Thursday, July 03, 2008

Federal Earmark: Lenwood Road Grade Separation, Barstow, CA

NOTE: This project benefits the City of Barstow and provide corporate welfare for BNSF Railway and Wal-Mart which has plans to build a 1 million square foot Distribution Center located 1/4 of a mile from the project site.

2008 Federal Funding Request: $2.5 Million

2005 Federal Funding Appropriation: $1.2 Million

Estimated Total Project Cost: $19 Million

The project is to provide grade separation between Lenwood Road and the BN&SF rail tracks. Lenwood Road is one of the few road crossings over the Mojave River between Lenwood, just west of the City of Barstow and State Highway 58. It is utilized by a disproportionate volume of truck traffic due to this crossing being a “chokepoint” for travel.

This grade separation is part of the Alameda Rail Corridor (East) project that has examined the consequences of additional frequency and train length impacts on local communities.

Lenwood Road is a major truck traffic connection between State Highway 58 to the north of the Mojave River and the community of Lenwood to the south. State Highway 58 carries significant levels of truck traffic from other states via I-15 and Las Vegas and from I40 and points east. Main Street, otherwise known as National Trails Highway (NTH or Route 66) provides access to Barstow and Victorville.

Although there are very good highway linkages between the freeways and State Highway 58, Barstow is a logical stopping point for many truck drivers, either for changing drivers or for mandatory rest stops. Lenwood Road is a route of choice for these trucks.

Significant safety issues that will be mitigated upon completion can further support Lenwood Road grade separation project. The distance between the at-grade crossing and the traffic signal at Main Street is relatively short. Any signal delay, created by maintenance or by an accident may easily cause a “backup” of southbound traffic to the crossing. Although the crossing is “gated”, the potential for error in blocked traffic, leaving a trailer on the tracks with no room to maneuver is high. The reduction in traffic congestion and improvements to air quality may be quantified to demonstrate a high benefit cost ratio for this project.

Project Description: Provide grade separation between Lenwood Road and the BN&SF rail tracks. Funding is requested are to re-implement the environmental documentation through S&E (Plans, Specifications and Estimates).

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