Orange County Branch Newsletter

June 2015

Branch News

ASCE Orange County Branch and APWA Southern California Chapter Host Joint Presentation on the SR-91 Design-Build Project

By  Michael Pierce

On May 28th, ASCE Orange County Branch and APWA Southern California Chapter hosted a joint lunch program for a presentation on the $1.4 billion SR-91 Design-Build Project. David Thomas, Project Manager for the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) gave very informative updates on the current status of the project as well as how it is progressing towards being delivered on schedule. The SR-91 is the only main corridor that connects Orange County to Riverside County and its 280,000 vehicles per day congestion makes it among to top 5 worst commutes in the nation. This project will extend tolled express lanes on the SR-91 between the Orange County/Riverside County line and the I-15, add one regular lane between the SR-71 and the I-15, add one regular lane from the I-15/SR-91 Interchange to Pierce Street, and improve five local interchanges and the I-15/SR-91 Interchange. These improvements will reduce delays, allow faster emergency response, relieve local street congestion and offer better access to public transit and trails, all of which will allow motorists to "Fast Forward" their travel. In addition, this innovative design-build project is creating 16,200 jobs.

Sixteen bridges are currently under construction and RCTC plans to have that number up to twenty-two by November of this year. An upcoming crucial phase of this project, referred to as the Corona Squeeze, will begin on June 1, 2015 and remain in place until April 1, 2016. During this phase, all lanes except the number one lane will be reduced to 10.5’ in width. As a means of helping with the increased chances for traffic collisions during this ten month period, RCTC will have four additional tow trucks nearby during peak hours as well as several signs warning motorcyclists to not split lanes.

One of the challenges of the project was aquiring the right-or-way.  Because of the high profile project, most of the properties went through eminent demain.  Despite the challenges with right-of-way acquisition, the properties are being delivered to the contractor on time.  The last purchase of property is almost completed.

The entire project is expected to be finished in 2017. For the latest information on this project, visit