Push to widen 395 continues

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Construction to widen U.S. Route 395 will begin this fall, according to an announcement from the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.

However, a large stretch of the highway, which has claimed the lives of more than a dozen travelers this year so far, from Adelanto to Inyokern remains unaddressed.

“Highway 395 and the safety of that thoroughfare are very important,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong during a recent visit to Ridgecrest. “We’re obviously looking for additional funding opportunities.”

Fong said that roughly $25 million in federal, state and San Bernardino County funds was being spent on the current highway project. In communicating with the California Department of Transportation, Fong said, representatives have committed to coming to Ridgecrest to outline future plans for the highway and hear input from the community.

Long, windy stretches of road with only one lane in each direction have many motorists initiating unsafe passing maneuvers in areas of poor visibility.

The deaths of Ridgecrest residents Jack and Leslie Brown while they traveled the highway in March sparked local petitions to raise awareness of the highway’s dangers.

Groups like Save Lives on 395 distribute “California 395 Kills” bumper stickers and have raised several thousand dollars in an effort to fund more signage to warn against unsafe passing.

Highway 395 is part of the federal Strategic Highway Network, supporting U.S. military operations and serving Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Edwards Air Force Base.

“We’ll be keeping the community posted as soon as we hear more details,” said Fong. “In the short term we need to do something to minimize the poor decisions made by drivers on 395. But clearly the highway needs more lanes and other work.”

Stay tuned to the News Review for more updates.

Story First Published: 2018-07-20