High Desert Corridor could ease commute

first_img“They would prefer not to drive through Los Angeles freeway traffic, as well as the rest of us, if they could avoid it,” Haueter said. Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties have formed a joint powers authority to work on planning the project. A project study report from the California Department of Transportation estimates that the corridor project would cost $2.5 billion, plus $75 million for environmental studies and the approval process. Eventually, the corridor could be extended all the way to Interstate 5 around Gorman, Haueter said. The I-5 is a major north-south corridor for goods movement, going all the way north along the western fringe of the United States to the Canadian border and south to Mexico. The I-15 also touches the northern and southern borders, passing through Las Vegas and Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Montana. Now truckers and other drivers crossing between the I-5 and the I-15 often avoid state Route 138, because it does not have enough lanes, said Michael Cano, a deputy to county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Instead, they cross over onto the Foothill or the San Bernardino freeways, both in the Los Angeles Basin. “What you basically have is a missing link in the national infrastructure for goods moving by truck,” Cano said. On the I-5 at the Foothill Freeway, a point many Santa Clarita residents cross on the way to work, about 260,000 vehicles pass a day, including 21,300 trucks, according to Caltrans. It is unclear how many of those trucks would be diverted by the High Desert Corridor. North of that crossing is a choke point that has long aggravated Santa Clarita residents heading south in the morning. There are no truck lanes on the southbound I-5 in the southern part of the valley until the top of the Newhall Pass. “(Residents) oftentimes find themselves heading up the Newhall Pass, and at least two lanes are blocked by semis, if not three lanes,” Haueter said. Keeping trucks to a right-side lane would help, but so would the High Desert Corridor if it could reduce the number of trucks passing through the Newhall Pass. “Trucks are important to bringing goods into the Santa Clarita Valley, and obviously that’s what you have to have,” Cano said. “What we’re … focusing on is how do you get trucks that don’t need to be there out of the area, and that’s why we’re creating the High Desert Corridor.” [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – An expressway planned for the Antelope Valley could take some pressure off Santa Clarita Valley freeways, easing the commute for residents. The High Desert Corridor would go between the Antelope Valley Freeway and Interstate 15, although officials do not expect a public hearing on the project to happen until 2011. One of the goals of the corridor is to allow trucks that need to cross over to I-15 to bypass the traffic-choked Los Angeles Basin. That would free up lanes for the 50 percent of Santa Clarita residents who commute outside the valley, mainly southbound, for work. Many truckers heading south through northern Los Angeles County need to cross over to the I-15 to get to Arizona or the San Diego area, said Bob Haueter, district director for U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita. last_img

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