On a recent trip to L.A., on the busy 405 freeway, I noticed there is no shoulder next to the concrete K-rail that separates northbound traffic from southbound traffic. They squeezed in another traffic lane by getting rid of the shoulder altogether.
Guess what? They could do the same thing and create a truck climbing lane on eastbound 58. There's at least a five-foot shoulder between the concrete K-rail and the inside (fast) lane, and a seven-foot outside shoulder most of the way up the hill to Tehachapi. Traffic lanes are 12 feet wide. It wouldn't be that hard to modify the lane arrangement, use some cribbing here and there to beef up the outside shoulder embankments, and voila! You've got a truck lane.
You'd think Caltrans would at least attempt to solve the truck congestion on Highway 58 by modifying the lane arrangement. Even if this idea isn't implemented, to build any portion or section of a truck lane on 58 will take years. There's just too much talk, too many trucks and not much action when it comes to fixing our roads in California.
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of truckers jumping into the fast lane to pass another slower truck crawling up the hill. I have a lot of empathy for Tehachapi commuters making the trip back up the hill every day from Bakersfield.
People have told me they won't drive to Bakersfield anymore and prefer Lancaster because the drive to Lancaster is easier and less hectic. Can you blame them? I might be going out on a limb here, but from what I've seen on California freeways, Highway 58 has now become the busiest truck corridor in California.
Dennis Tope, Tehachapi