The Point: Project will help traffic flow between Cajalco Road, Weirick Road

Accelerating construction.  Planning ahead. Reinvesting in the I-15 corridor.

With the completion of the 15 Express Lanes in sight, RCTC Commissioners voted October 14 to fund a new project to improve a traffic hot-spot on southbound I-15 from Cajalco Road to Weirick Road in south Corona and Temescal Valley.

Once the 15 Express Lanes opens, I-15 will narrow from five lanes to three lanes at Cajalco Road to match the current lanes in this area

The 15 Corridor Operations Project – or 15 COP – will add a non-tolled lane on southbound I-15 from the Cajalco Road on-ramp to the Weirick Road off-ramp, a segment slightly less than one mile. The project will widen the existing I-15 median, shift vehicles to this new pavement, and convert the existing outside lane to a new travel lane. In addition, the 15 COP will widen the Bedford Canyon Wash Bridge.

Funding for the $38.3 million project is provided by $25 million of unspent budget from the 15 Express Lanes Project, due to effective cost management. The remaining $13.3 million will be from federal funds.

“Southbound I-15 motorists have spoken loud and clear for years that they need more relief,” said RCTC Chair and Wildomar City Council Member Ben J. Benoit. “The RCTC Commission agreed and we took action to accelerate improvements that will make a difference. Thanks to RCTC’s staff, we have funds remaining from the current 15 Express Lanes Project to keep moving south.”

“We are putting local voter-approved transportation dollars to work on a project that will take a bite out of Riverside County’s traffic congestion. We still have more work to do, but opportunities like this to advance savings from one project and roll it forward to the next improvement is a win for the community,” said RCTC Commissioner and First District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries.

RCTC has adopted an aggressive schedule for engineering, environmental studies, project design, and construction. Work should break ground in mid-2023, and the new lane could open in late 2024.

The project is designed to offer interim traffic congestion relief in this section of I-15 before the opening of a longer-term project, the 15 Express Lanes Southern Extension ­– or 15 ELPSE – in approximately 2028. RCTC is conducting technical studies for the 15 ELPSE, which would add express lanes in both directions in the median of I-15 between Cajalco Road and Route 74/Central Avenue in Lake Elsinore.

Building the 15 COP follows RCTC’s strategy of making localized improvements after the 91 Express Lanes opened in Riverside County in 2017. Once those lanes opened, several areas of local congestion occurred, and RCTC made operational to improve traffic flow, including a new westbound lane between Green River Road and Route 241.

To sign up for 15 COP project updates, visit