RCTC I15/Railroad Canyon Interchange Project Map Graphic

Status: Completed

Location: Western Riverside County

Type of Project: Interchanges

Location: Interstate 15 Railroad Canyon Road, Lake Elsinore

Construction: May 2020 to summer 2022

Investment: $41 million (construction)


The Riverside County Transportation Commission, in partnership with Caltrans and the City of Lake Elsinore, upgraded the Interstate 15 Railroad Canyon Interchange in Lake Elsinore.

The project was built to address the needs of the area’s growing number of residents and recreational visitors. The project also was designed to improve traffic flow for people traveling to and from Canyon Lake. Benefits and features included:

  • Safety: Built auxiliary lanes on I-15 to help drivers enter and exit the highway and reduce traffic back-ups
  • Capacity: Added two new lanes on Railroad Canyon Road through the interchange and new lanes to the on-ramps and off-ramps with I-15
  • Traffic Flow: Replaced the northbound diamond off-ramp with hook-style on– and off-ramps that both connect to Grape Street
  • Cleaner Air: Reduced the number of idling vehicles waiting to enter/exit I-15, for improved air quality
  • Access: Constructed sidewalks and bike lanes along Railroad Canyon Road

 Construction began in May 2020 and the new interchange opened in April 2022. Project closeout work continued through summer 2022.

Construction began in May 2020 and the new interchange opened in April 2022. Project closeout work continued through summer 2022.

  • 2000: City of Lake Elsinore and Caltrans conducted a Project Study Report. Five alternatives and a no-build alternative were approved in the PSR in 2003.
  • 2006: A Value Analysis Study was performed to evaluate each alternative.
  • 2008: A Traffic Impact Analysis Study was completed, which identified four traffic scenarios. An Alternative Reduction Workshop was held and three alternatives were advanced for further study. The Federal Highway Administration provided suggestions to improve two alternatives, and in 2009, the City of Lake Elsinore and Caltrans eliminated the third remaining alternative.
  • 2013: City of Lake Elsinore requested that RCTC manage the project on its behalf.
  • 2017: Caltrans released the Draft Environmental Document. After comments were received, Caltrans selected Alternative 2, which consisted of construction of the interchange with hook ramps at Grape Street. The Federal Highway Administration approved the project’s Finding of No Significant Impact.
  • May 2018: RCTC received the balance of project funding through the California Transportation Commission’s allocation of $15 million in gas tax revenue; project became fully funded.
  • May 2018-2020: Right of way acquisition
  • October 2019: Final design completed
  • March 2020: Construction contract awarded
  • May 2020: Construction began
  • July 2021: Presentation to Lake Elsinore City Council – One year milestone
  • April 2022: New interchange opened ahead of schedule

For questions related to the I-15 Railroad Canyon Interchange Project, please email