Status: Pre-Construction

Location: Western Riverside County

Type of Project: Express Lanes

Location: Interstate 15 between Cajalco Road in Corona and State Route 74 (Central Avenue) in Lake Elsinore

Construction: Could begin as early as 2025

Investment: $550-600 million (estimate for pre-construction, design, construction)


The Riverside County Transportation Commission, in partnership with Caltrans, is conducting preliminary engineering and environmental studies to support an Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment for the proposed Interstate 15 Express Lanes Project Southern Extension.

The proposed project would add capacity by extending the I-15 Express Lanes, currently under construction, by an additional 14.5 miles. The proposed new segment would extend from Cajalco Road in Corona, through Temescal Valley, to State Route 74 (Central Avenue) in Lake Elsinore. The project proposes adding two tolled express lanes in both directions within the I-15 median to accommodate increasing traffic volumes in Riverside County.

Once built, the project would improve traffic operations and travel times, expand travel choice through carpooling and mass transit, increase travel time reliability, manage long-term traffic congestion, provide a cost-effective mobility solution, and expand and maintain compatibility with the regional express lanes network.

Other project features include widening up to 15 bridges, creating multiple express lane entrance and exit points, as well as building noise barriers, retaining walls, drainage systems, and electronic toll collection equipment and signs.

RCTC received $29 million in state funding in 2018 for the preliminary engineering and environmental studies, and work began for this phase of work in fall 2019. Public scoping meetings were held in November 2019. Technical studies are expected to be completed in 2024.

The environmental phase of work will take approximately five years, due to the complexity of the project corridor, which crosses multiple jurisdictions, widens up to 15 bridges, and may affect numerous waterways.

Pending project approval, RCTC expects to use a design-build approach to expedite the delivery of the project. Construction could begin as early as 2025, if RCTC is able to secure funding. The total project cost is estimated to be $550-600 million. RCTC is exploring funding options for construction that may include a combination of federal, state, local, and toll sources.

  • 2007: Caltrans approves 45-mile study of I-15 corridor, Route 60 to Murrieta
  • 2008: RCTC and Caltrans begin planning studies
  • 2009: RCTC receives tolling authority on I-15 from San Bernardino County Line to San Diego County Line
  • 2014: RCTC and Caltrans begin studies on I-15 from Route 60 to Cajalco Road
  • 2016: RCTC and Caltrans approve environmental document for I-15 Express Lanes
  • 2018: RCTC secures funding for I-15 Express Lanes Project Southern Extension (ELPSE) preliminary engineering and environmental studies
  • 2018: Construction begins for I-15 Express Lanes Project
  • 2019: Preliminary engineering and environmental studies begin for I-15 ELPSE to support Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment
  • October 21- November 22, 2019: 30-day public scoping period
  • November 12-14, 2019: Public scoping meetings, Temescal Valley, Corona, Lake Elsinore
  • 2022 (Anticipated): 45-day public review and comment period for Draft Environmental Document for Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment
  • 2024 (Anticipated): Potential Final Environmental Document, pending approval

Scoping Summary

Environmental Documents

Public Scoping Meetings

Thank you to everyone who took part in the I-15 Express Lanes Project Southern Extension public scoping period  from October 21 to November 22, 2019. Caltrans and RCTC will consider all comments received during the scoping period. Videos and information from the online scoping meeting are provided below.

Technical studies are now in progress. The next opportunity for public comment will be in 2022, when the Draft Environmental Document will be available for review. If you haven’t already, please fill in your information in the “Contact Us” tab to be include our project database and to receive updates on the project.

Videos from Scoping Meeting

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