MyNewsLA.com photo.
MyNewsLA.com photo.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled next week to mark the start of a project to reconfigure the 71/91 Interchange in west Corona, with the goal of expanding the passage to accommodate more vehicles and lessen the likelihood of accidents.

“Completing this project will provide welcome relief for our residents, especially those returning to Riverside County during afternoon hours on the eastbound Riverside (91) Freeway,” Riverside County Transportation Commission Chair Robert Magee said. “The project is another example of RCTC’s efforts to improve mobility along one of our most congested areas countywide.”

The groundbreaking is slated for the morning of Jan. 19 and will be attended by representatives from Corona, the RCTC, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and other entities.

According to the RCTC, the $137 million project is expected to conclude sometime in 2025 and will entail replacing the current single-lane connector from the eastbound 91 to the Corona (71) Expressway with a two-lane connector loop, which will facilitate a larger volume of vehicles at one time, reducing congestion.

“The project will further add an eastbound 91 auxiliary lane next to the highway shoulder and realign the eastbound 91 Green River Road on-ramp to the south,” officials said. “Crews also will slightly realign southbound 71 to create space for the new connector.”

“Once completed, the new interchange will improve safety, with reduced weaving between lanes and rear-end collisions, expand access to other modes of travel, such as Metrolink trains … and enhance traffic flow by replacing the single-lane loop connector with the two-lane direct connector,” the agency stated.

Officials said a wildlife crossing will be one of the other features of the redesigned interchange.

More than one-third of the project funding — $58.1 million — is being provided by the California Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017, which hiked gasoline taxes to pay for infrastructure and other projects. The county’s Measure A revenue, which is generated by a half-cent sales tax, is also covering a share of the expense, while federal and other sources make up the difference.

The RCTC said periodic weekend closures of the interchange will be necessary as the work progresses, and nighttime lane closures will be occurring on a regular basis.

Updates on the project will be available at www.rctc.org/71-91interchange.

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