What is the progress of the Olancha Cartago Four-Lane Project?

[By: Melissa Maddux, Contributor]

Olancha-Cartago four-lane project (photo submitted by Michael Lingberg, Caltrans Public Information Officer, District 9)

In 2017, the Olancha/Cartago Four-Lane project moved into the right of way and design phases, said Michael Lingberg, construction public information officer for Caltrans District 9. According to the Caltrans website, construction is set to begin in October of 2021, with an estimated completion of the project in late 2023 or early 2024. It is important to pay attention to the Caltrans website, as it will consistently be updated before and during the project, said Lingberg.

The north and south boundaries of the project are an “area from between four miles south of Olancha to four miles north of Cartago on U.S. Highway 395,” said Lingberg. The total cost of the project is $83 million, which will be funded by the following organizations: Inyo and Mono counties’ Local Transportation Commissions, Kern Council of Governments, and Caltrans with State Transportation Improvement Funds, said Lingberg.

Matt Kingsley, Inyo County Fifth District Supervisor

In a phone interview with Matt Kingsley, fifth district supervisor of Inyo County, said he is “in support of doing something to make it safer,” when referring to the two-lane section in Olancha/Cartago. Kingsley mentioned the several deaths that resulted in that area over the past couple of years. At the same time, Kingsley said that due to COVID it has made it more difficult to engage with people in person. “I do think one of the benefits coming from the pandemic [is that] we are learning to use remote meetings like Zoom, which I hope to continue to use in the future. To engage with communities spread throughout the fifth district [and] the challenge is to make sure all our communities have broadband internet access to use these platforms,” said Kingsley.