Inland freeway upgrades discussed

Times Staff Writer

Adding toll lanes to Interstate 15 and creating an extension of the 91 Freeway Express Lanes are among the ideas being considered by Riverside County transportation officials to help relieve freeway traffic in the Inland Empire, according to a report released Friday.

The report lays out the county's 10-year plan to address traffic problems and calls for $2 billion in improvements on four major freeways -- the 91 Freeway and interstates 215, 15 and 10. The Riverside County Transportation Commission will vote Wednesday on whether to accept the report's recommendations, the first step in what would be a long process before final adoption.

"It's a significant capital investment that would have a huge positive impact on mobility, as well as the community, in terms of job creation," said commission spokesman John Standiford.

The proposed toll lanes would include an extension of the 91 Express Lanes to Interstate 15 in Corona and the construction of two toll lanes in each direction on Interstate 15 between Ortega Highway near Lake Elsinore and the San Bernardino County line.

To alleviate congestion near the 91 Freeway and Interstate 15 interchange in Corona, transportation officials have floated the idea of building a collector road -- lanes that allow entering and exiting traffic to merge off the through lanes of the freeway.

Other improvements could include construction of an eastbound truck climbing lane on Interstate 10 and widening of Interstate 215 between Box Springs Road and Interstate 15.

Standiford said the county would pay for the improvements by cobbling together Measure A revenues, state gas tax dollars and funds from Proposition 1B, passed by voters last month and providing $20 billion for transportation infrastructure. Some projects would require the approval of state lawmakers.

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