There are only two legitimate and expeditious ways to ship produce and other cargo by trucks east and west into and out of California. One is I-80 over Donner Pass and the other is Highway 58. Unless freight is headed for L.A., truckers avoid congestion on L.A. freeways and take 58.
It's a shame that 58 is clogged with trucks, and has become the third, if not the second, busiest truck route in California. You'd think by now, Caltrans would have provided the funds up front to have a contractor build a truck lane eastbound from Bakersfield to Tehachapi.
I attended a High Speed Rail meeting months ago, and asked the project engineer what the cost would be to build a right-of-way with tunnels, bridges and cut and fill work for these trains from Bakersfield over the Tehachapi Mountains to Lancaster. He told me $77 billion.
Just one billion of that money would go a long way to fund and build a truck lane on Highway 58, like the one they have on the Ridge Route. In Germany, all trucks on their highways and autobahns must remain in the right lane at all times when traversing steep hilly grades. If they won't build a truck lane on 58, how about a law that keeps all trucks in the slow, outside lane?
Unless something is done, and done soon, the 35-mile trip from Bakersfield to Tehachapi will take well more than an hour driving time. Shame on Caltrans and shame on our politicians for neglecting Highway 58, and, for that matter, most of our other highways in California.
If you feel Highway 58 needs fixing, write letters and other correspondence to: Mr. Malcolm Dougherty at 1120 N. St., Sacramento, Calif. 95814.
Dennis Tope, Tehachapi