The Point: Project will fully connect 15 Express Lanes, 91 Express Lanes

With the opening of the 15 Express Lanes on April 10, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, in partnership with Caltrans, is immediately pivoting to build the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector, a new facility to seamlessly link the new 15 Express Lanes and the 91 Express Lanes. Construction starts Monday night, April 19.

Once completed, drivers from the eastbound 91 Express Lanes can connect to the northbound 15 Express Lanes, and drivers from the southbound 15 Express Lanes can connect to the westbound 91 Express Lanes. This connector was originally part of the Route 91 Corridor Improvement Project that opened in 2017, but a downturn in the economy limited available funding and required the 91 Project to be reduced in scope and postponed construction of the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector until now.

Senate Bill 132 provided $180 million of the $270 million project cost.  The remaining $90 million is provided by toll revenue from the 91 Express Lanes. The project is estimated to provide 2,300 jobs.

“RCTC is excited to have opened the 15 Express Lanes earlier this month, and we are wasting no time starting work on yet another traffic solution, the much-needed 15/91 Express Lanes Connector,” said RCTC Chair and Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik. “As we emerge from the pandemic and see more vehicles back on the road, this project will be an essential new travel option for drivers in northwest Riverside County,” she said.

The express connector, which will be part of a tolled system, will offer reliable, convenient travel for residents of Corona, Norco, Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, and points north in San Bernardino County. Express buses also will be able to use the new lanes. In addition to the new connector, the project will extend an outside lane on eastbound 91 through the I-15 interchange to the Promenade overcrossing. This extension will also shift the eastern end of the 91 Express Lanes approximately one-half mile from its current end point to help with vehicle merging in this area.

Project benefits include:

  • Reduced traffic congestion and improved operations
  • Enhanced safety
  • Seamless connection and greater travel time reliability between toll systems

Throughout the project, motorists will see periodic nighttime closures of lanes and connectors as well as traffic shifts between the general-purpose lanes and express lanes to provide room for construction. Shoulders also will be closed, and Freeway Service Patrol trucks will roam the area to help stranded motorists. Four single-direction weekend closures will be needed in 2022 and 2023 for crews to place and later remove temporary construction support structures, known as falsework, above the roadway.

Motorists may stay connected by signing up for construction updates using the Contact Us page at rctc.org/15-91connector or by texting “Connector” to 844-771-0995. Updates also are available on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @1591connector and by calling the project helpline, 844-415-9777.