Current construction work along Big Bear Boulevard to underground all utilities and prepare for the scheduled 2017 Caltrans complete overlay of the 4-lane highway is causing residents and visitors to ask many questions. Below are answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions.
1. Who is in charge of all the work being done on Big Bear Boulevard and is there a telephone number that may be contacted for questions?
This is a Bear Valley Electric Service (BVES) Master Project, and each utility working along the Boulevard has their own PIO, however, Big Bear Boulevard is a state highway and falls under the jurisdiction of Caltrans District 8. For general questions regarding projects happening along the boulevard please contact District 8 Offices at (909) 383- 4631.
2. Why are there so many construction projects on the Boulevard?
All utility companies: Verizon, Charter, Southwest Gas (SWG), BVES and the Department of Water & Power (DWP), are working on their own projects with various contractors.
3. What is the purpose of all construction taking place?
The purpose of the work is to get all utilities undergrounded and necessary underground repairs completed. All utilities which are currently on the utility poles along the Boulevard will be undergrounded and the poles will be subsequently removed. Also, utilities which are already underground (e.g. SWG & DWP lines) are being maintained and/or repaired. Light poles will be placed along the Boulevard for a much more visually appealing look, and reliability of services will be significantly increased as the utilities will no longer be exposed to the elements. Public safety will also be increased as there will no longer be exposed wires and poles above ground. Additionally, next month CalTrans will begin the project of replacing 26 handicap ramps, portions of sidewalk and three signals along the Boulevard.
4. It seems like they cut a hole, do some work then fill the hole then do it again, why?
Each of the utility agencies have different timelines and may be working with different contractors; in the interest of time and not working on top of each other utility work will be conducted by one utility agency, temporary asphalt will be placed and then the next utility agency will work in that same area through the Fall of 2016.
5. How many contractors are working on the Boulevard?
There are a total of five (5) contractors. BVES and Charter are working in conjunction with the same contractor, Verizon is working with their own contractor, SWG and DWP are still out to bid but will work in conjunction with the same contractor, CalTrans will be working with their own contractor in a month when they begin their work on the handicap ramps and lights.
6. What contractors are working on the Boulevard (who are they)?
BVES/Charter – Bear Valley Paving
Verizon – Doty Brothers
SWG/DWP – still out to bid CalTrans – LA Landscapes
7. What is the time frame for construction project to be complete?
All utilities are scheduled to be undergrounded by the spring of 2017. At that time CalTrans will begin preparing for the major street overlay construction project for the Boulevard. The Boulevard overlay project will be constructed next summer and should take 2-3 months to complete. As is always the case, construction will break for weekends, holidays and be dictated by weather conditions.
8. Will the utility poles be removed after the project is complete?
Yes they will be. The last utility remaining on the pole will be responsible for removal and the completion of removal is scheduled to be the same time as project completion.
9. When will the highway be repaved?
CalTrans is scheduled to begin overlay and repaving of the Boulevard Summer 2017.
10. How was the public informed regarding construction projects prior to everything getting underway?
There were a number of press releases regarding the projects that went out prior to beginning of work. BVES and CalTrans have conducted public outreach efforts to educate residents and visitors regarding the work.
11. There has been a lot of talk over the last year about improving traffic congestion during peak times, a center lane near Paine and road diet to make pedestrians and cyclists safer, with all of this construction being done is anything happening that will actually help with that?
Traffic congestion improvement is a separate concept and project and largely impacted by peak winter season and holidays such as 4th of July. The City is always interested in how to improve traffic congestion for residents and visitors and there are continual and on-going discussions between the City, Sheriff’s Department, CalTrans and Resorts.
12.Once the project is completed, will this type of work have to be done again at some point to maintain the integrity of the undergrounded utilities?
Generally, undergrounded utilities have a 40-50 year lifespan, so this project should be a one-time shot. There is a possibility of minor maintenance in the future, but nothing to the extent of what has been taking place recently.
13.What will happen to the banners recognizing service members on the utility poles when the poles come down?
There are several options for placement of banners following removal of utility poles along the Boulevard and families will be kept in the loop as changes occur.