The Rosamond-Mojave Rehabilitation Project

State Route 14 out of Mojave is also known as the Aerospace Highway, and runs due south from the Mojave Air & Space Port. On October 3, 2020, work began on the rehabilitation of this eight-mile stretch of SR 14 in Kern County that begins 1.4 miles south of the Dawn Road overcrossing and runs to just over one-half mile north of the Silver Queen Road overcrossing. Roughly 36,500 vehicles travel this stretch daily, according to a 2019 traffic study.

Continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) was used on this eight-mile section of SR 14. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

The Caltrans District 9 Engineering, Project Management, and Project Design Departments teamed up with District 11 to design the Rosamond-Mojave Rehabilitation Project, and work slated to be done included a complete pavement rehabilitation of the two northbound and two southbound lanes, for a total of 32 lane miles. The scope of work also included on- and off-ramps, adjacent shoulders, an upgraded metal beam guardrail, upgraded traffic loop detectors, and other facilities.

The total project cost came in at $53 million, with $43 million identified as construction costs. Partial funding came from SB 1.

The construction contract was awarded to Guy F. Atkinson Construction, who rehabilitated this stretch of SR 14 with continuously reinforced concrete pavement overlay of existing concrete (CRCP-COC). This was the first pavement project in which Atkinson used CRCP.

The Atkinson paving crew continues to work into the night in the arid Mojave desert environment.
Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

“We’re proud to have this one on our resume,” Guy F. Atkinson Construction Area Manager Geoffrey Lister said. “We looked at this project as an opportunity to bring this into our wheelhouse.”

“The company used GPS to help guide installation of the concrete pavement, providing crews with real-time information about how smooth the roadway was being laid,” Lister stated. “The smoothness has been fantastic, the smoothest our team has ever placed.”

An Atkinson crew member sprays curing compound onto the newly-placed pavement. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

The Caltrans District 9 Planning Team took advantage of the divided highway configuration of SR 14 in this stretch, which also does have any major intersections, and scheduled the CRCP work first on the southbound lanes, diverting both directions of traffic to the northbound lanes. The speed limit was reduced to 55 mph, and K-rail and concrete barriers separated the two traffic lanes. ArmorGuard gates gave emergency personnel access through the K-rail every two miles.

When construction on the southbound lanes was completed, traffic was then diverted from the northbound lanes onto the newly paved lanes on the other side of the median, and the same safety measures put into place.

The completed southbound CRCP lanes – ground, grooved, and “smooth as silk.” Photo by District 9 PIO Michael Lingberg.

Though this configuration slowed traffic during the construction period, it enabled Atkinson to work more efficiently, expedite the schedule, and complete the project 45 days ahead of targeted completion date. Thanks to the Caltrans District 9 traffic diversion plan, the time savings lowered the project cost through reduced traffic-management expenses, and it reduced the potential for traffic incidents by keeping vehicles separate from construction activities.

Preparing to cut the ribbon on the northbound lanes of State Route 14 are Geoffrey Lister (left), area manager for Guy F. Atkinson Construction; Caltrans District 11 Design Engineer Ken Sayler; Caltrans District 9 Director Ryan Dermody, California Highway Patrol Mojave Acting Lt. Michael Deveny, and Assemblyman Tom Lackey’s District Director Pamela Balch.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony that opened first the southbound lanes, Gene Melcher of the Rosamond Chamber of Commerce said, “This is a huge benefit for Rosamond citizens, enabling safe and faster travel for years to come.”

Mojave Chamber of Commerce President Ted Hodgkinson called the new highway smooth as silk. “This is a great improvement.”