Relief for those who travel on frequently-snarled Interstate 215 in Murrieta is not so far off.
The Interstate 215 widening project in Murrieta is on schedule and expected to be complete by this summer, the Riverside County Transportation Commission said Monday.
in February 2011, construction started last spring on the six-mile stretch between Murrieta Hot Springs and Scott roads. The project will add a lane in each direction between the two exits.
The $33-million project—also known as the I-215 South Project—has created about 594 jobs, providing a boost to the local economy, according to a newsletter update provided by RCTC.
Motorists were reminded that the construction zone speed limit will remain at 55 mph for the duration of the project. Drivers were asked to take caution at night and in rainy weather, to allow extra time for traveling through the area, and to avoid distractions such as cell phones.
"RCTC and project partner Caltrans have been working to minimize the effects of the project on motorists by scheduling lane closures only when necessary and limiting the closures to nighttime hours when possible," the newsletter stated.
crews began by improving drainage systems, installing electrical connections and adjusting the freeway grade to prepare for the addition of new lanes to the freeway, RCTC said.
This fall, crews began paving the new freeway lanes, repairing existing lanes and widening the Keller Road Undercrossing. With the new year, crews will continue to pave the new freeway lanes and repair existing lanes, and will build a median lane barrier, according to the update.
Landscape improvements to the Los Alamos and Clinton Keith ramps to and from Interstate 215—a city of Murrieta project—are also slated to be complete by August 2012.
Down The Road
Also planned is the I-215 Central Project, which will add a lane in each direction between Scott Road in Murrieta and Nuevo Road in Perris. Design work is expected to wrap up on that 12.5-mile stretch of freeway late this year, according to RCTC.
The estimated project cost is $143 million and is forecast to provide 2,160 jobs. Contingent on funding, the project may start at that time and take about three years.
The projects are part of a series of improvements that RCTC is either leading or is partnering with along I-215. Partner agencies include the cities of Murrieta, Temecula and Menifee, Riverside County, the Federal Highway Administration and California Department of Transportation.
Both the State Route 60/ Interstate 215 East Junction Interchange Project in Moreno Valley and Riverside and the widening of the 74/215 Interchange in Perris are under construction now.
Future planning will include the widening I-215 north of Perris, which remains an important project to the region, according to the newsletter.
RCTC said it continues to look for opportunities to move forward on this project as the state works through its ongoing budget challenges. RCTC said project development will begin for the widening of I-215 between Nuevo Road and the 60/215 East Junction when a clearer financial picture emerges from Sacramento.
The project would add a carpool lane in each direction to a 10.75-mile section of I-215—the northernmost section of RCTC’s widening efforts along this freeway. A westbound auxiliary lane also is planned on State Route 60 to improve traffic merging.
Once completed, RCTC said I-215 improvements are expected to ease traffic congestion and delays, improve connections between neighboring counties, reduce gasoline consumption, enhance air quality and support goods movement through the region.
RCTC is governed by a 31-member commission that includes a mayor or council member from each of Riverside County’s cities, the Board of Supervisors and a non-voting appointee of the Governor.
RCTC allocates state and federal transportation funds in Riverside County and plans and implements region-wide projects funded under the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF), a fee paid by new development to mitigate new transportation demands caused by growth, according to Rctc.org.
City Councilman Rick Gibbs represents Murrieta on the commission.