ROADS/BRIDGES: $1.4 billion California project includes long toll bridge

June 20, 2016

Parts of the 91 expansion project are behind schedule, but officials say the overall job is on track

A $1.4 billion road improvement project to ease traffic along State Route 91 in California includes a 3,700-foot toll bridge that will take nearly a year to build.

Parts of the $1.4 billion work are more than a month behind schedule, including several ramps lining a 6-mile corridor of the highway.

Riverside County Transportation Commission officials are confident all of the work will be done by May 9, 2017—the completion date listed in the contract.

Atkinson-Walsh, the contractor hired to add dozens of bridges and six total lanes in an 11-mile stretch of S.R. 91, could face a $94,000 fine for each day work extends past the deadline. That completion date could be pushed back if the commission alters the work order to reflect additional services.

Construction began in March 2014. Since then, Atkinson-Walsh has completed 74 percent of the work, including 14 of the 32 bridges and most utility relocation projects. The remaining bridges are under construction, along with about 30 percent of the general roadwork.

In September 2015, heavy rains required the closure of two westbound 91 lanes and caused an hours-long traffic jam. The lanes were torn up and replaced within a few days. The next month, an on-ramp being built above East Grand Boulevard fell 16 in. during a lowering operation, injuring 10 construction workers. The bridge was demolished and rebuilt because of structural concerns.

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