County Installs Call Boxes Along Treacherous Stretch Of Fort Irwin Road

FORT IRWIN—One of the most remote and dangerous stretches of highway in the county is being made a little less remote and somewhat more safe as 32 call boxes are now being installed along Fort Irwin Road.
The 30 miles of asphalt linking  Barstow to Fort Irwin cuts through a particularly unforgiving portion of the desert and the road is statistically one of the most deadly corridors in both the Mojave Desert and San Bernardino County.
Historically, Fort Irwin Road has been a hazard because it was less than heavily travelled and accident victims often perished before help could arrive. Now, as many as 5,000 vehicles traverse the road in both directions daily, which on the positive side lessens the chance that accident victims will languish without notice for an extended period. But the more intense use of the highway as also upped the frequency of serious mishaps.
In this day and age, safety is usually enhanced by the ubiquitous presence of cell phones. Unfortunately, along much of Fort Irwin Road cell phone reception is hit and miss because of the scarcity of cell phone towers in the region and line of signal obstructions because of the curvature of the earth.
Using  $41,276 provided by call box fees that are paid on all vehicle registrations, the county is erecting the boxes at strategically placed spots along the road. The call boxes incorporate higher-than-normal antennas to enable their signals to reach the region’s communication towers.
The call boxes can also be used by stranded motorists whose cars have broken down or given out in the oftentimes higher-than-100 degree heat of the Mojave.
The Fort Irwin Road boxes are among the first to be installed on a non-state or non-federal highway in San Bernardino County.

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