The Point: New Lanes to Improve Safety and Mobility; Lanes Set to Open Summer 2022

It’s a changing landscape along Route 60 in the Riverside County “Badlands.” The Riverside County Transportation Commission began construction of the Route 60 Truck Lanes between Gilman Springs Road and Jack Rabbit Trail in June 2019, and a great deal has changed along this formerly very narrow roadway. The project is now 60% completed, with the new lanes expected to open in summer 2022.

The project is adding a truck lane in both directions to this 4.5-mile section of highway. The new lanes will separate big rigs from passenger vehicles with the new far-right lane dedicated to trucks. In addition, the project is widening the roadway shoulders and adding 18 feet of unpaved exterior shoulders by removing portions of hillside to create a safer drive through this curving corridor.

“This focus of this project is safety,” said RCTC Chair and Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik. “With the work that has been completed so far, we already have a wider and safer way to travel between the desert communities and Riverside. It’s been exciting to see how much progress our crews have made so far,” she said.

Crews have paved the new westbound alignment and are preparing to pave the eastbound roadbed. Other ongoing work has included building 123 drainage systems, nearly 2 million cubic yards of dirt, and constructing two large wildlife crossings to provide safe passage for animals beneath Route 60.

The project has had its share of challenges. One westbound lane was fully closed from August 2019 to March 2020 to excavate the steep hillsides. During excavation, sections of slopes were unstable, which required a full closure of westbound Route 60 and a lane closure on eastbound 60 for crews to safely remove giant boulders in October 2019.

More recently, crews have been repairing sections of roadway damaged by winter rains on both the westbound and eastbound lanes. Another challenge has been unsafe drivers who exceed the 55 mile per hour speed limit, despite enhanced traffic enforcement by the San Gorgonio Pass CHP.

Despite the challenges, the project is on schedule to open in summer 2022 to offer a new safer route for travel.

Funding for the $113 construction effort is provided by a combination of federal, state, and local sources, including Measure A, the half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in Riverside County.

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