Circa 2003 - 60/91/215 interchange in downtown Riverside pre-rebuild (Bing Maps)

Uncorking the bottleneck

This week marked the beginning of a 3-year, $317M overhaul of the 60/91/I-215 interchange in downtown Riverside — an overhaul which many in these parts of Southern California agree is long overdue. Without a doubt, the interchange has been a severe thorn in the side of Inland commuters for a number of years.

The project is funded by local and state money, including the half-cent sales tax that Riverside County voters approved in 1998.

A recent study by the American Highway Users Alliance concluded that motorists collectively waste more than 2 million hours in delay each year on the interchange.

The bottleneck ranked 27th worst in California and 116th in the nation, the study said.

Riverside Press-Enterprise – March 11, 2004

Although not an entire rebuild, the 60/91/215 project — the state’s second-largest transportation project on tap behind the rebuilding of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco-Oakland — will tackle the two most-important current bottlenecks: NB I-215 transition to WB SR-91 and SB I-215 transition to EB SR-60/SB I-215 (yes, it is a confusing interchange). Both transitions will be replaced with freeway-to-freeway flyover connectors which will greatly increase the overall flow of traffic thru the interchange.

(State officials say that due to excessive costs and neighborhood impacts, flyover connectors from NB/EB SR-91 to WB SR-60 and from the EB SR-60 to NB I-215 are not part of the current project and may have to be addressed at a later date.)

Yet, even without a full rebuild, the scope of the project encompasses significant improvements beyond the bungled interchange which will help mitigate the need for a full rebuild. These improvements, both leading into and out of the interchange itself, include six miles worth of widening, bridge/on/off ramp reconstructions, carpool lanes, and truck climbing lanes all on the EB SR-60 / SB I-215 portion that heads from downtown Riverside into Moreno Valley.

Of significant importance in the ancillary improvements, is the construction of a separate flyover connector for slow-moving trucks and vehicles at the SR-60 / I-215 interchange in eastern Riverside/western Moreno Valley. Such an addition will help smooth the growing number of truck/cargo carriers heading to and from areas surrounding the up-and-coming March Field Global Port.

So, after nearly 10 years in postponements, the day has finally arrived in which the much-despised Riverside interchange begins its transformation from mangled beast into elegant servant. Now all we have to do is survive the next 3 years of construction headaches.

Related

  • Riverside Press-Enterprise – Three-year highway upgrade has begun (March 11)

Sources: Riverside Press-Enterprise (PE-20040311)

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Added newspaper citation/insert; removed outdated links to newspaper article.

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3 Comments

  1. this was a great. I live in riverside, and have been looking for an image of what this much needed construction is going to look like for months now, and have not found one. Not even the project site (the DOT site) had any good images. Although it explained in details, a picture is so much clearer. Thanks!!

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