HESPERIA — With little funding for improvements and a main arterial roadway that is often congested with over 14,000 vehicles each day, the Council is exploring options to bring relief to commuters.

After discussing several road project alternatives for the Ranchero Road Widening Project, the City Council gave direction to staff to explore the possibility of widening the road from Kern to Topaz avenues in Hesperia.

During Tuesday's Council meeting, it was discovered the estimated cost of the proposed 1-mile project — alternative No. 1 — is approximately $400,000 and would include an additional lane in each direction, with a turn pocket at the intersection of Maple Avenue.

This configuration is similar to the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Ranchero Road, east of the proposed project. Work on alternative No. 1 could begin as early as July or August and be completed before the beginning of the 2018 school year, city staff said.

Staff was also given direction to begin research on alternative No. 2, which includes parcel acquisition and cost factors in the project that would see the all-encompassing Ranchero Corridor Project split into additional phases.

This project would include turn pockets along the length of the roadway, including Maple and Cottonwood avenues, which would not include traffic signals.

Alternative No. 2 has a price tag of $4.9 million, not including the price of adding traffic signals at Maple and Cottonwood avenues at $500,000 per intersection.

The Council said staff will have the opportunity to work with San Bernardino County Transportation Authority to determine if funding is available for the fiscal year that begins in July.

After witnessing traffic on Ranchero Road often backed up over a mile, the Council agreed the widening project is a priority.

The original Ranchero Corridor Project consists of several improvements within the 5-mile stretch of roadway, including construction of the railroad underpass near Santa Fe Avenue, which was completed in 2013, and the Ranchero Interstate 15 Interchange that was unveiled in 2015.

Mayor Paul Russ said the proposed roadway project does not include the required work on the two-lane aqueduct bridge that is located about 1,000 feet east of the proposed project.

Russ said the cost of the state-required aqueduct improvement, which includes widening and increasing the height of the bridge, will cost nearly $15 million.

Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.