By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
The San Bernardino County Road Department is currently working on a long-planned improvement project that has been in the works for several years. The project on Lake Drive runs from Highway 138 in Top Town Crestline to the stop sign at Lake Drive and Lake Gregory Drive and from that point up Lake Gregory Drive to the signal at Highway 18.
Those county road sections had already been designated and budgeted to be repaved this year but, with last winter’s blizzard and snowplow damage, the roads were in much worse condition than anticipated. Some pothole repairs were done before July’s Jamboree Days as, in some stretches of Lake Drive, the roadways were actually dangerous, giving motorists flat tires and bent rims, resulting in those reported holes receiving more immediate attention.
Those pothole patchwork jobs were delayed due to spring showers. While the roadways are wet, it is impossible to patch the potholes, said County Public Works Operations Supervisor Jess Saldana. This spring, they used a new, faster-drying pothole material to speed up the hole patching, which did make for safer driving through town this summer. After this road repair project is completed, the entire roadway will be totally repaved and should look great, new and smooth, just in time for winter.
During last May’s Crestline Chamber of Commerce meeting, county spokesmen Utility Coordinator Vladimir Reyes and Supervising Engineer Noel Mondragon showed those in attendance a large map of the proposed project. Not only are the roads going to be totally repaved under this project, which began Sept. 5, the county will be installing ADA complaint ramps at sidewalk corners where there are curbs.
To begin the project, the streets were marked for the lines and pipes underground and other information for the construction crew. The first obvious indication the project was starting was several of those corners to be replaced for the project were removed and, when those corners are replaced, they will have those ADA ramps in place. All the ADA ramps will be installed on Lake Drive in the Lake Gregory Village business district. Some of the corners to be replaced are Lake Drive at Lake Gregory Drive, at Forest Shade, at Alder and at Friendly Lane. Most corners being replaced are on the south side of Lake Drive, since that is where most of the side streets intersect with Lake Drive, although some of these corners had no curbs and sidewalks to begin with and were just asphalt, so sidewalk corners apparently will be installed. One corner not torn out at this time is the several-step-high corner to reach the sidewalk at Wildrose next to the Ace Hardware store, as the county didn’t install that sidewalk and corner.
At those corners on Lake Drive during the construction there will always be at least one lane open for traffic, but with flagging during the day, they said. This has caused 10-minute delays for those driving along Lake Drive through Lake Gregory Village area during the weekdays, so many drivers have avoided Lake Drive completely while the flagging is taking place, taking Straightway as a detour. However, those drivers need to be reminded that straightway is a slow and narrow residential road, with a 20 MPH speed limit.
So far in the construction process, the roadways have been open through the construction zone at night, with only the corners blocked off for the almost 10-inch deep holes in the cement the removal process has created. These corners, with the removed cement, have restricted walking along Lake Drive between businesses and many parking spots in front of stores have been blocked off near those corners and “no parking” signs have been placed along the roadway. Some merchants have complained that their customers cannot stop at their stores and that the construction is hurting business. The road construction project is scheduled to be completed by the end of November, before they expect winter to begin in earnest in the area, if recent past weather patterns are to be believed. If winter weather begins sooner, the project could be delayed.
Some erosion points on Lake Gregory and Lake Drives will be addressed in this project, said Mondragon, although no culverts will be replaced during this project. It was noted during the heavy rainstorm a couple weeks ago that large amounts of debris flowed into Lake Gregory. The fast and drenching rains overwhelmed the current drainage system and Lake Gregory personnel had to go out and, by hand, remove the feet of debris that had swamped the beach end of the lake before the lake could reopen to visitors after the storm.