The final environmental document for the Railroad Canyon interchange project has been approved by Caltrans, pushing the much-needed project into the design phase, the city of Lake Elsinore announced last week.
The design phase for the $36 million project is expected to take two to three years, the city said, adding that it had studied and considered several alternatives before settling on Alternative 2.
“We know how badly this project is needed and its importance to the entire region,” the city wrote on a social media posting. “This is a priority for the city and we are doing everything we can to get this project done as soon as we can.”
The Railroad Canyon Road interchange is notorious for backing up onto the 15 freeway in both directions during high-traffic times thanks to continuous growth in the area.
“For many years this interchange has faced increased traffic congestion and unnecessary delays for travelers,” the city said. “The current design can no longer adequately serve the community.”
The project will be completed in phases. Phase one will widen the Railroad Canyon Road undercrossing from four to six lanes from Summerhill Drive to Casino Drive, replace the northbound ramps with hook ramps at Grape Street and add ramp acceleration and deceleration lanes at the Railroad Canyon Road off-ramps.
Phase two of the project will include construction of a new, full interchange at Interstate 15 and Franklin Street, add auxiliary lanes from the Franklin Street Interchange to Main Street and the Railroad Canyon Road Interchange as well as widen Main Street and realign and widen the southbound on ramps from one to two lanes and construct a new frontage road on the east side of I-15.
Upon completion, the project is expected to reduce trip times and improve traffic circulation and capacity for on-ramps and off-ramps at the interchange. It will also improve the level of service for the Grape Street/Summerhill Drive and Railroad Canyon Road intersection.
To learn more about the project and see the latest schedules, visit www.lake-elsinore.org.