The westbound Moreno Valley Freeway between Beaumont and Moreno Valley will be shut down Friday night and through the weekend for construction, prompting transportation officials to advise motorists to think ahead about taking alternative routes.
According to the Riverside County Transportation Commission, beginning at 10 Friday night, the California Highway Patrol will close both westbound lanes between the Interstate 10/60 Freeway Interchange and Gilman Springs Road, roughly five miles, as part of the "state Route 60 Truck Lanes Project.''
The closure had been slated to get underway at 5 a.m. Saturday but was moved up to Friday night to give crews more time to work. Westbound lanes are scheduled to be reopened at 5 a.m. Monday, officials said.
According to RCTC, the closures are required so that the contractor can safely complete transitions that take motorists off of the old lanes and move them to the newly constructed ones. Alternating single-lane closures are also scheduled on the eastbound 60 as part of the project, officials said.
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Officials said that westbound motorists should consider using I-10 from Beaumont to San Bernardino as an alternate route. Highway 79 to Gilman Springs, by way of San Jacinto, will also be available.
The $113 million truck lanes project began in the summer of 2019 and entails widening the 60 through an area known as the Badlands, where the freeway twists and turns over barren hillsides without the availability of frontage roads.
The project is being funded by Measure A county sales taxes, as well as federal and state grants, and once completed, will provide specially designated truck lanes on both the east- and westbound sides for safety and to reduce congestion.
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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.
In addition to the truck lanes, crews are flattening several of the most curvy road sections to improve motorists' visibility, and widening freeway shoulders to 12 feet along the outside lanes and 11 feet on the inside lanes, adjacent to the center divider.
The project further involves construction of 23 wildlife crossings beneath the corridor, as well as fencing on either side to prevent animals from straying into traffic.
Officials said the project is on track for completion later this year.
More information is available at www.rctc.org/60trucklanes.