Hwy. 138 funding is sought

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first_imgPALMDALE – After missing out on a recent allotment of transportation bond money, Antelope Valley civic leaders said Wednesday they will try to secure $15.8million needed to widen a portion of Highway 138 – a route dubbed “Blood Alley.” At a meeting convened by county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, civic leaders and representatives of the state Department of Transportation said they think they can come up with the money, about half of the $32 million needed for the entire project. The project would widen Highway138 from 165thStreet East to Largo Vista Road. Originally, officials had hoped to tap funds from Proposition 1B, the $19.9 billion transportation bond measure approved in November, for the project. But last week, the California Transportation Commission voted not to include it for funding. “We have to look for funding to make up for this disastrous decision,” Antonovich said. “I’m optimistic we will be able to work together.” Highway 138 picked up the moniker “Blood Alley” because of fatal collisions often involving impatient motorists trying to pass in areas where the route is just two lanes wide. Caltrans is widening the highway to four lanes in segments as funding allows. “This will (help stop) people from doing stupid things,” said Doug Failing, director of the Caltrans district that includes Los Angeles County. The state Transportation Commission primarily looked at two criteria in approving projects for Proposition 1B money – readiness for construction and congestion relief. It scored well on the first but poorly on the latter, Failing said. Failing said the plan now is to try to get the money through the State Highway Operations and Protections Program, or SHOPP. “I don’t care where the money comes from as long as it doesn’t delay my project,” Failing said. The project has a tentative completion date of 2010. Lancaster Mayor Henry Hearns said he was very disappointed by the commission’s decision, but he gave credit to Antonovich and Failing for keeping the issue a high priority. “I think we’re going to get there,” Hearns said. Some portions of the highway already have been funded for widening. That includes $24million to widen the Twin Bridges area – from 146th to 165th streets east – from two lanes to four. That project is slated for completion late this year. Twin Bridges has been the scene of numerous collisions, including one that killed three people in 1995. The stretch of highway has no shoulder for a driver to use if an oncoming vehicle crosses the center line. Also funded is a $16 million European-style traffic roundabout, which is planned to consolidate five closely spaced intersections into one, and eliminate the 90-degree curve from Palmdale Boulevard onto 47th Street East. In a roundabout, a driver yields to traffic already in the circle, makes a right turn to enter the circle and makes a right turn to exit. Roundabouts are designed so the traffic in the circle is traveling slower than 30mph. Work is scheduled to begin this year and be complete in 2008. Three other segments are in the design phases and have projected construction start dates this year – a segment from 60th Street East to AvenueT, a segment from 77th to 89th streets east, and a segment from 96th to 106th streets east. Construction costs for those three projects total $21 million. The segments are all slated for completion in 2009. [email protected] (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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