Future of the Mojave: High Desert Corridor Project

High Desert Corridor

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.

Hi Vista, State Parks, and Wildlife Reserves

12 thoughts on “Future of the Mojave: High Desert Corridor Project

  1. Why fight terrorists in the other parts of the world when you have them at the door steps? Once driving on the motorway I saw van with the sticker on the back: “I don’t need sex. The GOVERNMENT fucks me every day”.

    • The world is a little bit darker place if you can’t get away by going out to the middle of nowhere in the desert.

  2. Yeah, Chinatown for sure. Seems like it was different when LA took over the Owens Valley for its water rights 100 years ago. All the cops with guns that come to visit, it sounds like these innocents are being swept up in a DEA methlab clean up sorta thing, but maybe I just watch “Breaking Bad” too much.

    Eminent Domain is one thing, but they need a clear, documented reason to enforce that and there isn’t one here.

    We’ve driven that area extensively in the past few years. Both the southern route replacing 18 and the Apple Valley bypass need to be done, without question, but that northern route is mystifying (note how they don’t show the proxmity of 58 in that map). In any case, I don’t think it has anything to do with where these people live.

    Sounds like a good subject for a long drive . . .

    • Breaking Bad has become an interesting cultural reference for this part of the world. I looked at the location of the Kill Bill church and added a satellite map above. Maybe they’re considering yet another route? I don’t understand why they’d hassle anyone in Hi Vista.

  3. THE TRUE PURPOSE IS TO FUNNELL TRUCKS AND THROUGH TRAFFIC FROM THE NORTH TO THE EAST WITHOUT THE TRAFFIC GOING THROUGH LOS ANGELES. ORIGINALLY IT WAS CALLED HE LOS ANGELES BY-PASS FREEWAY.

    • Bypassing Los Angeles makes sense. This explanation is missing from the official information that I’ve seen about the HDC project.

  4. It says that these NATs were set up in 2006, long before the HDC was even a thought. I don’t think they have to do with each other. Why these isolated people are an issue for Antonovich, though, I have no clue. The only thing I could think of, though, is that maybe they’re trying to clean up meth labs, which, being a resident of a rural area of the AV myself, I know is a problem out here.

    • Oh, and I was referred here by the HDC Facebook page, so I’ve been looking at your photographs. Amazing photos!

        • Not a problem. As a resident myself, I’m glad to see someone with such skill appreciating the beauty to be found in the High Desert. Also, it makes me want to check out some of the sites you photographed, as I live near a couple of them (I’m out in Lake LA).

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