A frequently-used shortcut for many residents living on the south side of Temecula is nearing completion after a nearly monthlong delay.
The construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of La Paz and Ynez roads in the Los Ranchitos community of Temecula began several months ago and although it was expected to be completed in September, the city of Temecula now expects it will open on Oct. 21.
“(There were) no undue delays,” said Patrick Thomas, Director of Public Works and City Engineer for the city of Temecula. “Our contractor is still working on the installation of safety lighting — light poles will be located in median islands at approaches to the roundabout — and electric meter pedestal, followed by Southern California Edison meter and energizing. (The) contractor is also working on the final hardscape in the center of the median along with the horse statue which is ready for placement on the pre-installed foundation.”
Thomas said the work will take place over the next two weeks and the city will hold a ribbon-cutting along with a full road opening that is scheduled for Oct 21.
Drivers traveling north and south on Ynez Road have been enjoying through traffic for about a month, but commuters coming from the Temecula Parkway side of La Paz Road will have to continue using Vallejo Avenue until the project is complete.
“We decided to keep the La Paz leg closed until the lighting is installed and operational to ensure visibility during night time hours,” Thomas said.
Prior to construction on the project, there was an all-way stop at the intersection. The plan to replace that often backed-up intersection with a roundabout came as a condition of approval with the Gateway Development project at La Paz and Temecula Parkway. A roundabout was chosen over installing traffic signals.
“The roundabout was chosen in lieu of traffic signal to reduce delay at the intersection,” Thomas said. “Roundabouts are being used more frequently for several reasons and this decision was supported by Los Ranchitos Homeowners Association. We believe the roundabout will improve circulation and be helpful to commuters who use this route.”
Thomas also noted that the city is working on plans to add bike lanes on Temecula Parkway between Pechanga Parkway and La Paz Road.
“The addition of bike lane will take up extra width of outside through lane and should eliminate the problem with (drivers using additional space on Temecula Parkway) as a fourth lane,” Thomas said. “Vehicles can use the bike lane for right turns, however not allowed to drive in bike lane as through lane. The addition of bike lane is not intended to back cars up more, rather designate space for bicycle riders, but not restrict vehicle turning movements. This should also help clarify the space is not intended as an additional lane for vehicles.”
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.