roadworksign-thumbCalTrans has many plans to better the highways to and from the Big Bear Valley—and this is in addition to the currently underway $40 million project to construct a new Big Bear bridge for Highway 18 at Big Bear Lake’s west end. Among the upcoming maintenance projects being scheduled for our area is the continuation of asphalt repair on Highway 18. Last year, CalTrans made improvements on the Arctic Circle portion of 18; this summer, work will be done from Lakeview Point down to Wagon Wheel, just west of Running Springs. For the project that will include, in part, some structural rebuilding, asphalt overlay and re-striping, Tim Watkins of CalTrans tells KBHR, “We don’t have an exact start date yet, because we’re still working on some standard permitting issues.” Once the Highway 18 project begins this summer, it will take up to 30 days and, as noted by Watkins at Tuesday’s CalTrans meeting at the Civic Center, “On routes that people use to get off the mountain to commute to work, flagging won’t begin until at least 8am.” At Highway 18’s other end, en route to Lucerne Valley, CalTrans plans to install guardrails before winter; guardrails will also be installed along the Angelus Oaks portion of Highway 38 in coming years. This fall, the Big Bear Boulevard portion of Highway 18 will get a slurry seal, along with some dig outs and re-striping, on a 10-mile stretch that extends from the Big Bear Dam to Pineview Drive in Big Bear City. As for the Big Bear City-specific safety project, which includes a left-hand turn lane at Big Tree (at the airport), this is still in the works; CalTrans is currently working to acquire slivers of right-of-way on the north side of the Boulevard, and should have the environmental clearances needed by August. There are also plans to implement a beautification project on Highway 330 and, as of the June 9 meeting, Terri Kasinga of CalTrans told us, “The beautification project went out to bid today, so we’ll likely start in August.”