FORT IRWIN, May 7 â€“San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Brad Mitzelfelt today was by joined the Garrison Commander of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin to mark the installation of the first emergency call box on Fort Irwin Road.
â€œSoldiers, their families and the civilian employees who work at Fort Irwin deserve to be as safe as possible, especially given the sacrifices they make on behalf of all of us,â€ Supervisor Mitzelfelt said. â€œI have long advocated for call boxes on rural roads, and this marks another step on making travel along Fort Irwin Road much safer for everyone who drives that route.â€
Previously, there was only one call box in the county located on a non-state highway. The first call box on Fort Irwin Road was installed last week and will be one of 32 to be positioned along the road, which runs about 30 miles between Barstow and Fort Irwin. Installation of the remaining boxes should be complete by next week.
Historically, Fort Irwin Road was one of the most hazardous roads in the county, before approximately $22 million in improvements were completed in 2006. In the decade before the improvements were finished, there were 13 fatalities along the road and more than 180 injury accidents. Approximately 5,000 vehicles per day travel on Fort Irwin Road to and from the Army post.
Cell phone coverage is spotty along the route and there are no services between the base and Barstow, meaning there can be major delays in notifying officials about an emergency, or seeking help in the event of a breakdown. The call boxes were positioned based on cell signals. The call boxes are more powerful and have taller antennas, meaning even if a motorist cannot get a cell signal, the call boxes will still function. During collisions cell phones are also often lost or destroyed.