After at least 40 years in the making, the Singleton Road-Bryant Street extension is open, allowing those who live in upper Yucaipa and Calimesa to connect without traveling down to Calimesa Boulevard.
Bryant Street is now an open thoroughfare between Singleton Road in Calimesa and Highway 38 in Yucaipa.
“I still have people who are doubting this,” Councilman Jeff Cervantez said before the grand opening on Thursday, Nov. 7. “People said, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
They can believe it. By now, they may have even driven through it.
Calimesa Mayor Bill Davis had the honor of driving the first vehicle through the new road, near the Singleton Heights and JP Ranch residential developments. For the grand occasion, he brought out his 1928 Ford Model A and asked his friend, Claire Marie Teeters, to join him. Others in attendance, who included Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, other Calimesa councilmembers and city officials, and dignitaries from the Yucaipa Valley Water District and city of Yucaipa, followed behind, creating a parade of vehicles.
“I think it is really a great thing,” said Calimesa Mayor Pro Tem Linda Molina. “A test of time will be if the traffic is unmanageable. But it just opens up possibilities for further development to enhance everybody’s lives.”
When Davis first moved to his home, which is near the connection, he heard about the road possibly going through. That was back in the early 1980s.
“I told them, ‘I don’t think that is ever going to happen.’ But, it did,” Davis said. “That (road) has been discussed for probably … over 40 years, maybe 50 years. Hyatt, he was always wanting that open. That was a big thing with him.”
Davis was referring to late Councilman Jim Hyatt, who liked to tell the tale of when he first visited Calimesa back in the 1960s and how even then a paved connection between Singleton and Bryant was being discussed.
“Any day now,” Hyatt said he was told about when the road would be completed.
He recounted that at a council meeting in March, when Public Works Director Lori Askew announced construction for the extension was finally underway. With the drainage improvements complete and approvals in place, Askew expected the connection to be finished soon.
“It’s going to be pretty quick I think,” she said at the time.
Eight months later the official ribbon cutting took place.
“I just wanted to thank everybody who worked tirelessly on making this project happen,” Cervantez said. “Rumor is it’s been in the works for 40 years … I am not sure how accurate that is, but be that as it may, this is an important project for our city, especially those on the east end of Calimesa.”
“Not only for those in our city, but for our whole region,” he said. “I really am convinced this is going to be a main thoroughfare.”
Completion of the extension finally began to move forward in December 2018, when a cooperative agreement between the city, Riverside County Flood and Water Conservation District and builder Highpointe was approved. The city and county district will maintain the road, which crosses the Garden Air Wash and required the drainage improvements.
Highpointe was responsible for constructing the connection as part of its approval process to build the final phase of homes in JP Ranch. Highpointe, however, transferred its obligation under the agreement to D.R. Horton, who purchased the remaining 121 lots in JP Ranch.
A couple of days after the ribbon cutting, Molina said she was already enjoying the new road’s benefits.
“It shaved 10 minutes off of my travel time,” she said about attending a meeting in Beaumont.