February 26, 2015
We are happy to announce that our conversations with District 8 of Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) regarding the use of I-40 for Bicycle Route 66 have reached a successful conclusion!
On February 10, we had a conference call with District 8 to discuss solutions to the problem of cyclists' legal access to travel between Needles and Barstow, California. They had done their research and came back with options for us including a stretch on I-40 as requested. However, we still had some major concerns about a second stretch.
The district offered to go out to the affected areas with members of their staff and a representative of ours. We agreed this would be a good way to resolve this final question. Amongst ourselves we discussed who we might know in the area to accompany them.
While we were putting together a list of people to ask, I received a fortuitous email from a board member who happened to be in Death Valley, California — less than 200 miles away from Barstow — driving east. Voila! Our representative came to us. On Friday February 13, he was on the road with the head of maintenance for the district and a senior transportation engineer.
After this on-the-ground review, all had a clearer picture of the situation, needs and potential solutions.
As of Wednesday, February 18, we now have a legal route to direct cyclists to use between Needles and Barstow, California, where the roads are either closed or otherwise unridable. While the printed maps will show our route as using the National Trails Highway, addenda will accompany them directing cyclists where they may now legally enter and exit I-40 to avoid the worst of conditions.
District 8 has granted allowance of "...temporary access on I-40 from Ft. Cady Rd. (Exit #23) to Ludlow (Exit #50) and from Kelbaker Rd. to Mountain Springs Rd. (Exit #115)..." Access will be lifted in the future when road surfaces have improved and roads reopened. In the meantime we are moving forward and celebrating more than a little bit.
In his latest email correspondence, Catalino A. Pining III, Deputy District Director of Caltrans District 8 assured us, "The District will be notifying the California Highway Patrol of the temporary provision. Existing signs will have to be temporary covered/modified to accommodate the bicycles and additional signs will have to be ordered to notify the traveling public of the shared road. It can take two to three weeks to have the new signs fabricated and installed."
Truly, this is music to our ears! In my over 15 years at Adventure Cycling, I believe these past few weeks will be ones I long remember the most for their frustration, stress, collaboration and finally euphoria with the successful result.
Thanks go out to many people and organizations for helping us to bring about this resolution:
GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.