Construction on the CV Link could get started soon, as the Coachella Valley Association of Governments has approved a major contract to move ahead with its 2020 construction plans.
The CV Link is a planned alternative travel route people will be able to use to safely walk, run, bike, or drive low-speed electric vehicles, similar to golf carts. When completed, the CV Link will span 40 miles through most of the valley's cities.
The CV Link has been in the works since 2011.
To date, 3.5 miles of the CV Link has been built in Cathedral City and Palm Springs. The city of Palm Desert is leading the construction of an additional 3.5 miles of CV Link in city limits.
The project got a big boost on Monday, clearing the way for construction to start on another 20 miles of the CV Link in 2020.
CVAG approved a $52.733 million with Ames Construction Inc., the lowest qualified bidder for the 2020 construction plans. This would include approximately 13.5 miles of the CV Link in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella as well as unincorporated Riverside County.
Contracts were also authorized for Alta Planning & Design and Terra Nova Planning and Research.
According to CVAG, this stage of construction includes bridges and under crossings, which will allow the CV Link to go under major roadways in order to avoid traditional vehicular traffic
The authorization will also allow Kirk to add almost 3.5 additional miles as right-of-way is finalized.
"This has been a long time coming and construction of this magnitude frankly couldn't come at a better time," CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk said. "The COVID-19 crisis has really shown us how vital it is for a community to have access to safe routes for walking, biking or riding in low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles. CV Link, and active transportation projects like it are wide enough to allow for social distancing while encouraging people stay active and stay healthy."
$29.447 million of the funding for this construction project will be coming from the the Active Transportation Program (ATP) and State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). This was approved by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in January.
Additional funding will be used from CV Link's other funding sources, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Desert Healthcare District/ Foundation.
CVAG hopes that the project will also provide the valley with much needed jobs during these tough times.
The organization cited the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that every dollar spent on infrastructure produced an economic benefit of up to $2.20. In addition, the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers calculated that $1 billion of transportation infrastructure investment supports
13,000 jobs for a year.
CVAG calculates that the $52.7 million investment will produce an economic benefit of over $116 million, and support more than 685 jobs for a year.
"CV Link fulfills a decade-long vision to connect the Coachella Valley with a hiking and biking path," Kirk said. "This will undoubtedly be our single largest phase of construction, and we couldn't have gotten to this point without the support of so many stakeholders here and across the state."
For more on CV Link, go online to www.coachellavalleylink.com.