BY JULIE FARREN
Construction has begun this week on two truck lanes that will widen four-and-a-half miles of State Route 60, between Gilman Springs Road and Jack Rabbit Trail.
Cheryl Donahue, public affairs manager for the Riverside County Transportation Commission, and construction manager Bryce Johnston gave a presentation about the project at the May 21 Beaumont city council meeting.
The project will include construction of an eastbound truck climbing lane and a westbound truck descending lane that will be 11 feet on the interior shoulder and 12 feet on the outside shoulder.
It also will increase the median barrier height by 6 to 10 inches and flatten roadway curves.
There also will be two wildlife crossings.
Donahue said the project also will add 18 feet on either side.
“This project is really going to change the character of this corridor and make it quite a bit safer,” Donahue said.
RCTC will hold an open house on the project on Wednesday, June 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Beaumont Civic Center, 550 E. Sixth St. in Beaumont. There will be information stations at the event.
Johnston said that two millions yards of dirt need to be moved from the north side of the roadway.
This is being coordinated with the support of the California Department of Transportation.
Donahue said this is considered a safety project.
The accident rate is much higher in this corridor than other sections of State Route 60.
The extra traffic lanes will reduce traffic congestion, Donahue said.
K-rails will be put up close to June 10, Johnston said.
Westbound lane closures will commence at the end of July and continue through the end of December.
There will be one lane open during the construction, Johnston said.
The project will go through five phases and should be completed by the end of 2021.
RCTC also is coordinating with Caltrans and the county of Riverside on several projects taking place at the same time, including Interstate 10 rehabilitation from Beaumont to Highway 111 and the I-10 pavement project.
There also are projects going on along Gilman Springs Road and the Potrero Interchange.
Beaumont councilmember Lloyd White wanted to know if the changeable message boards would be able to notify motorists in time if they need to change lanes in time.
Johnston said that there would be enough notice, at least a couple of miles in advance, to let motorists know about the work being done.
During the westbound lane closure, RCTC will operate freeway service patrols to aid stranded drivers.
Funding for the $135 million project is derived from federal, state funds and the Measure A voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in Riverside County.
Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at email@example.com .