Commuters Rejoice in Hesperia
HESPERIA • The moment was important enough to draw a crowd of more than 1,000 people on the hottest day of the year.
The opening of the Ranchero Underpass was supposed to only happen “when pigs fly.” It was a dream that residents had been talking about ever since Hesperia became an incorporated city 25 years ago.
Congressman Paul Cook was among the speakers at Saturday’s ribbon cutting for the project, and the significance wasn’t lost on him.
“I’m going to go back to Washington, and they’re going to ask, how was Hesperia?” Cook told the crowd. “I’m going to say, ‘They had pigs flying around, they had dogs with shoes and they had a great, great, turnout on the hottest day of the year.’ ”
No pigs took flight, but there was indeed a dog wearing shoes. The canine crossed the finish line with approximately 900 people in a 5K walk/run that preceded the event.
The crowd then gathered and applauded Cook and other speakers, including Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem Thurston “Smitty” Smith, as trains rumbled over the new underpass.
A classic yellow Dodge R/T cut the ribbon as the ceremonial first vehicle to drive through the underpass, and a Ford Fairlane 500 carrying Mayor Bill Holland followed right behind.
With the project’s completion, people who live in southeastern Hesperia no longer have to drive down Main Street to reach Interstate 15.
John Medina said it used to be an arduous journey just to visit his parents, who live on the opposite side of the tracks a few miles away from his Hesperia home. Medina said the trip to his parents’ house will be about 20 minutes shorter.
Longtime Hesperia resident Joe Flores attended the ceremony with his family. He’s looking forward to a shorter work commute.
“I’m so glad I don’t have to leave for work 15 minutes earlier anymore, and I will get home about 15 minutes quicker,” Flores said. “That doesn’t sound like a long time to most, but when you’re tired as heck after work and have to deal with Main Street just to get to the other side of the Mesa, it beats you down.”
Flores and other commuters will have another reason to cheer when work is completed on the Ranchero Road interchange at Interstate 15. Work started in January on the $59 million interchange project, which is scheduled to be complete by 2015.