Story and Photo by Gary George…
While Yucca Loma Bridge construction started on February 10, lack of funding may keep traffic from going more directly to Interstate 15 until as late as 2024.
The bridge crossing the Mojave River from Apple Valley Road will be over 1600 feet long and have four lanes of traffic. It will take traffic to the north side of Spring Valley Lake on Yates Road and then to Ridgecrest Road. Until Victorville can get funding for the bridge that will take traffic from Yates to Greentree Boulevard, cars will continue to Bear Valley Road via Ridgecrest Rd.
“The reality is we’re going to have some traffic disruptions before this is finished,” said First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood.
Victorville and Apple Valley officials and engineers met with the public on February 12 in the SVL Community Building and were unanimous in their enthusiasm that an east-west corridor to the highway had started.
“It is sorely needed,” said SVL President Jeff Morgan.
The large meeting room was nearly full of citizens, mostly from SVL, who were concerned primarily about traffic noise and cars cutting through SVL streets looking for shortcuts.
Approximately 100 houses on SVL’s north side will get a soundwall, the top five feet which will be made of glass panels to preserve homeowners’ views. In addition, rubberized asphalt will be used as a sound deadener.
Apple Valley Town Engineer Brad Miller said that Ridgecrest could handle up to 46,000 cars a day but he estimated that only 6,000 would come over the Yucca Loma Bridge in order to make a right (west) on Bear Valley Road.
“It won’t be that loud and should be a tolerable condition,” Miller said.
Some feel differently. “If the bridge is built, don’t open it until the rest is done so that the residents of Spring Valley Lake aren’t inconvenienced by an unfinished project,” said Eric Pearson.
The plans for this route have been in place since the early 1970’s.
“This has been 41 years in the making. We always knew this road would be here. Spring Valley Lake residents have to write letters of support to ensure funds are granted by the feds,” said Victorville Mayor Jim Cox.
It was suggested by Apple Valley Mayor Art Bishop that letters be sent to Rep. Paul Cook R-Apple Valley or directly to the Town of Apple Valley which would forward them.
Victorville is still over $6 million short of funding the bridge over the BNSF railroad tracks from Ridgcrest Road to Greentree Boulevard. The city still owes approximately $12 for the La Mesa/Nisqualli interchange.
Some think that the Victorville project should not guide Apple Valley and SVL traffic to Greentree Boulevard.
“Nobody wants 20,000 cars going down Greentree. My goal is to get everyone going up Nisqualli Road,” said former Victorville Mayor Mike Rothschild.
Mayor Cox later agreed, saying that Nisqualli Road was the desired route to the highway from Victorville’s future bridge. “Victorville has a grant to address that desire somewhere in the future but all routes are open for discussion,” Cox said.
FACTS REGARDING THE YUCCA LOMA BRIDGE:
1. Yucca Loma Bridge: 2 years to contruct and cost $37.3 million.
2. The bridge will be four lanes and can be expanded to six lanes.
3. The new soundwall on SVL’s north side will be built outside of existing walls.
4. The bridge will have bike lanes on the south side and a sidewalk on the north side.
5. Yucca Loma Road will be widened from 2 to 4 lanes; new traffic signals will be placed at Park, Havasu and Yucca Loma Roads.
6. Yates Road cannot be lowered due to excessive cost and flooding concerns.
7. The bridge over the railroad tracks will have pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
8. The total traffic at Ridgecrest and Bear Valley Roads will not see a net increase. The vehicles coming up Ridgecrest from Yates and Yucca Loma Bridge will be simply be Bear Valley Road users accessing it via a new route.
9. Bear Valley Road may see less congestion as Spring Valley Lake residents travel east into Apple Valley using the Yucca Loma Bridge.
10. The intersection of Green Tree Boulevard and Hesperia Road will be expanded to handle additional traffic.
11. A center median on Yates Road will prevent west bound turns into SVL until Chinquapin Drive and Ridgecrest Road, thus discouraging traffic onto the SVL Pkwy.
12. It is unknown if any more traffic lights will be installed on Ridgecrest Road.