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$1.3B Widening Project For 91 Freeway Breaks Ground This Week

The $1.3 billion project will relieve congestion on both State Route 91 and Interstate 15.

Traffic on the 91 Freeway.  Patch file photo.
Traffic on the 91 Freeway. Patch file photo.

One of the nation's most congested freeways is slated to get some relief via a widening project that breaks ground Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The $1.3 billion project will relieve congestion on both State Route 91 and Interstate 15 by adding regular lanes, tolled express lanes, auxiliary lanes, and a direct express lane connector from the northbound 15 to the westbound 91. Improvements to interchanges, ramps and surface streets also will be made along the 91 corridor.

Earlier this year, the Budget and Implementation Committee for the Riverside County Transportation Committee approved the project's financing plan, which, among other things, calls for the issuance and sale of up to $475 million in Riverside County Transportation Commission sales tax revenue bonds (limited tax bonds), and up to $275 million in county transportation commission toll revenue bonds.

The plan also includes a $435 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A 2009 Measure A Expenditure Plan approved by Riverside County voters in November 2002 identified SR-91 improvements to be financed using Measure A Western Riverside County highway funds. In November 2010, Riverside County voters increased the Measure A debt limit to $975 million.

According to the RCTC, the sales tax and toll bonds would be issued as fixed, long-term bonds.

The project is adding an estimated 16,200 jobs, according to an RCTC news release.

Although tomorrow’s event celebrates the project’s groundbreaking, full construction begins early next year with completion expected in 2017. The work complements ongoing Interstate 215 construction that includes widening as well as improvements to the SR-60/I-215 interchange.

Click here for RCTC videos on the SR-91 improvements.

Tomorrow’s 11 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony takes on the rooftop of the North Main Corona Metrolink Station Parking Structure, 250 E. Blaine Street, Corona. The RCTC will be hosting the event.

For more information about the 91 Project, visit www.sr91project.info 

Manos Handsoffate December 10, 2013 at 05:19 PM
For $1.3B, this will help some - especially going from the 15 to the 91 in the mornings. But just think what this will do to the Southbound 15 in the afternoons. It already backs up quite a bit when it goes from 4 lanes down to 3 (at El Cerrito Ave), but now they want to dump another lane of traffic into that traffic jam - making it 5 lanes (at Magnolia) going down to 3 (at El Cerrito). They're not planning to start widening the 15 until after 2017, and even then it will only be widened down to Cajalco.
Ken Mayes December 10, 2013 at 09:36 PM
It would make more sense spending 1 1/4 billion creating jobs in the inland empire rather than forcing people to drive for over an hour to get to a job. But then they would lose gas revenue and that can't happen.
Diana December 10, 2013 at 09:37 PM
What they need to do is build another FWY on top if the one that exists, the top freeway is north bound and bottom south bound, that's the only way they're gonna fix this traffic nightmare!!
Bd December 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Ken, I agree. They also don't want to lose their Fastrak bucks to less traffic. This way they're able to reap even more money because the added traffic due to the construction will drive even more people to the toll lanes. If they really want to deal with it quickly and at a lower cost just turn the number 1 and 2 lanes of each direction into a central corridor that switches direction with the commuters. All 4 inner lanes would go west in the morning and then switch to go east in the afternoon using gates. They already do this in Seattle. Problem solved. What's next?
Ken Mayes December 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Diana - Oakland October 17, 1989
julian December 10, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Yes, there is profit in misery. I believe the lanes were originally owned by a european entity (wasn't it a swiss corp) and the county and state make money off taxing the income from the tolls not from the toll themselves. Capitalism at it's finest : Why solve the problem when someone can turn this problem into profit machine by maintaining the status quo turning everyone's misery into profit for a few foreigners and their local lackeys. As a die hard liberal, i find it strange that Ken, who I assume is a republican, is proposing spending the money on "creating local jobs"? I have to ask the obvious, isn't widening the freeway (infrastructure) creating local jobs and thus putting this money into the local economy both in labor and materials? 1 plus billions would build a great college and with it more jobs, but oh no, lets not educate our electorate because the serfs might get smart and upend the ridiculous status quo of the local fiefdom.
Bd December 10, 2013 at 11:05 PM
A great college??? Half the kids in the I.E. are struggling to read and write properly, so a great college isn't going to do them any good at all. It's not about spending more on schools, it's about getting these families to value education in the first place. Once they're motivated to learn, the rest is easy.
Bd December 10, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Julian, Ken can certainly speak for himself, but building a freeway creates temporary jobs, whereas spending the money to attract businesses into our area would lead to longer lasting jobs, the kind that are currently located in O.C. As a liberal I would have thought you'd love to take something away from those wealthy Republicans??? Thought you'd also appreciate that these new jobs were closer to peoples' homes so that they're not commuting for extended periods, harming the environment? Are you sure you're a liberal?
Ken Mayes December 11, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Bd - so right. Freeway construction jobs are temporary. 20% of kids entering college today will actually graduate and of those a large percentage will not find a job fitting their major. Local jobs where people can actually spend time at home rather than 20% of their waking hours on the road burning up fuel, wearing out cars and destroying physical well-being, funny that's sounds like the goal of Agenda 21.
Bd December 11, 2013 at 01:37 AM
I'm one of those daily commuters...Elsinore to Costa Mesa. I've done it for 16 years now and it has certainly taken a toll on my health. Hey, there's another reason that Julian should be onboard for bringing more jobs to the I.E., a reduction in health care expenditures as a result of fewer traffic accidents due to less miles driven, fewer stress-related diseases/disorders, cleaner/healthier air to breathe, etc. BTW, the goals of Agenda 21 seem admirable, it's the implementation that would be disastrous, at least to the lifestyle that we've become accustomed to.

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