MOJAVE - The March 28 Mojave Chamber of Commerce meeting brought the latest news from Caltrans and their many coming improvements to the region. Special guest speakers for the day were Caltrans District 9’s Jill Batchelder, and Catherine Carr who showcased coming attractions.
Mojave Chamber of Commerce President Doug Clipperton presented Kern County Code Compliance Officer Caleb Bolton with a Community Support Certificate for his “Efficient response to code compliance issues in Mojave and the surrounding area.” A brief announcement followed from Kern County Economic Development Specialist Amanda Barnes on the Renewbiz Grants being still open for application, but only through the end of the month.
Batchelder had quite a lot of information and updates for Chamber, and all of it good for Kern County. Several projects are now in motion ranging from expansion of State Route 58, commonly called the 58 in Kern County, to improvements between Boron and Mojave, Rosamond and Mojave, and even improvements inside Mojave itself.
First off is the expansion of the 58 going up into the Bakersfield area with the long hill climb that slows traffic to a near standstill during peak hours as big rigs fight their way up grades, passing each other and bringing traffic to a backup with regularity. Batchelder explained there are three phases of that project. The first phase runs from just north of General Beale Road to just north of Bena Road. It is a total of 2.63 miles for a cost of $32 million dollars for that section of 4.40% average-grade road. The second phase runs from just south of Bealeville Road to just south of Hart Flat. That section is 3.3 miles long for a cost of $33 million dollars to combat that 5.03% grade. The third phase that starts south of Broome Road and ends halfway to Tehachapi Creek Bridge is a total of 2.46 miles for a cost of $40 million dollars is the least steep of the three but incurs costs the others do not.
The other good news Batchelder and Carr presented to the Chamber includes three projects close to their hearts and homes. Those include the Rosamond to Mojave Rehab which includes pavement rehabilitation for the truck damaged right lanes and cracked and older road surfaces between Rosamond and Mojave. That project is estimated to cost $85,752,000. The project is currently in design having passed all environmental hurdles last June. Construction is expected to start-Summer 2020.
The next project is strictly for Mojave. It is the Mojave Pavement project, and as the name suggests it is pavement and Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades across town, starting from a half mile north of the Silver Queen Road overcrossing to 0.6 miles north of North Junction Business SR58 on State Route 14. That projects estimated cost is $52,046,000, now that planning is completed. The project is expected to clear environmental by summer of 2022, and construction is expected to begin in spring of 2026.
The third project Batchelder spoke of is the Mojave-Boron Freeway project. That project is to upgrade the four lane expressway to a four lane freeway. That one starts 0.8 miles east of Business 58 overcrossing in Mojave to Edwards Air Force Base overcrossing. The estimated cost of that project is $76,569,000. Planning was completed July 2018, and as yet environmental and construction funding have not been identified. So no start dates or cost estimates on that one as yet.
If that weren’t a full plate of information for the Chamber to digest, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Foundation Manager Christina Scrivner, (wife of Kern County Supervisor Zack Scrivner), told the Chamber now that the new Adventist Health care hospital is open and running smoothly in Tehachapi.