The road rage began last year when Caltrans began widening California 138, a main east-west route in Southern California’s fast-growing high desert region. Motorists angry at construction delays threatened road workers and damaged equipment. Two workers were hit by cars and a third was shot with a BB gun. Someone threw a burrito at flagmen. One motorist threatened to climb a water tower and shoot workers with a rifle. Now in an unprecedented response to ill will, Caltrans will close a portion of the highway beginning Monday to complete the project, reports the Los Angeles Times.
California 138 connects two of Southern California’s fastest-growing areas – the Antelope Valley communities of Palmdale and Lancaster and Inland Empire’s high desert region. But the rural highway has become a major commuter route, and that has caused problems. “This is growing pains,” said Dennis Green, a Caltrans consultant on the $44-million widening project. “People here are not used to having congestion like they had in Los Angeles. It’s here now, and they’re having to learn how to cope with it.”