Approved plan to eliminate recurring traffic delays through the San Gorgonio Pass
by Breanna Harry
On October 16,2012, Riverside County Supervisors approved the Interstate 10 Lifeline Emergency Action Plan. The 40 million dollar plan calls for the county, Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, the cities of Banning and Palm Springs, and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians to work together on interstate improvements that will make traffic flow better in the event of an emergency shutdown.
According to Riverside County transportation officials there are approximately 100,000 vehicles that travel on Interstate 10 through the San Gorgonio Pass daily. The pass lacks accessible detour routes, which include frontage roads that would allow motorists to exit the I-10 and continue in either direction in the event of a closure.
Within the last couple of years motorists have experienced more delays when traveling through the San Gorgonio Pass. Just this last September a three-vehicle collision on westbound I-10 at Highway 62 caused traffic to back up to Indian Canyon Drive.
The improvements will begin in 18 months time and will take about five years to complete. According to BurlingtonFreePress.com, the exact improvements that will take place are:
• “Build a two-lane road south of I-10 connecting Hathaway Street to Apache Trail, a roughly three-mile link between Banning and Cabazon
• Assist in extending Seminole Road north of I-10 to Rushmore Avenue
• Assist in securing funding for the extension of Tamarack Road from Mesquite Road to the Whitewater Cutoff north of I-10
• Obtain funding for the extension of Garnet Avenue from the Whitewater Cutoff to the western end of Garnet Road, south of I-10
• Purchase message boards for use along I-10 near the Indian Canyon Drive interchange and on southbound Highway 62 at Dillon Road
• Provide county personnel and resources to assist state officials during an emergency closure
• Caltrans will install message boards in several key locations along the I-10 to alert motorists to use alternative routes if necessary”
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley told the Desert Sun “The bypass plan makes I-10 safer for motorists every day and establishes a crucial alternate route that may serve as a lifeline during a major earthquake or other disaster.”