APPLE VALLEY — Town officials have announced the continuation of several road and infrastructure projects amid the COVID-19 pandemic and California’s stay-at-home order.

Town Engineer Brad Miller said Friday that it’s “an ideal time to press forward” with the projects, which include the repair of medians and drainage channels along Highway 18 between Navajo and Central roads.

“It’s a good time to work on them because vehicle and pedestrian traffic has been reduced due to the temporary closures in the area,” said Miller, in a press release.

Designed to heighten pedestrian awareness, the median and drainage improvement project on both sides of Highway 18 will separate the outer highway from the main highway, according to Miller.

The project is expected to enhance the overall aesthetic of the area with reconstructed curb and gutters, stamped concrete, rockscape and repaired portions of the sidewalk and parkway drains, he said.

Motorists in Apple Valley’s Village are urged to use caution as traffic controls and temporary road closures will be in place during construction.

In a public-private partnership, the project’s design was paid for by the Village Property and Business Improvement District Association, the town said.

The cost of the project is just over $1 million, town spokeswoman Charlene Engeron told the Daily Press on Monday.

The development of the Nico Plaza retail center, which includes a new Starbucks drive-thru, will eliminate Outer Highway 18 between Tuscola and Kasota roads, and reroute traffic to Potomac Road, a newly constructed access road situated 400 feet south of the project, according to Miller.

Located across from St. Mary Medical Center, the Nico Plaza project will include new sidewalks where the outer highway was located. Elimination of the outer highway was a condition of development on the project, making the new Potomac Road essential, Miller said.

An additional project is the resurfacing of 35 miles of road within the town, which includes portions of Flathead, Zuni, Pawnee, Standing Rock, Waalew, Wintun and Quinnault roads and South Outer Highway 18.

Funding for the resurfacing project has been appropriated in the proposed Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget, with an anticipated award date of July 14.

On Tuesday night, the Town Council is scheduled to discuss the resurfacing project. The Council is expected to approve documents and direct staff to proceed with advertising for the construction of the project.

The “Safe Routes to Schools” construction project at Rio Vista Elementary School, Mariana Academy, Sandia Academy and Apple Valley High School is also in the works.

On April 14, the Council awarded Christen Brothers General Engineering a contract to construct bike and pedestrian improvements around all three schools. Funding for the nearly $2.9 million award will come from Active Transportation Program funds.

The improvements include new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, ramps and high visibility crosswalks along Sandia and Manhasset roads. Also, the reconstruction of the Class 1 bike path from Apple Valley High School to Tussing Ranch Road, and along Tussing Ranch Road from Navajo Road to Mendel Park, the town said.

“Apple Valley Unified School District is taking the opportunity to start the Safe Routes to School project during the school closures so it will be completed well before the school year begins in August,” Apple Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Zoee Widener in a statement.

Other projects

The realignment of Highway 18 and Apple Valley Road that is scheduled to begin in August and will continue through 2021.

Improving drainage along Tamiani Road, which includes installation of infiltration chambers in the nearby retention basin in the Vineyards housing tract between Nisqually and Yucca Loma roads.

The chambers collect and store stormwater underground until the soil is able to accept it back into the ground, according to water experts.

Drainage improvements on Navajo Road, including the diversion of stormwater into a retention basin at James Woody Park near the corner of Navajo and Powhatan roads.

A signal upgrade on Jess Ranch Parkway that will provide protected left turns into the Jess Ranch Marketplace.

Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, or by email at Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.