If you’re planning to take the 60 freeway between Beaumont and Moreno Valley at night this week, be prepared for some delays.
Crews will be setting up safety barriers along the shoulders and center divider starting Monday for a two-year expansion project along a 4.5 mile stretch of the freeway.
According to the Riverside County Transportation Commission, CHP will be conducting intermittent traffic breaks overnight between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Some drivers say they’re willing to take alternate routes, or face the traffic, in order to see road improvements.
“It’s quite dangerous if you’re going fast, but if they do expand and widen it, it’d be great,” said James Yamane, who lives in Coachella.
But one business right along the 60 E, is directly impacted by the road work. Belinda Lyons works at Dowling Fruit Orchard and says since crews started construction, they’ve lost about half their customers.
“‘Cause this used to be open right here and you used to be able to, when you went west bound, you used to be able to cross right here and it was dangerous, but it used to be like that for years and it’s gotten busier, so I understand that,” Lyons said, referring to a road that used to lead drivers into the Dowling parking lot, which has been removed recently and replaced with a center divider.
The $106 million project, called the “State Route 60 Truck Lanes Project,” is expected to continue until the end of 2021. The whole idea behind the project is to install special designated truck lanes on the 60, for safety and to reduce congestion through a sparsely populated area known as the Badlands.
A single collision on either side of the narrow four-lane segment has been known to tie up traffic for hours, forcing the CHP to divert motorists back into Beaumont or Moreno Valley, depending on which way they’re headed.
If you plan on using the 60 between Beaumont and Moreno Valley at night this week, you might want to consider taking the 10 freeway instead. Nighttime drivers on the 60 are advised to allow for some extra time and watch out for workers and equipment, and to follow the 55 mph speed limit at all times. We’re told traffic fines will be doubled in the construction area.
In addition to adding a truck lane on each side of the freeway, crews will flatten several of the most curvy road sections to improve motorists’ visibility, and will widen freeway shoulders to 12 feet along the outside lanes, and 11 feet on the inside lanes, adjacent to the center divider.
The contract further calls for construction of 23 wildlife crossings beneath the corridor, as well as fencing on either side to prevent animals from straying into traffic.
In the coming months, one westbound lane will be shut down for an extended duration, leaving only a single lane of travel in that direction during the project, which is being funded through Measure A county sales taxes, as well as grants from state and federal sources, according to RCTC.
More information is available at rctc.org/60trucklanes