Although the Ranchero Road Underpass has yet to break ground, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors looked two steps ahead this week, committing the county to helping build a Ranchero Corridor from Interstate 15 to the BNSF railroad tracks.


At their Tuesday meeting, the supervisors approved an agreement with the city of Hesperia to widen a five-mile stretch of Ranchero Road between Coriander Drive and 7th Avenue to four lanes.


"One of my first actions as supervisor was to convene a meeting with the city of Hesperia to help determine how we could expedite construction of the Ranchero Corridor," 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt says in a statement issued by the county. "Since then, and with this agreement, we are moving closer to completing this much-needed corridor sooner than previously planned."


Design work is already 60 percent done on the Ranchero Corridor, according to Kelly Malloy, spokeswoman for the city.


"This is a very necessary step in the project to keep it moving forward," Malloy said Wednesday.


The portion of Ranchero Road between the railroad tracks which the underpass will go under and the freeway is half in city territory and half in county territory.


The county has committed $4.65 million of the $15.7 million project. Hesperia will pay $4.65 million and the regional transportation authority, SANBAG, will contribute $6.4 million. But all of that is future tense, as the various entities are still looking to arrange funding for the project.


Hesperia hasn't identified the needed funding to complete the project, said Malloy, "because the first two phases of Ranchero are higher priority."


In the interim, city officials are getting the environmental review document approved, design completed and needed right-of-way purchases identified, so that the city will just have to wait on getting the funded needed for the project to proceed.


After the underpass, the city's next focus is the freeway interchange. Design work on it is about 90 percent complete, according to Malloy, and right of way acquisition has started, although the city does not yet have the funds available to purchase all the needed land.


The first part of the Ranchero Corridor, the Ranchero Road Underpass, went out to bid on Tuesday. Construction is expected to begin in September.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.