55-hour-closures-coming-to-60-freeway-on-15-weekends-between-july-and-thanksgiving

55-hour closures coming to 60 Freeway on 15 weekends between July and Thanksgiving

If you think you’ll be driving the 60 Freeway between Chino and Riverside at night or on weekends between late July and Thanksgiving, don’t.

A series of major closures are planned to enable construction crews to replace 18 miles of crumbling, aging pavement with shiny new ribbons of concrete. Crews also will paint stripes on the freeway and repave exit and entrance ramps, Caltrans officials say. If that weren’t enough, there are plans to replace bridges, too, said Caltrans spokeswoman Kimberly Cherry.

It’s all expected to add up to one giant mess — one Caltrans is calling the “60 Swarm.”

The most draconian feature will be 15 weekends of total eastbound or westbound closures — 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday — stretching from the 15 Freeway to the 60-91-215 interchange. For those who remember the weekend-long closure of the 91 Freeway in Corona in February 2016, dubbed “Coronageddon,” this will be a lot like that.

Also planned are nighttime lane closures throughout the week starting Monday, July 22, and continuing through fall 2021 on a wider stretch of the 60: Euclid Avenue to the 60-91-215 interchange.

The work will take place along an important regional artery that connects Inland Empire commuters with coastal jobs, and carries much freight traffic.

In one sense, the “60 Swarm” won’t be as bad as Coronageddon. Then, the entire 91 Freeway closed in both directions. For the upcoming work, all lanes in one direction of the 60 will shut, but the other side will remain open, Cherry said.

In another sense, the 60 shutdown will be worse.

The 91 closure involved one weekend. Cherry said the 60 will close every weekend from Friday, July 26, through Monday, Nov. 18, with the exception of the Labor Day and Veterans Day weekends.

Joe Morgan, a Corona resident who survived the 91 shutdown, said that earlier closure was characterized by surprisingly few problems.

“I thought it was going to be bedlam around here,” Morgan said.

It wasn’t, however, largely because transportation officials did a good job getting the word out, he said.

“Everyone in Southern California knew that the 91 was going to be closed,” he added. “People took it seriously.”

As a result, he said, “Everybody stayed away. It was actually pretty quiet around here.”

This time around, Morgan said drivers will have more alternatives. There are multiple parallel routes — the 10, 210 and 91 freeways and surface streets — that drivers can take instead of the 60.

On the other hand, Morgan said it could prove difficult getting people to change driving habits for several months.

“Most people can put off what they are doing for one weekend,” he said. “But for 15 weekends? That’s a lot.”

It’s going to be an inconvenience, no doubt about it, said Tom Lorenz, a spokesman for the city of Ontario. However, he said, he believes for the most part motorists will put up with it, knowing they will get, in the end, a smoother highway to drive on.

Lorenz said Ontario officials have been holding community meetings, and using social media and the city’s website, to put the word out.

“I can tell you all around people are happy that this is getting fixed,” he said. Many residents are saying “it’s about time,” he said.

Other cities also are reaching out. What they are alerting residents about is this:

  • Nighttime closures of selected lanes on the 60 between Euclid Avenue and 60-91-215 beginning Monday, July 22, and continuing through fall 2021, nightly between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following morning.
  • Weekend closures of all eastbound 60 lanes, including all eastbound on- and off-ramps, between the 15 and 60/91/215, 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, from July 26 through Sept. 23, excluding Labor Day weekend.
  • Weekend closures of all westbound 60 lanes, including all westbound on- and off-ramps, between the 60/91/215 and 15, 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, from Sept. 28 through Nov. 18, excluding Veterans Day weekend.
  • Caltrans will begin replacing the Pipeline Avenue, Monte Vista Avenue and Benson Avenue bridges in fall. The new spans will be higher and wider. More information will be provided later on those closures.

In a separate project in the same area, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority also plans to improve bridges.

Tim Watkins, a spokesman for the transportation authority, said work will begin in early 2020 on a $31 million Central Avenue bridge project and on a $22 million Archibald Avenue bridge project.

“There will be a time when all of those projects are under construction at the same time,” Watkins said.

60 SWARM

Pavement repairs

Details: Rehabilitate 18 miles of pavement on 60 Freeway

When: Late July through fall 2021

Where: 60 Freeway between Euclid Avenue in San Bernardino County and 60-91-215 interchange in Riverside County

Project cost: $134.5 million

Contractor: J. McLoughlin Engineering Co.

Bridge repairs

Details: Replace three bridges along 60 Freeway

Where: Pipeline Avenue, Monte Vista Avenue, Benson Avenue

When: Summer 2019 through fall 2021

Project cost: $23 million

Contractor: Sema Construction

Source: Caltrans

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