This Just In! City Receives Green Light for Ranchero Underpass

City Receives Green Light for Ranchero Road Underpass Construction

HESPERIA, CA – It’s been over 20 years in the making, but the highly anticipated Ranchero Road Underpass is poised to breakground, all it needs is a contractor to build it. After receiving final Authorization to Proceed with Construction from Caltrans on Monday, June 20, 2011, the City of Hesperia is moving quickly to go out to bid and begin the construction process for the long awaited Ranchero Road Underpass.

“Staff has been working diligently for the past nine years to complete every step required to build a project that uses state and federal funds,” said Mayor Mike Leonard. “While this project has taken much longer than expected to breakground, we are confident that once completed, the improvements to traffic congestion for this area will be worth the wait.”

This $27 million project, much of which are federal funds secured with the help of Congressman Jerry Lewis, will ease traffic on the High Desert’s three existing railroad crossings. Today, over 39,000 vehicles drive over the Main Street Bridge, resulting in gridlock, which is all too common, at peak traffic hours. $11.6 million in state and federal funds, matched by $15.4 million from City of Hesperia Redevelopment and other local funds, is the formula that has allowed this project to be 100% ready to proceed with construction now that Caltrans approval has been received.

“Representatives from Sacramento and Washington D.C. have taken a vested interest in the success of this project,” commented City Manager Mike Podegracz. “We appreciate that they recognize the regional significance of this project and look forward to the benefits of having an additional access point connecting our east and west sides of the City.”

The Ranchero Road Underpass Project has been a topic of discussion long before the City incorporated in 1988. In 1989, the project officially was put “on the drawing board”, to improve traffic circulation in the City, however, due to limited funds and the rough economy of the early 1990’s, the underpass was sidelined to allow for other necessary infrastructure improvements. 2002 saw the return of this project to the City’s Capital Improvement Program, and since that point staff has been working to complete each necessary step including: finalizing the preliminary design work; receiving approval for both State and Federal environmental documents; purchasing all necessary right-of-way; obtaining multiple environmental permits and receiving final authorization to proceed with construction.

The remainder of the project must follow the guidelines established for completing a Public Works Project.  Invitations to bid for construction will be released on Tuesday June 28, and the selected bidder will be presented to the City Council for approval in August. The project will be ready to break ground in early September 2011. Once construction begins, it will take roughly 26 months to complete the improvements to over one mile of roadway.

The end result will be a four lane Ranchero Road between Seventh Avenue and Danbury Avenue. The primary purpose of these improvements is an underpass for travelers to drive under the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad track, and over the Antelope Valley Wash on a raised roadway.

Updates on the Ranchero Road Underpass construction will be posted on the City of Hesperia website at http://www.cityofhesperia.us.

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