By Josh Adamson |Staff Writer|
Inland Empire’s local 91 freeway, which just closed two ramps due to construction, continues to delay faculty and students’ commutes to campus.
“Construction makes me ten to twenty minutes late [to class],” said student Jose Loera, who added that his commute is slowed down ten minutes because of construction.
The Riverside County Transportation Commission has stated that the 91 Project, which broke ground in 2013, is now 85 percent complete.
Students who drive to campus are faced with extensive traffic, especially commuters who come to school from Riverside and Corona.
“I live in Riverside, so the traffic is really only bad on the 91,” said student, Katherine Vargas. “I try and leave an hour and a half before class, so I have plenty of time to make it everyday.”
A new lane will be added to both directions through Corona. The additional lanes are expected to open in the first half of 2017.
The completed project will lengthen a pair of express lanes from the Orange County/Riverside county line to the 15.
Students are frustrated by the delays that construction has caused during their commutes.
“Freeway construction is necessary to meet the state’s infrastructural and transportation needs,” stated Assistant Professor of Political Science, Christina Villegas. “When possible, however, efforts should be taken to minimize construction’s negative effect on commuters.”
Six additional construction-related activities took place, including the closures of the westbound Lincoln Ave. on-ramp and the westbound Maple St. off-ramp in the City of Corona.
Students who travel west on the 91 were advised to take precautionary steps during their commutes.
“Allow extra travel time on surface streets to reach the 91, especially during the heavy morning commute hours,” stated an email by a representative from the 91 Project.
In Corona, the westbound Lincoln on-ramp will be closed for two months, added the representative.
Commuters from Corona can use the new westbound Main Street on-ramp and the westbound Maple Street on-ramp.
The representative also advised students to be aware of detour routes in advance of their commutes, to avoid cell phone use and distractions while driving, and to be knowledgeable of developing circumstances.
Evening closures on the eastbound 91 at the 15 were not expected to affect students driving home due to the direction of travel, stated the representative.
The views expressed by students indicate the possible risks that construction may pose to nearby communities.
“Inconvenient construction activities burden local economies and make it difficult for individuals to get to work, classes, etc.,” added Villegas.
Loera added that construction is good after it is completed because it expands the freeway and expedites travel.
Students who drive home from classes in the evening were told to be aware of nighttime construction activities.
“There are ongoing nighttime closures of southbound Interstate 15 at the 91, Monday through Saturday nights,” stated the representative. “These closures should continue through October.”
Students and faculty should prepare for delayed commutes for the foreseeable future.