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Temecula to improve Interstate 15/Highway 79 South interchange


Last updated 11/9/2007 at Noon

Many Fallbrook residents are well aware of the difficulties associated with the Highway 79 South interchange at Interstate 15. On Oct. 9, the City of Temecula took the first step toward overhauling the Temecula Parkway/Highway 79 South connector.

The City Council agreed to solicit and negotiate the project, called the “Ultimate Interchange” project. City officials say an offramp reconfiguration will eliminate the interchange’s traffic problem.

The Ultimate Interchange falls short of the grandeur the name implies. The Ultimate Interchange is so named because the city considers it the final – or ultimate – fix to the circulation problem at the interchange.

The project will mostly affect the southbound exit. All the onramps and offramps of the current interchange are diamond style – so named because from an aerial view they form a diamond shape, said Bill Hughes, the city’s director of public works.

After the project, the south-bound exit will be a cloverleaf-style, which will wrap around in a circle and merge traffic eastward onto Temecula Parkway.

“Instead of stopping at the signal as you do today, you’ll have continual free movement,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s going to improve traffic considerably.”

The project will also improve the southbound onramp. The city will extend Old Town Front Street southward and move the onramp so that it branches from this extension, rather than having it sit across the street from the busy offramp.

The city will leave the northbound ramps as they are. “They’re as efficient as they can be right now,” said Hughes.

The city expects to break ground on the project 2009 and complete it by 2012.

The city will take the next step, making the plans and getting approval from the City Council, early next year, said Hughes.

The project will cost $30,634,042, but will have no fiscal impact on the city. The money for the interchange will come from a variety of sources, such as fees from nearby developments, a federal highway improvement fund and the Pechanga tribe.

The Ultimate Interchange is expected to give the city movement for eight to 10 years.


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