Baker gets its first traffic signal

Baker is best known as the gateway to Death Valley, touting the world’s tallest thermometer, a handful of gas stations and the tasty gyros served at The Mad Greek restaurant.

Now, the popular pit stop between Las Vegas and Los Angeles can boast its first traffic signal. A switch was unceremoniously flipped at noon Monday, in front of the Baker Travel Plaza on the north end of town.

“This makes Baker a grown-up town,” said Clark Bryner, president of Baker’s Community Services District.

Almost.

For now, motorists will encounter only flashing red lights when they roll off the southbound Interstate 15 onto Baker Boulevard. San Bernardino Public Works officials said they hope to install the necessary parts within the next two weeks to have a fully functioning signal where the main drag meets Caltrans Avenue.

“I thought something looked different,” John Gonzalez of Upland said while fueling his car.

With help from the new signal, Ravi Grewal said he expects to see a 10 percent to 15 percent jump in business at his Baker Travel Plaza, a 10,000-square-foot oasis with a gas station, a convenience store and five fast-food restaurants.

“Most of the people have to stop here, and the customers will have everything they need right here,” said Grewal, who paid about $250,000 to install the traffic signal as a condition to get his business permit — roughly half of what San Bernardino County wanted to charge him.

The long journey to get Baker’s first stoplight started shortly after Grewal opened his rest stop four years ago. A contractor was hired, then promptly fired for not getting the work done.

Several other companies were offered the job but turned down the chance to be a part of local history.

“Nobody wants to come out here because it’s too far from everything,” Baker Travel Plaza manager Nono Khosa said.

Khosa and Grewal finally came across Northstar Electric Inc. of Las Vegas, which agreed last year to install the light poles, signal heads and necessary wiring. Northstar’s crew spent most of Monday morning testing the lights and making final adjustments to the fixtures.

“It’s so far and remote, so getting material and equipment out here was a challenge and the work hours were crazy,” said Omid Moattar, Northstar Electric’s vice president of operations.

“But it’s a job,” Moattar said. “And we got it done.”

Almost immediately after the signal started flashing red lights on Tuesday, vehicles backed up along the I-15 offramp to Baker Boulevard. On average, 7,829 vehicles exit here daily, according to San Bernardino County’s Public Works Department.

“Lots of times you see car after car, especially during busy holiday weekends,” said Le Hayes, the former general manager of Baker’s Community Services Department. “Now you have a red light that will stop everyone in their tracks,” Hayes said. “I’m afraid there’s going to be some pretty major accidents.”

A new sign was installed to warn drivers that a signal is coming up. Cameras mounted on top of the poles will help trigger the lights.

“I’m really happy we finally have this signal,” Khosa said. “But I don’t think people will stop here to take pictures like they do with the thermometer.”

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like