County Buys Desert Quarry For Access & Road Material

The board of supervisors this week approved the acquisition of 80 acres located
in the Mojave Desert adjacent to National Trails Highway near Ludlow, consisting of an existing quarry, for $500 an acre.
According to a report to the board of supervisors jointly authored by county real estate division director Terry Thompson and county public works division director Gerry Newcombe, the acquisition of the Ludlow Quarry will put the county in possession of “an 80-acre mine with ingress/egress over approximately a half mile road traveling southerly over the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands which lead to the National Trails Highway (Historic Route 66) and Interstate 40. The current property owner, Granite Construction Company (GCC), has ingress/egress permission along a BLM-owned road. These same permissions will be granted to the County by the BLM
after close of escrow (per assurances by the BLM).
The National Trails Highway is a two-lane road of historical significance, with local and regional circulation importance. Due to the primarily undeveloped nature of the region, very few circulation options are available to travelers through the area, as well as local residents. It is also a critical alternate route when Interstate 40, a goods-movement corridor, experiences unanticipated emergency closures which occur periodically due to serious collisions, freeway construction, or storms.
GCC is selling the property because it had previously planned to utilize quarry materials for a project in Nevada. Because GCC was not awarded the project, GCC no longer needs to retain ownership of the quarry and has therefore expressed an interest in selling it. The department of public work’s transportation division examined the quarry and determined it would satisfy a specific need and would provide cost saving benefits
to the road maintenance in this remote area.
As part of routine maintenance, the department of public works transportation division makes repairs to National Trails Highway due to storm damage consisting of debris cleanup, shoulder washouts, bridge damage and roadway asphalt damage. The most extensive damage that occurs with larger storms include large sections of asphalt roadway surface; heavily eroded earth shoulders; and replacing earth material behind
bridge abutments and wing walls that can be washed away. Due to the remote area, the property requires minimal maintenance and oversight. Road crews will operate the site on an as-needed basis as road material is needed for repairs or as material is needed to be stockpiled.
A market analysis was performed and it was determined that the agreed upon purchase price of $40,000 is reasonable within the market. In an effort to identify local material sources for the repair of the roadway, the county public works division is pursuing the acquisition of local properties that have historically been used and permitted as quarries. The recommended acquisition will provide county public works with one quarry in the Ludlow area as a source of roadway materials close to the National Trails Highway.

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