Topaz curve to be realigned
By Tim Fesko
In the Antelope Valley, one recent topic that seems to be getting its fair share of discussion, and at times misinformation, is this year’s construction project on U.S. 395 at “High Point.” The purpose of this project is to realign the High Point Curve located on the western side of Topaz Lake in order to make the road safer for everyone.
This project was first brought to the public’s attention a few years ago during the early design stage. It was brought before the Antelope Valley Regional Advisory Committee (RPAC) and other groups such as the Chamber of Commerce. Input was taken over the past couple of years by Caltrans to come up with the current approved design.
This project is expected to begin in April with the installation of construction signs and storm water protection. The month of May will be the time for major earthwork (which includes night work and night-time highway closure) and the start of constructing retaining walls. June through September will be the construction of retaining walls, installing anchored mesh on slopes to reduce rocks and realigning the highway. The project is scheduled for completion in October with the installation of guardrails, paving and final cleanup.
In order to complete the major earthwork as quickly as possible, Caltrans had originally proposed to completely close the highway to all traffic in early May, 24 hours per day for 8 days. However, after receiving input from the local RPACs, Chamber of Commerce’s and Businesses, Caltrans agreed to close the highway only at night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., including weekends, for up to an estimated 14 days. During these 14 days (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) all traffic will be controlled with 20-minute delays.
“Closed at night to all traffic” means that NO vehicles can pass through the project from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during this nighttime closure period. If possible, but not guaranteed, emergency vehicles will be allowed to pass upon approval of the Resident Engineer.
Caltrans has committed to opening Monitor Pass (Highway 89) to passenger vehicle traffic by May 1, weather permitting, and keeping it open especially during this nighttime closure period. A detour between Holbrook Junction (395 & 208) and Bridgeport (182) will be available during the nighttime closures.
Once the “Night Time Closure” is completed, the highway will be open to all passenger vehicle traffic but subject to 20-minute delays for the remainder of the construction period (May – October). Residents of Antelope Valley should plan on this delay both leaving and returning to the valley. Signs indicating the construction and delays will remain at Holbrook Junction (north of Topaz Lake) and south of Bridgeport for the duration of construction project.
While the economic effects on local businesses of this construction project are unknown at this time, businesses are well advised to contact Caltrans, 760.872.5250 with any and all questions and concerns.
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