The Point: CTC awards funding for truck lanes in the “Badlands”

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) awarded $71.55 million to the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) today to partner with Caltrans to build truck lanes and safe shoulders on State Route 60 in the “Badlands” area of unincorporated Riverside County between Moreno Valley and Beaumont.  In addition to the Route 60 Project, the County of Riverside is also receiving $7.3 million for the widening of Temescal Canyon Road south of Corona.

This allocation of state funding is the final amount needed to complete the funding package for the $138 million Route 60 Truck Lanes Project. Funding is provided by a combination of $47 million in federal sources, $80 million in state sources, and $11 million from Measure A, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in Riverside County.

The CTC’s action to complete the overall funding for the project with the $71.55 million allocation allows RCTC to begin advertising for construction bids this fall. Construction is estimated to start in the summer of 2019. Work should take about 2.5 years to complete.

The project will add an eastbound truck-climbing lane and a westbound truck-descending lane along a 4.5-mile stretch of Route 60 from Gilman Springs Road to 1.4 miles west of Jack Rabbit Trail. The truck lanes are designed to enhance safety and improve traffic flow along this steep, curvy roadway, which is hampered by collisions that cause delays, injuries, and fatalities. Accident rates on westbound Route 60 in this area are more than double the total statewide accident rates. Eastbound Route 60 accident rates are higher than the statewide average.

The road is currently two lanes in both directions; the new lanes will allow slower moving trucks to stay to the right and allow faster vehicles to pass. The project also will upgrade the freeway shoulders to standard widths — 10 feet on the inside shoulders and 12 feet on the outside shoulders.

“This is positive and important news for Riverside County, because we have waited far too long for these needed safety improvements,” said Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley.  “This project will save lives and I’m grateful for the action by the CTC to fund this project.”

Environmental review of the project was completed in 2016 and challenged in state court by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, Friends of the Northern San Jacinto Valley, and Residents for a Livable Moreno Valley leading to a delay in the project. A settlement was reached last month, allowing the project to proceed.

Riverside County also will receive from $7.3 million from the state for the widening of Temescal Canyon Road from Dos Lagos Road to Leroy Road as well as an additional segment north of Dawson Canyon.  This gap closure project will widen Temescal Canyon Road from two to four lanes, add bike lanes and provide curb and gutter improvements where needed.

For project information, please visit www.rctc.org.

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