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Shea Johnson, staff photo
Construction is expected to go underway near the end of this summer that will raise this stretch of Lenwood Road Bridge about 40 feet above the BNSF train tracks.

Lenwood Road Grade Separation Project to begin in summer

Officials estimate project to be finished by fall 2015

Staff Writer
Projected funding sources*:

• $15.5 million, SANBAG

• $8.5 million, state Prop. 1B

• $3 million ($1.8 million - design and planning; $1.2 million - construction), city of Barstow

• $2.5 million, San Bernardino County

• $2 million, Measure I

*All numbers rounded

Source: Tim Watkins, SANBAG

LENWOOD • The Lenwood Road Grade Separation Project should begin construction near the end of summer and be completed in fall 2015, according to an official who spoke at a National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees (NARVRE) meeting last week.

Timothy Watkins, public information specialist for San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), discussed what the commuting public could expect to see once construction is complete.

“It will elevate Lenwood Road about 40 feet over its current height, right now, over the tracks,” he said. “It will actually elevate the interface between Lenwood Road and Main Street a little bit, too.”

Watkins said Lenwood Road will be closed during much of the construction, noting detour signs will be posted and that SANBAG will be communicating to in-demand area businesses.

“Lenwood Road will be closed for a period of time — nearly or probably over a year during the construction of this project,” he said, “so trucks will have to be rerouted using other options from State Route 58.”

Barstow’s assistant city manager, Oliver Chi, said the closure isn’t going to have “any major impact” on any businesses because of the detour routes which will be coordinated.

Chi also said the project aligns with the city council’s biggest goal, which is to spur economic growth in Barstow. According to Chi, the bridge’s construction is, in part, a response to expectations of developing the Barstow Industrial Park northwest of the grade separation and the plans for Walmart to build a Cold Distribution Facility just south of the Lenwood Road culvert.

The design for the distribution facility is complete, though talks are on hold while the city waits for movement from Walmart’s logistics department, Chi said.

“The entire corridor along Lenwood Road, we see as a real source of strength for us,” he said, explaining the area could produce jobs in the manufacturing, industrial and distribution sectors.

The grade separation project is part of the Aladema Corridor East — a single purpose construction authority that consists of 22 total rail crossing grade separations. Aside from building the bridge over the BNSF train tracks just north of West Main Street, the project will also expand Lenwood Road from two to four lanes.

Watkins said he will be in Barstow “quite a bit” during the construction period and attending NARVRE meetings more frequently to answer any questions.

By last estimations in June 2011, the project was expected to cost $31.5 million with construction set to begin early this year. In regard to the revised timeline, Watkins wrote via email, “at this point, the project is on schedule.”

The city is currently working on relocating Edison lines, right-away property acquisition and completing the final design before construction can begin, Chi said.

Funds for the project will come from SANBAG, the city, the county, state and federal grants and Measure I — the one-half cent sales tax. Barstow has committed $1,154,865 toward the remainder of the project, Chi said.

The project should not be confused with the ongoing repair of the washed-out Lenwood Road culvert, which has been projected to be completed by the end of this month.

NARVRE meets the second Wednesday of every other month at the Coco’s restaurant in Barstow. For more information, contact David Rosse at 760-256-5986.

For more information on the grade separation project, contact SANBAG at 909-884-8276 or visit

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