The Lancaster City Council Tuesday approved two of five transportation improvement funding agreements and construction is projected to begin on the first project in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The two agreements are the first of five proposed enhancement opportunities resulting from recommendations made during the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Planning and Programming Committee meeting of Sept. 19, 2012. Three others will be voted on in the near future.

During the Sept. 19 meeting, $200 million in Measure R funding was designated for improvements on State Road 138, and were programmed for the widening of State Road 138 east of Palmdale to the Los Angeles County boundary.

Ultimately, however the widening project was instead funded with Local Surface Transportation Funds, which left the Measure R funds available for other improvements along SR-138. Among the several improvements for the city of Lancaster, these two were under immediate consideration—the State Road 14 interchanges at Avenue M and Avenue K.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to improve transportation corridors in the City of Lancaster along the 14 Freeway,” stated Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist. “Our community is fortunate to be able to benefit from Measure R, particularly during this time when funds from any source continue to be tight.”

Crist, Councilmember Ken Mann, and Lancaster city staff advocated for the projects in Lancaster at a joint transportation meeting between the MTA and members of the North County Transportation Coalition (NCTC).

NCTC consists of the cities of Lancaster, Palmdale, and Santa Clarita, as well as the County of Los Angeles. Since State Road 138 shares the same alignment as State Road 14 through Lancaster, city officials proposed improvements to the interchanges at Avenue M, Avenue L, Avenue K, Avenue J, and Avenue G. In total, these projects will cost $65 million over the next six to eight years, and will be totally funded by MTA Measure R Highway Equity funds.

The city of Lancaster will serve as the lead agency on construction of all five of the interchanges, although both Avenue M and Avenue G are in multiple jurisdictions. Avenue M resides in Lancaster (50 percent), Palmdale (25 percent), and the County of Los Angeles (25 percent). Avenue G resides equally in Lancaster and the County of Los Angeles.

The specific improvements and solutions to be implemented at each interchange are yet to be defined. However, enhancements are expected to encompass upgrade of local streets in the immediate vicinity. Interchange traffic signals and other traffic control elements, landscaping, intersection modifications to local streets, pedestrian and cycling pathways are mong the other changes to be considered.

Upon approval of the proposed funding agreements, construction is anticipated at each interchange as shown below: Avenue K in fiscal year 2017-18; Avenue M in FY2018-19; Avenues G, J and L in 2019-20.