Lake Elsinore City Council approves designs for art on Rainbow Canyon, Main Street freeway underpasses

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Design concepts for art on the walls of the Railroad Canyon Road underpass in Lake Elsinore, approved by the Lake Elsinore City Council Tuesday, Sept. 8. Valley News/City of Lake Elsinore photo

Lake Elsinore city officials have approved new designs for public art on underpasses at two of the city’s freeway interchanges.

Nicole Dailey, assistant to the city manager for the city of Lake Elsinore, presented the designs for the Railroad Canyon Road and Main Street interchanges with Interstate 15 to the city council at its Tuesday, Sept. 8, meeting.

Underpasses for both interchanges are proposed to include six metal art panels on both the north and south walls, according to a city staff report.

The panels will be backlit, perforated art designs including abstract elements of Lake Elsinore’s city logo, and the color of each of the backlights can be changed as needed for events or other purposes, Dailey said.

Each wall will also include a panel with the city logo and the name of the street it is on.

“We wanted something that was a little bit more flexible with us in terms of being able to update and change these over time,” Dailey said. “Obviously concrete is pretty permanent, so if your logo changes, in the case of Murrieta for example, that is still there indefinitely, and so we looked to incorporate a custom perforated metal design that can be affixed to both the northbound and southbound sides of our interchanges and could be adapted based on the area where they are located.”

Design concepts for art on the walls of the Railroad Canyon Road underpass in Lake Elsinore, approved by the Lake Elsinore City Council Tuesday, Sept. 8. Valley News/City of Lake Elsinore photo
Design concepts for art on the walls of the Railroad Canyon Road underpass in Lake Elsinore, approved by the Lake Elsinore City Council Tuesday, Sept. 8. Valley News/City of Lake Elsinore photo

Each underpass is proposed to have a unique theme, with Railroad Canyon Road’s designs having a sports theme “since it serves as the primary roadway to reach top extreme destinations like Elsinore Skydive, Diamond Stadium and the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park” while Main Street will include designs referencing historical elements.

Dailey told the council the concepts have been refined multiple times and approved by the city council’s beautification subcommittee, which consists of Mayor Brian Tisdale and councilmember Tim Sheridan.

Only the designs were being submitted to the city council Sept. 8 – Dailey said the council would have to approve an agreement for the actual fabrication of the art, which is expected to cost between $250,000 and $350,000 per interchange, at a later date. Designs for other interchanges will also be developed at some point in the future.

“Ultimately I will just say I remember when we were doing the freeway overpass signs and we would talk about how we would stand out for just going a little bit above and beyond, a little bit more extreme, aligning with our ‘Dream Extreme’ vision, and I think these will truly have the same impact where people exit our freeway coming into Lake Elsinore and go, ‘hey, I haven’t seen that before,’” Dailey said. “It’s something very custom and different from has been done.”

Councilmember Steve Manos took slight issue with an apricot design for the Main Street underpass.

Concepts for art on the walls of the Main Street underpass in Lake Elsinore, approved by the city council. Valley News/City of Lake Elsinore photo
Concepts for art on the walls of the Main Street underpass in Lake Elsinore, approved by the city council. Valley News/City of Lake Elsinore photo

“I don’t know if that’s an apple, coconut, apricot,” he said.

Overall, the councilmember said he approved of and enjoyed the designs.

“You guys did a phenomenal job of picking this out, and I think the Beautification Committee did great work,” Manos said.

Councilmember Natasha Johnson said she in particular appreciated the abstract incorporation of the city logo into the designs.

“I think that’s a great way to not over brand us,” Johnson said. “I think that can happen too with our city logo, and I really appreciate that.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the designs.

Following the council’s approval, the final design packages were expected to be submitted to Caltrans for final approval, according to city staff. Caltrans already approved the proposed art concept and materials.

Construction of the I-15 Railroad Canyon Road Interchange is expected to be complete in late 2022, while the Main Street Interchange should be completed in 2021, according to staff.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.