Traffic Solution to Interstate 10 Tie-Ups Configured At Benoit’s Request, Median Breaks Installed at Two I-10 Locations
WHITEWATER – Caltrans has completed work on two Interstate 10 median breaks that will allow the California Highway Patrol to safely turn around traffic in the event of an emergency that shuts down the freeway.
Wood and metal dividers separate opposite lanes of the I-10 through much of the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Pass where no alternate routes are available. On multiple occasions, emergencies such as traffic accidents and criminal activity have brought traffic to a standstill and stranded travelers for hours. Caltrans has removed portions of these dividers and replaced them with K-rails that can be moved during emergencies, allowing the California Highway Patrol to temporarily redirect traffic onto the opposite side of the freeway around a tie-up.
The permanent guardrail was removed and replaced with 200-foot K-rail barriers in two sections along Interstate 10: 1.2 miles east of Main Street in Cabazon and 1.7 miles west of Haugen-Lehmann Way.
“In emergencies, this stretch of the freeway has left motorists jammed with no other route,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “The portable median breaks are now a tool in the kit for future freeway closures. Riverside County is extremely appreciative of Caltrans’ work on this project, accomplishing an expeditious and cost-effective response that meets our concerns.”
After a fatal crash shut down westbound Interstate 10 traffic for six hours in December, Supervisor Benoit initiated meetings with Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and Riverside County Transportation Department officials. The project, a viable immediate alternative to bypass roads, arose as a direct result of these discussions.
Local and state officials are working together to find additional ways to prevent similar tie-ups on Interstate 10. Caltrans is planning to install additional median breaks in 2012 with gates to supplement the removable K-rail barriers. Riverside County is also working together with various partner agencies to explore bypass road solutions through this constricted area of the I-10 corridor.