A good friend recently let me know about the High Desert Corridor Project. The California Department of Transportation is proposing to build a new 63 mile freeway across the southern end of the Mojave Desert from Palmdale to Apple Valley. Since 2005, I’ve photographed in the Mojave Desert during the full moon between 3-7 times per year. From Paul’s Junkyard near Lancaster, to the Llano ruins of Pearblossom. From the movie sets near Lake Los Angeles, to the airplane graveyard in El Mirage. I’ve seen the half empty housing developments in Adelanto, and photographed ruins old and new across the desert.
I’m certainly not an expert in long range urban planning or any of these large transportation infrastructure issues, but I do know the desert pretty well. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole concept. From what I’ve read, the idea is to spur residential, commercial, and industrial growth in Palmdale, Lancaster, Adelanto, Victorville, and Apple Valley. Proponents of the plan are predicting 2030 population numbers in Antelope Valley (AV) of 900K, and 650K in Victor Valley. The other idea is to more easily move goods on trucks between the 710, the 60, Interstate 10 and Interstate 15. Both of the current East-West routes across the desert, Palmdale Blvd. and the Pearblossom Highway, can be slow going.
From prospectors looking for that hidden vein, to spiritual seekers looking for truth, the desert is a place to go when you want to do your thing without anyone bothering you. Unfortunately, a rather disturbing human interest story has developed around the High Desert Corridor Project. The County has been dispatching armed Nuisance Abatement Teams (NATs) to threaten and harass local residents, presumably to clear the way for this new expressway. Don’t miss the video below from ReasonTV. Forget it Jake, it’s Mojave?
Update: Below is the location of the Kill Bill Church in Hi Vista on a satellite map. Hi Vista is surrounded by State Parks and Wildlife Reserves/Sanctuaries, and of course Edward Air Force Base to the north. East Avenue G through Hi Vista is pretty wide open, but this area is north of the proposed northern route for the High Desert Corridor, which makes the harassment of the residents of this area even more puzzling.