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Our Opinion: A forward bypass

December 03, 2001

The "Brawley Bypass" is an important project, one that could dramatically affect growth and development in Brawley. So we are pleased that the California Department of Transportation has identified its preferred option for the project — an important step toward the bypass becoming a reality.

The project calls for looping Highway 111 north of the city rather than having the highway run traffic through the city's downtown, as it does now. The preferred option would have the highway loop north of the city and connect with Fredricks Road just west of Brawley. Fredricks would then become part of Highway 86.

We agree with Caltrans in selecting Fredricks Road because it is the option that makes the most sense and will best meet the city's needs.

The two other options being considered would have looped the highway farther north of the city. That would be a problem because wherever the highway is built is where development will occur. If the highway were too far outside the city, it would create "spotted growth" and Brawley would likely receive no benefit from any increased sales tax revenue.

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With the Fredricks Road option, development would still occur north of the city, but Brawley could much more easily annex the land upon which the highway would be built. Thus any development — commercial or industrial — could benefit the city.

It has taken a number of years for Caltrans to identify a preferred option. It's an important step because the final actions necessary to start construction now can move forward. Construction on the bypass is expected to start in 2003 and it will be completed in phases. The final phase could be finished in 2007.

We can see a positive future for the city's downtown as traffic is rerouted. While there might be some loss of business as certain restaurants and other establishments move to the highway location, we could see other types of businesses moving downtown and the area booming.

Such a future depends on the Brawley Bypass.

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