entire Apple Valley Town Council, County Supervisor Robert Lovingood, members of the design and construction companies, and several other local dignitaries donned hard hats and threw shovels of dirt to demonstrate the groundbreaking for the bridge.
Go to the Town of Apple Valley website www.applevalley.org, and click on Project Updates.
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