Interstate 15 Smart Freeway Pilot Project

Status: Pre-Construction

Location: Western Riverside County

Type of Project: Highways

Location: Northbound Interstate 15 from the San Diego/Riverside County Line in Temecula to the 15/215 Interchange in Murrieta

Engineering/Environmental Studies: Anticipated completion spring 2023

Construction: Expected to begin spring 2024

Investment: $25 million (total cost)


RCTC, in partnership with Caltrans, the City of Temecula, and the Western Riverside Council of Governments, is proposing an innovative corridor approach for improved traffic operations on northbound I-15 from the San Diego/Riverside County Line in Temecula to the I-15/I-215 Interchange in Murrieta.

The proposed project will use sensors and “smart” technology to continuously monitor real-time traffic conditions on this eight-mile, non-tolled section of I-15. Severe traffic congestion occurs in this area, due to a high volume of vehicles entering the freeway simultaneously, especially during peak afternoon and evening hours. The project will also use ramp meters that work as a coordinated system that adapts to allow more or fewer vehicles to enter I-15 at any given time from the Temecula Parkway, Rancho California Road, and Winchester Road on-ramps.

Designed as a two-year pilot project, the project is anticipated to improve overall traffic flow and reduce rear-end collisions by maintaining steady travel speeds within the I-15 corridor, without highway expansion and related construction costs and impacts.

Drivers may initially experience short delays on the on-ramps but will gain overall time savings once on the freeway, with fewer stops and starts.

RCTC is conducting engineering and environmental studies, as well as project design. Construction is expected to start in spring 2024.

Engineering, environmental studies, and final design are under way. The construction services contract will go to bid later this year with an award anticipated by spring 2024.

Construction, including installing the ”smart” technology, coordinating the on-ramp signal timing, and placing roadside informational signs, is expected to begin in spring 2024 and should take about a year. Operations may start in 2025 and will continue as a pilot project for two years.

During the pilot period, RCTC and Caltrans will evaluate the project to assess its effect on traffic congestion and determine possible expansion of the program statewide. This schedule is subject to change.

080723 15 Smart Freeway Project Schedule
  • 2019 – RCTC began exploring smart freeway technologies
  • March 2022 – RCTC received $5 million of Community Project Funding in the federal Appropriations Omnibus Bill, through the support of Congressman Ken Calvert. The $5 million allocation will complete the $18 million funding package for the I-15 Smart Freeway Pilot Project.
  • Late 2023 (Anticipated) – Completion of engineering and environmental studies and final design; release of construction bid

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