CORONA, Calif. — Motorists were reminded Thursday to steer clear of the westbound Riverside (91) Freeway in Corona during overnight construction work next week that will require a nearly one-mile closure of all westbound lanes on the west end of the city.
“To reduce traffic time, motorists traveling westbound are encouraged to avoid the area by using the northbound Corona (71) Expressway to the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway to the southbound Orange (57) Freeway to navigate around the closure,” according to a Riverside County Transportation Commission statement.
“Similar to the eastbound 91 full closures that occurred this fall, the westbound 91 closures will allow crews to safely continue construction of support structures and form-work for the new 71/91 connector,” the agency said. “The support structures for the new connector will be approximately 30 feet in height, with more than 200 beams being positioned during these weeknight closures.”
The closures are part of the “71/91 Interchange Project,” which began in February.
The initial nighttime closure is scheduled for 10 p.m. Monday, with all westbound 91 lanes — including Express toll lanes — out of service from the 71 to Green River Road. Westbound motorists on the freeway can still access most exits into downtown Corona before encountering the closure zone.
The lane closures will be in effect until 4 a.m. Tuesday. The same closures will be implemented again on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, according to RCTC.
RCTC said the Monday-to-Wednesday schedule will be maintained, weather- permitting, to Jan. 17, though all construction activity will be suspended from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1 for the Holidays.
In addition to the nearly mile-long 91 closure, the Express Lane transition bridges from south- and northbound Interstate 15 to the westbound 91 will be closed during the work, and no Express Lanes will be available from I- 15 to the Orange County line.
The southbound 71 to the westbound 91 transition will have to be closed, as well, according to RCTC.
“Weeknight traffic congestion is anticipated in Corona, and motorists are strongly advised to allow for extra travel time and to bypass the area,” RCTC said.
Those attempting to continue on the westbound 91 from downtown Corona can detour onto Auto Center Drive to Green River Road, but traffic volume may be heavy.
The $137 million 71/91 Interchange Project entails replacing the current single-lane connector from the eastbound 91 to the 71 with a two-lane connector loop, which will accommodate a larger volume of vehicles.
Along with expanding the connector itself, the interchange project further involves adding an eastbound auxiliary lane to the 91 and realigning the Green River on-ramp. The expressway, too, will be realigned to create space for the new connector.
Officials said a wildlife crossing will be one of the other features of the reconfigured interchange.
The project is expected to conclude sometime in 2025.
More than one-third of the project funding — $58.1 million — is being provided by the California Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017, which hiked gasoline taxes to pay for infrastructure and other projects. The county’s Measure A revenue, which is generated by a half-cent sales tax, is also covering a share of the expense, while federal and other sources make up the difference.
Updates on the project are available at rctc.org/7191closures and www.rctc.org/71-91interchange.