The Point: New jobs coming, thanks to public support for project

Construction of the 71/91 Interchange in Corona is finally on the way with the last piece of funding approved by the California Transportation Commission on December 2. The Riverside County Transportation Commission applied multiple times for state and federal funding for the project and its persistence paid off with the award of $58.1 million from state gas tax revenue.

The interchange improvement is part of the Riverside County voter-approved Measure A transportation improvement plan, which partially funds the project. The December 2 allocation secures the remaining funds needed to rebuild the interchange and adds about 1,500 construction-related jobs, helping with Riverside County’s economic recovery.

“This funding is long overdue and needed, so this is welcome news for our Riverside County residents,” said RCTC Chair and Wildomar City Council Member Ben J. Benoit. “We look forward to the addition of local construction jobs and the completion of this work, which will help relieve traffic congestion, especially on eastbound 91 during the afternoon commute hours,” he said.

Public support has been significant, with more than 1,000 motorists and residents backing the project through online campaigns. This support was included in the project application, which received the funding nod through a competitive statewide process.

The 71/91 Interchange serves as a gateway between Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties and is a vital link for commuters and freight vehicles that use the 91. Rebuilding the interchange is designed to relieve traffic congestion, increase travel reliability, improve safety, and enhance air quality. Construction is expected to begin in 2022, with the new interchange opening in 2024. Work will include:

  • Replacing the existing single-lane loop connector between eastbound 91 and northbound 71 with a new, two-lane, direct connector ramp
  • Building a new, separate lane from Green River Road to east of the 71/91 Interchange
  • Realigning the eastbound 91 on-ramp from Green River Road to improve access to the interchange

Learn more here.

The CTC also awarded $10.3 million to the McKinley Street railroad/street grade separation project in Corona and $9.4 million to the Limonite Avenue gap closure project in Eastvale. The City of Corona and the City of Eastvale are the sponsors of these projects.

The CTC also approved funding for the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s Interstate 15 Corridor Project, which will cross the San Bernardino/Riverside County line to connect with RCTC’s 15 Express Lanes at Cantu-Galleano Ranch Road. RCTC is working with SBCTA on this project to provide a seamless travel experience for express lane customers.