A long-awaited extension of the 91 Freeway express lanes opened early Monday after years of construction.
The roughly three-year-long, $1.4 billion widening project on the 91 added two new express lanes on the west- and eastbound sides of the freeway, as well as one additional general purpose lane on both sides.
Officials urged motorists to avoid the 91 in the Corona area Monday to avoid construction-related delays as crews put the finishing touches on the new lanes.
In the predawn hours Monday, the 91 became fully operational, with all lanes available between the 71 Expressway and Interstate 15. The four new express lanes, which require a FasTrak account to use, will provide motorists a faster drive during peak commute times from I-15 to the 55 Freeway.
About 219,000 vehicles pass through this stretch of the 91 daily, according to Caltrans.
County Transportation Commission spokesman John Standiford said a formal ceremony marking the end of major construction will be held on March 31, but officials wanted to make the new lanes available to commuters as soon as possible.
There will be a few final modifications applied later, requiring crews to continue working in several locations until the fall, but the lion's share of construction will be finished this week, according to the RCTC.
The project, which got underway in the spring of 2014, was funded through a combination of local Proposition 1A sales taxes, federal and state grants, as well as local revenue bonds.