CORONA (CNS) – The eastbound Riverside (91) Freeway will be shut down Friday evening and during the predawn hours Sunday and Monday in Corona for work on an interchange improvement project, and motorists were advised to plan ahead to avoid getting caught in protracted traffic jams.
The nighttime closures are planned from 1 to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from 1 to 5 a.m. Monday, with all eastbound 91 lanes out of service from Green River Road to Serfas Club Drive, on the west end of Corona. Additionally, the two toll lanes on the eastbound and westbound 91 will be shut down completely all weekend, according to the Riverside County Transportation Commission.
The closures are required for the 71/91 Interchange Project, which entails replacing the current single-lane connector from the eastbound 91 to the Corona (71) Expressway with a two-lane loop bridge, which will facilitate a larger volume of vehicles at one time, reducing congestion.
The $137 million project began in February. This weekend’s closure is the first to impact the entire eastbound side of the 91 for reconfiguration work.
RCTC said in a statement that crews need operating space to move a “large support structure” composed of a 14-foot-wide and 160-foot-long “rebar cage that is being built adjacent to the 91.”
The support beam will be placed inside a pre-drilled hole.
“The hole will be filled with 700 cubic yards of concrete to form the foundation for one of the columns of the (new) 71/91 connector,” according to RCTC. “Because of the size of the cage and the amount of concrete to be transported — more than 70 truck loads — the lanes must be closed for the safety of motorists.”
The Green River Road on-ramp to the eastbound 91 will also have to be shut down for traffic safety. The ramp closure will be 9 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, and the same hours from Saturday to Sunday and Sunday to Monday.
“The southbound 71 connectors to eastbound and westbound 91 will remain open the entire weekend,” RCTC said.
The agency recommended motorists avoid the eastbound 91 during the overnight hours through the weekend, utilizing the Pomona (60) Freeway to the north as an alternate. Otherwise, traffic will be crammed into a single lane, taken off the freeway at Green River Road and funneled through the city to downtown, where drivers can rejoin the eastbound 91.
Along with expanding the connector itself, the 71/91 Interchange Project will also involve adding an eastbound auxiliary lane to the 91 and realigning the Green River Road on-ramp. The expressway will additionally be realigned to create space for the new connector.
Officials said that a wildlife crossing will be one of the other features of the redesigned interchange.
According to RCTC, the project is expected to conclude sometime in 2025.
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.
Information on the project is available at http://www.rctc.org/71-91interchange.
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