The Point: Slow down and keep our construction crews safe

With fewer people on the road due to stay-at-home orders, some drivers are putting the pedal to the metal on Riverside County highways, placing construction crews and other motorists in danger.

The California Highway Patrol reported an 87 percent increase statewide in motorists cited for traveling more than 100 miles per hour between mid-March and mid-April.

On April 17, a driver entered the I-15 Express Lanes Project construction site faster than 100 mph, narrowly missing construction crew members and causing considerable damage to work on the Santa Ana River Bridge.

To encourage drivers to slow down, the Riverside County Transportation Commission is working with Caltrans and the CHP to implement a construction zone safety campaign. Earlier this month, RCTC funded an additional CHP officer to patrol the construction zone for the 15 Project. During the first three weeks, one motorist received a citation for exceeding 100 mph and 124 motorists were cited for traveling faster than 65 mph. Traffic fines are doubled in construction zones.

RCTC also hosted a virtual news conference last week with Commission Chair Ben Benoit, San Gorgonio Pass CHP Commander Mike Alvarez, and Caltrans District Director Mike Beauchamp, who all urged motorists to reduce their speeds, especially within construction zones signed for 55 mph.

“Construction is continuing on our RCTC projects, including the I-15 Express Lanes in Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Norco and Corona, the Route 60 Truck Lanes between Moreno Valley and Beaumont, and the Pachappa Underpass in Riverside.

Soon we will be starting work on the I-15 Railroad Canyon Road Interchange in Lake Elsinore,” Benoit said. “Everyone, please slow down. Our crews are out there. Help keep them safe.”

RCTC also has placed billboard messages, developed videos, and posting on social media to remind drivers that less traffic is no license to speed.