Motorists busting the speed limit through the Badlands between Beaumont and Moreno Valley could be slapped with tickets by California Highway Patrol officers assigned to special enforcement details in the area, where construction activity is underway, authorities said Wednesday.

According to the CHP, speeding-related collisions increased suddenly in the last three weeks through the Badlands after crews working on the Route 60 Truck Lanes Project completed resurfacing on expanded westbound lanes.

Thirteen collisions — 11 on the westbound side of the freeway, two on the eastbound side — occurred, with two rollover crashes that nearly caused injuries to construction workers, CHP Officer Matt Napier said.

The motorists and other vehicle occupants in each crash suffered either minor injuries, or none at all, he said.

According to Napier, in response to the wrecks, San Gorgonio Pass CHP Commander Mike Alvarez ordered an increased number of patrols through the Badlands.

“The Route 60 Truck Lanes Project will greatly improve our transportation infrastructure, and we are committed to maintaining the safety of our community throughout the duration of the project,” Alvarez said. “As always, we are proud to partner with the Riverside County Transportation Commission to accomplish this goal through strategic collaboration and enhanced enforcement and education.”

Several miles of the 60 are in a designated construction zone, where the speed limit is 55 mph, according to the CHP. There are message signs on the shoulders of the freeway warning drivers to watch their speed.

Napier said 177 traffic citations have been issued since Aug. 9.

The $113 million truck lanes project began last summer and entails widening the 60 through a five-mile stretch where the freeway twists and turns over barren hillsides without the availability of frontage roads.

The project is being funded via Measure A county sales taxes, as well as federal and state grants, and once completed, it will provide specially designated truck lanes on both the east- and westbound sides for safety and to reduce congestion. Even a minor accident has significantly impacted traffic flows in the past.

The project is slated for completion in the first half of 2022. More information is available at rctc.org/60trucklanes.

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