The Point: Long-awaited construction in Lake Elsinore to start late this spring

Construction of the Interstate 15 Railroad Canyon Road Interchange in Lake Elsinore moved another step forward on March 11 with RCTC’s selection of a contractor for this long-awaited project. The Commission awarded the $29 million contract to Riverside Construction Company, which was the lowest bidder from a field of 11.

RCTC is building the project in partnership with Caltrans and the City of Lake Elsinore to serve the needs of the area’s growing population and recreational visitors.

Benefits and features include:

  • Safety: Building new auxiliary lanes on I-15 to help drivers enter and exit the highway and reduce traffic back-ups
  • Capacity: Adding 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: Replacing the northbound diamond off-ramp with a hook-style on-ramp and off-ramp that both connect to Grape Street
  • Clean Air: Reducing the number of idling vehicles waiting to enter/exit I-15, which will improve air quality
  • Access: Constructing sidewalks and bike lanes along Railroad Canyon Road

Construction of the project is expected to start in late spring and the new interchange is expected to open by late 2022. The project took nearly 20 years to get to the starting line, due to environmental approvals, design variations, and challenges to secure funding. The state gasoline tax is providing $15 million toward the cost of construction, and Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fees, also known as developer fees, are funding more than $17 million.

“It’s about time,” said Commissioner Robert “Bob” Magee, who also serves as a Lake Elsinore City Council Member. “We are relieved and excited that work is finally on the horizon. This project will increase safety, capacity, traffic flow, clean air, and access for Lake Elsinore drivers and visitors. Please be patient while we build this new interchange.”

During construction, drivers should expect periodic closures to lanes and ramps, slow down, allow extra travel time, watch for construction crews and equipment, be aware of changing conditions, follow detours, and stay connected through the project’s communication channels: