The City of Temecula’s groundbreaking ceremony for the decade-long construction startup of the huge $138 million French Valley Parkway Interchange Project was held on Feb. 14; the project promises to relieve traffic congestion on Interstates 15 and 215 by 2025.
The groundbreaking took place at the intersection of Ynez Road and Date Street in Temecula. Dozens of dignitaries and invited guests celebrated the historic event.
The huge construction will be from the Northbound approach to the I-15/I-215 before Winchester Road where for years traffic congestion slowed traffic to a crawl almost daily, frustrating many commuters traveling to and from San Diego and Riverside. It slowed commuting time anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes and more with accidents along the route.
At an earlier press conference on Feb. 6, the I-15 FVP Phase 2 project was explained by Avlin R. Odviar, Temecula’s Principal Civil Engineer in the Department of Public Works. In attendance were members of the press and the Temecula Chamber of Commerce; Betsy Lowrey, assistant to the city manager; Christine Damko, Economic Development manager; and other city officials.
Largest Temecula project
Odviar explained the project will become the largest project in the history of Temecula, including the $66 million construction of the Temecula City Hall in 2020. While the total cost of the FVP Project is $138 million, the construction costs will be $72 million with $62 million going into 10 years of design, engineering, environmental studies, utility changes, Caltrans approval and land acquisition that is making it possible.
Basically, the huge project will add two or three lanes to Northbound I-15 from Winchester Road to the I-15/I-215 junction, constructing a concrete barrier to separate freeway traffic from collector/distributor roads, widening bridges at Santa Gertrudis Creek and Warm Springs Creek and constructing 10 retaining walls and one new bridge. He said the actual construction by FlatIron West Inc. may begin in May after equipment moves in.
Odviar explained how the traffic has been backed up from the Homeland Border Patrol substation to the Interstate 15/215 Interchange for years. “This project should unplug that,” he said. “The 138 million dollar project in Temecula is by far the largest ever awarded since its incorporation.”
The project itself, while funded mostly by Temecula working with federal, state and local monies, is a freeway project and will “one day be turned over to Caltrans.” Caltrans had the final say in approving the project, but everything from the design and engineering of the project, land acquisition, planning and construction is, or has been, done by the City of Temecula.
Total project cost $138,736, 346
The budget and funding was explained with $30,945,598 spent in prior years including: administration ($2,791,745), construction engineering ($1,279), design and environmental ($18,752, 330), land acquisition ($9,398,251) and utilities ($1,993).
For fiscal year 2021-2022, the city set aside $107,025,748 to begin the construction of Phase 2. There was about $770,000 expected to be spent in 2023, 2024 and 2025 in additional expenditures.
Odviar showed most of the money for the project came mostly from developers in the city, the city’s General Fund, Western Riverside County Government TUMF (Regional highways) funds, reimbursements and Measures A and 5.
When completed, the project owner will still be the City of Temecula, until it is turned over to Caltrans. The project designer is T.Y. Lin International. The construction contractor will be FlatIron West Inc. The Construction Manager is TBD with oversight by Caltrans.