Placentia Avenue interchange construction to begin in Perris, start of the Mid-County Parkway

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The announcement of the long-awaited 215 Freeway Interchange project at Placentia Avenue in Perris will begin in September, signaling the start of the long-awaited Mid-County Parkway into the San Jacinto Valley.

After the announcement made by the Riverside County Transportation Commission recently, San Jacinto Mayor Andrew Kotyuk was first to express his excitement.

The interchange is the first step in building the decades long planned Mid-County Parkway that will be the east-west superhighway across Riverside County, connecting the San Jacinto Valley with the Coachella Valley and creating another route to Riverside and points west. It will serve many Perris industries and logistic warehouses and eventually the thousands of new residents and new industrial and commercial centers expected to settle in the San Jacinto Valley in the next 10 years.

The $42 million interchange construction starting in September is expected to be completed by 2022, according to a RCTC news release.

The announcement was welcomed by Kotyuk, who for decades has worked for the city and as a member of the Riverside County Transportation Commission and other county planning groups through the years.

“I am so excited for the San Jacinto Valley. Born and raised here I have seen what I call the ‘Route 66’ effect happen to the Valley. Before the 80s, the 74 and 79 were major corridors across Riverside County. Then, the 15, 215, 60 and 10 were built outside and around our valley,” Kotyuk said Thursday, Aug. 13. “For the past 40 years growth has occurred around our beautiful valley. The Mid-County Parkway reopens the valley doors for business and prosperity.”

Kotyuk was one of a number of city officials from the San Jacinto Valley who came up with the idea of the mid-county parkway or freeway 20 years ago. Signs just outside of San Jacinto went up along the Ramona Expressway touting the idea of the parkway to help gain public support.

There were a number of possible routes discussed including one coming from the 215 Freeway at Placentia and another to run it east and west 32 miles from Corona to Highway 79 through parts of Hemet along Florida and Alessandro avenues and San Jacinto. But in 2009, the plans were placed on the shelf because of a deepening economic crisis and many environmental questions.

RCTC in addition to announcing the Placentia Interchange project seeing the increasing traffic flows on I-215 to the growing Perris warehouse district are looking to expand Cajalco Road and build an Ethanac Road Expressway between Interstates 15 and 215 along Highway 74.

Kotyuk explained the vision of the Mid-County Parkway.

“During the last decades, Riverside focused on opening the corridors to Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego for commuters to access jobs,” he said. “Today Riverside County is growing jobs, as seen by the distribution centers and tourism in Coachella Valley. The focus is now to invest in the arteries between both sides of the county through the Pass area (Lamb Canyon) to bring jobs and other counties dollars to our communities and residents. Mid-County Parkway is the defining project that starts this off.”

The second phase of the Placentia Avenue 215 Interchange will begin widening Placentia Avenue to point east to Highway 79, but the timing of that project is still undetermined, according to the RCTC.

Kotyuk said of the new interchange, “This starts a new beginning and one of prosperity for the San Jacinto Valley. I am happy to have given my love, time and energy of the San Jacinto Valley, Riverside County back after all it’s given my family and I.”

Contracted crews from Riverside Construction will start by widening the Placentia Avenue bridge, building entrances and exits from the 215 Freeway, realigning the frontage road and adding two to five lanes on Placentia Avenue between Indian Avenue and Perris Boulevard and between Harvill and Indian Avenues, according to a news release.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.