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Wednesday, Mar 26 2014 06:00 AM

Construction on Challenger Drive extension to begin

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The Tehachapi City Council has accepted a bid from Cooley Construction, Inc., for the Challenger Drive Extension Project, which will extend the two-lane road eastward to connect with Dennison Road. The project is estimated to cost $1.9 million. Courtesy of the City of Tehachapi

A construction project that will give residents another way to access Capital Hills is soon to begin.

At the Tehachapi City Council's meeting on Monday, March 17, members approved a $1,663,551.80 bid from Cooley Construction Inc., a company based in Hesperia now tasked with extending the two-lanes of Challenger Drive about two-thirds of a mile to connect with Dennison Road.

The council also authorized the city manager to make any necessary change orders up to a maximum of five percent of the original contract, or $83,000.

"This is a big project and it's going to help people who live on the north side of the tracks," City Manager Greg Garrett said.

According to Garrett, Challenger Drive will run parallel to Highway 58 and tie into Dennison Road, which turns into Burnett Road.

Garrett said a stop sign will be placed at the intersection. Motorists on Challenger Drive will have to stop and traffic will continue to flow on Dennison Road, he said.

City Engineer Jay Schlosser's report to the council shows that the city ― which designed and engineered the project several years ago ― opened bids earlier in the month and had a total of five companies respond.

Cooley Construction, Inc., is said to begin building somewhere between early and the middle of April. Garett said it will be complete in 120 days.

"Last night [Monday, March 17] the clock started and we're processing all of the paperwork, but I would suspect in the next several weeks they'll be out there surveying and moving dirt," Garrett said.

The project will give residents secondary access to Capital Hills, located on the northern side of Highway 58 ― and most notably, new hospital slated to open in the beginning of 2016 ― which is currently only accessible via North Mill Street.

City staff estimates the total cost of the project to be $1.9 million, which will be largely funded by a $1.5 million grant awarded last year from CalTrans via the Regional Surface Transportation Program.

The remaining $400,000 will come from local Regional Traffic Mitigation Funds which are collected from developers when they build within city limits. Garrett said there is currently $700,000 in that fund.

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