The Point:  Coordination will reduce costs, time and construction effects on 91 drivers

RCTC and its partners in Orange County and at Caltrans have reached agreement on a set of high priority improvements on Routes 91 and 241 to reduce traffic congestion over the next several years.

Local leaders serving on the boards of directors of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA, also known as “The Toll Roads”), the Orange County Transportation Authority, RCTC, and the executive leadership of Caltrans, agreed to coordinate construction of four projects to reduce overall costs, the time to build the projects, and the impact of construction activity on residents, businesses, and motorists.

“Reaching this agreement is a milestone for our agencies and provides a roadmap for traffic congestion relief along Route 91 in Riverside County and Orange County,” said RCTC Immediate Past Chair and Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington. “Our area transportation agencies are working together to improve one of the worst corridors in southern California and to provide traffic relief that our residents desperately need,” he said.

Upcoming projects include:

  • 91 Corridor Operations Project – RCTC will add a regular, general-purpose lane on westbound 91 from the westbound Green River Road on-ramp to Route 241. This project was created in 2018 and accelerated in response to Riverside County residents and local leaders. Environmental studies and design are underway with construction scheduled to begin in the second half of 2020. RCTC anticipates the new lanes will open by the end of 2021.
  • 15/91 Express Lanes Connector – RCTC will build a direct connector from the eastbound 91 Express Lanes to the northbound 15 Express Lanes, and from the southbound 15 Express Lanes to the westbound 91 Express Lanes. A design-build contract is expected to be awarded this spring. Construction should begin in 2021 and the tolled connector is planned to open in 2023.
  • 71/91 Connector – RCTC will build a two-lane direct connector from eastbound Route 91 to northbound Route 71. The project also will improve the link between the eastbound 91 Green River Road on-ramp and the 71/91 Interchange. Design updates are under way to meet new Caltrans structure standards. Construction may start in 2021, with the new non-tolled connector expected to open by 2023.
  • 241/91 Express Connector – TCA will fund and Caltrans will build this new tolled connector to link the northbound 241 Toll Road to the eastbound 91 Express Lanes and the westbound 91 Express Lanes to the southbound 241 Toll Road. Construction may begin in 2023 and is not contingent upon completion of the 71/91 Connector described above.

The agreement also notes that the agencies will evaluate the future addition of a sixth regular, general-purpose lane on eastbound 91 between Route 241 and Route 71, as well as a third westbound 91 Express Lane in Orange County approaching Route 241.

All four agencies have also agreed to their respective responsibilities for funding, pre-construction activities, construction, and operations and maintenance of the new transportation facilities.