The Point: Local funding helps deliver safety, traffic relief projects in Riverside County

Originally approved by residents in 1988 and renewed in 2002, the Measure A half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in Riverside County continues to pay dividends. Measure A recently helped close the funding gap for three projects that were ready to begin construction but faced a last-minute shortfall.

“There is no question that Measure A played a significant role in bringing these shovel-ready projects to the starting line,” said RCTC Chair Jan Harnik, who also serves as Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Palm Desert. “The Measure A Western County Regional Arterial funds helped make up the deficit to fully fund these important projects, which will improve driver and pedestrian safety, relieve traffic bottlenecks, and improve air quality in these areas,” she said.

McKinley Street Grade Separation

Earlier this month, RCTC approved $9.89 million to complete funding for the McKinley Street Grade Separation Project in Corona. Senate Bill 132, approved in 2017, provided $84.45 million toward the project, and the City of Corona secured an additional $10.3 million in state funding in 2020. Following the construction bid opening in October, the City identified a shortfall of $14.89 million and contributed an additional $5 million in local funds. The Measure A allocation will make up the funding balance and allow construction to begin this winter.

Led by the City of Corona, the project will build a bridge to elevate McKinley Street over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks and Arlington Channel. The new bridge will relieve congestion, speed up emergency response to residents and businesses, improve air quality, and provide a safer passage for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. For information and to stay connected, visit the project website.

Interstate 15 Main Street Interchange

RCTC also approved Measure A Western County Regional Arterial funds in October for the City of Lake Elsinore’s I-15 Main Street Interchange Improvement Project. Like the McKinley Street project, the Main Street Interchange faced a funding deficit, due to bids that were higher than anticipated. The Commission approved $2.46 million in Measure A funding, in addition to $5.48 million that RCTC approved in June 2020.  The City of Lake Elsinore also contributed $1.7 million in local funds and Caltrans contributed $476,000 toward the project, which is scheduled to start construction next year.

Located along I-15 between Central Avenue/Route 74 to the north and Railroad Canyon Road to the south, the I-15 Main Street Interchange improvements include widening Main Street from two to four lanes, adding ramp meters, improving northbound and southbound on- and off-ramps, and installing traffic signals at the ramp intersections.  The City of Lake Elsinore is leading the project.

Jurupa Road Grade Separation

In addition, RCTC approved $25 million in Measure A funds for the Jurupa Road Grade Separation in Jurupa Valley in July. The allocation provided the final piece of funding for the project, which is funded primarily by $108.4 million from Senate Bill 132. The County of Riverside is the lead agency for the project. Measure A made up a funding shortfall caused by the need to design a pump station for drainage, additional right of way costs, and higher construction costs than originally estimated.

Construction began late this summer and is expected to take about two years to complete. Once it opens, the underpass will cross beneath the train tracks and Van Buren Boulevard and improve safety, traffic flow, and air quality in this area. Regional population growth and rail freight traffic from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have increased congestion and delays at the existing at-grade crossing.

To register for project updates or for more information, visit the project website.