MOTORISTS prepare—carmaggedon is coming next month as one of the busiest travel corridors in Inland Empire will be completely shut down for the whole weekend in Corona.
According to the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), the 91 Freeway will be closed in both directions between Interstate 15 and the Corona (71) Expressway during the week of February 19-22. The closures will last for 55 hours.
Dubbed as the “Corona Carmageddon,” the closure will make way for three major components of the “91 Project Fast Forward” without traffic conflicts. These include (1) Demolish the west side of the Maple Street Bridge over the 91, (2) Install support beams for the new westbound Maple Street flyover ramp bridge, and (3) Pave the new eastbound 91 alignment near I-15.
As part of the 91 Project, the RCTC also launched its “91 Steer Clear” public service campaign, reminding motorists that the roadway will be fully closed starting Friday, Feb. 19 at 9pm to Monday, Feb. 22 at 4am.
“By fully closing the roadway, we will be able to consolidate these significant construction efforts into one weekend, rather than multiple weekends or extending this over a month of weeknights,” said RCTC Executive Director Anne Mayer in statement released to the media. “Consolidating the work activities within one weekend will reduce the number of closure hours by more than 50 percent. The project’s design-build method allows for flexibility in planning work, such as this weekend closure,” she said.
The full closure will also help ensure the safety of the crews working at the project, as well as the traveling public by eliminating cars and equipment on the road during construction.
In case of rainstorms or inclement weather, the Feb. 19-22 closure will be postponed to the next weekend, weather permitting.
Plan ahead, avoid or stay home
To minimize delays and impacts during the closure, RCTC have these words of wisdom to offer motorists: Plan ahead, avoid the area or stay home, as traveling on the 91, 71 or I-15 near the project area during that period can expect delays of three to four hours. If travel cannot be avoided, motorists can use the 57, 60 and I-10 as alternate routes.
Mayer however, assured that emergency vehicles—like police, fire, CHP and ambulances—will be able to travel on the 91 as needed to respond to calls if any.
There will still be more work to be done in the coming months after the weekend construction activities are completed. Crews will rebuild the Maple Street bridge and construct the flyover ramp bridge across the 91, and nightly full closures on the eastbound will likely happen for about a week. Once the flyover ramp bridge at Maple Street is completed this summer, another full closure may happen to remove the temporary support beams the crew will be installing the weekend of February 19-22.
The 91 Project is being done to add regular lanes, tolled express lanes, auxiliary lanes and direct express connectors from northbound 15 to westbound 91, and from eastbound 91 to southbound 15. Aside from that, interchanges, ramps lanes and surface streets along 91 between the Riverside County/Orange County Line in Corona and Pierce Street in Riverside will be improved.
The new lanes are expected to open in 2017. (AJPress)