It’s not happening in Palm Springs, but a bit of nearby activity will certainly impact local drivers – in a good way.
Driving the news: Truck lanes that safely separate big rigs from other vehicles going through the Badlands between Beaumont and Moreno Valley opened on Friday on both sides of State Route 60, following nearly three years of work that involved a series of upgrades.
Details, details: The heart of the project has been the addition of one eastbound lane and one westbound lane dedicated to truck traffic on the corridor, expanding it from four to six lanes through the narrow passage, spanning almost five miles, where no frontage roads are available, according to the Riverside County Transportation Commission.
- Construction on the $138 million project started in June 2019 and was years in the planning phase prior to that time. It was funded by Measure A county sales taxes, as well as federal and state grants.
Phased in: The new lanes have been completed in stages, and truckers have been able to use segments as they were established. However, the entire length of the Badlands additions was not ready until Friday.
Why it was needed: The freeway twists and turns over barren hillsides in the passage, where numerous traffic accidents have occurred, some of them deadly, over the last several decades.
- A single collision on either side of the stretch has been known to tie up traffic for hours, forcing the California Highway Patrol to divert motorists back into Beaumont or Moreno Valley, depending on which way they’re headed.
But wait: In addition to the truck lanes, crews flattened several of the curviest road sections to improve motorists’ visibility and widened freeway shoulders to 12 feet along the outside lanes and 11 feet on the inside lanes, adjacent to the center divider.
- “The wider shoulders and open space provide safe pullout areas for motorists and emergency responders,” according to RCTC. “Animals have a safer way to cross the 60, as well.”
Dive deeper at www.rctc.org/60trucklanes.