The Holland Road Overpass in Menifee is scheduled to begin construction in December 2021, after its initial timeline for completion was altered by varying conditions.
The project, which would provide an additional route over I-215 from east to west, is to relieve traffic from Newport and Scott roads. It will also help free up traffic congestion driving on Newport Road from I-215 onto Holland Bridge.
Carlos E. Geronimo, Capital Improvement Program engineer, said that the contract’s first extension that added four years onto the project was due primarily to lack of funding. The lack of funding caused them to be unable to do the right of way acquisition or the next phases of the project.
It led to other projects being completed before Holland Road as funds for projects like Scott Road became readily available. The Scott Road project was completed several weeks ago, according to Geronimo.
Dominique Samario, public information officer for Menifee, said that these projects simply were given funding before Holland Road.
“They were ready to go, and so when we got some funding opportunities you didn’t want to lose the funding,” Samario said. “Some of those other ones were just closer when we had funding opportunities; we really had to capitalize on that.”
It was also confirmed that both Scott and Newport roads received federal funds, while Holland Road is 100% funded locally, according to Geronimo.
Holland Road currently has several funding sources. Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee is giving the city around $6.5 million as their maximum contribution to the project, and that money comes from developments around the area, according to Geronimo.
“We also have local funds from Measure A, capital project funds, and then we have other local funding sources,” Geronimo said.
There are no federal funds tied to the Holland Road Overpass project, leaving them with a shortfall of money.
“The little shortfall is because of the uncertainty of Measure DD right now,” Geronimo said. “So hoping for the worst, we figure we’re going to be $3.9 million short and we can bridge those funds through the Riverside County Transportation Commission, RCTC.”
“We’re identifying that there is some money available there that could help bridge that gap if Measure DD goes away,” Geronimo said. “We won’t know that until November. But if everything works out and Measure DD stays, then we’ll use Measure DD to cover that gap.”
The project aims to relieve Newport traffic, which is over capacity.
“Before the pandemic, during the peak hour if you were here at Newport Road and Holland Road intersection, you would see a lot of backup and traffic crossing the bridge,” Geronimo said. “That’s because of a lot of new commercial development. Because the new commercial areas in the city are on the west side, a lot of people from the east side are going to have to cross the bridge to get to the new shopping center, the malls, city hall, everything that’s on this side.”
The Newport Road interchange was built three years ago and is over capacity, and has been over capacity even before the pandemic, according to Geronimo.
“The traffic volume was more than what the interchange was designed for,” Geronimo said. “So we expect with the Holland Overpass, it will take some of that traffic out and in addition it will provide an east to west connectivity for pedestrians, because having one interchange and then the next one is Scott, 3 miles to the south is just too difficult for pedestrians to just want to walk from one side to the other.”
The last estimate for the project was done in 2016-2017 and was around $28 million.
“It went up a little bit,” Geronimo said. “Some things have increased while other items, construction, have decreased as well. So it will be curious to see what the new figures will be, hopefully it will be right around the same amount.”
These costs, which vary in demand, transportation and availability of materials, all contribute to the total.
With the contract’s initial extension, some minor design changes occurred as well.
“We’re dealing with Caltrans, and they update their standards and guidelines all the time,” Geronimo said. “We needed to make some modifications because enough time had elapsed that Caltrans changed some of their design parameters and guidelines so we had to update our drawings to meet their new guidelines.”
Plans are currently 95% completed, and they’re working with Caltrans and utility agencies to relocate their utilities so the site is clear when they start work.
There are six property owners that the city needs to negotiate some type of acquisition and/or easements with, according to Geronimo.
As of Aug. 31, Geronimo confirmed that they have been successful with four of the six property owners, and as long as the property owners agree with the offers presented, the project will remain on track.
The project remains slated for completion June 2023.
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at email@example.com.