On Tuesday, March 9, Highland City Council approved a revised memorandum of understanding with San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for a joint project to construct an improved State Route 210/Victoria Avenue interchange in Highland.

According to City Engineer Carlos Zamano, the original agreement, signed in 2011, was not executed due to delays relating to San Manuel staffing changes. City staff has been in contact with the new staff at San Manuel, and they are interested in moving the project forward.

After the signing of the 2011 agreement, Caltrans completed a project study review for the construction of a new interchange to relieve traffic congestion on SR-210 entering and exiting Highland and improve regional traffic circulation. The area also serves as a main point of entry and exit for the San Manuel reservation and the San Manuel Casino, which is being expanded into a hotel resort.

In January 2014, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, under contract with Highland, completed a feasibility study to perform additional traffic operational analysis and alternatives evaluation for the new interchange.

According to the renewed agreement, the city of Highland will serve as the California Enviromental Quality Act (CEQA) lead agency, and review of the project approval and environmental documents (PA/ED) will be charged to the Indian Gaming Grant (IGG) received by the city in 2011. The city placed these funds in escrow and the funds have been earning interest. The IGG fund now has a balance of more than $1.27 million. Highland will retain $150,000 for its review of the PA/ED documents and the processing of CEQA documents. San Manuel will use the remaining balance of $1.12 million for the PA/ED phase of the project.

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