County to Manage Future Palm Desert Freeway Project
PALM DESERT – While construction is still a minimum of five years away, Riverside County will take the lead role in building a new Interstate 10 interchange in Palm Desert, one of several freeway improvements planned to meet the Coachella Valley’s long-term transportation needs.
The proposed Portola Avenue Interchange Project would build a new interchange on Interstate 10 at Portola Avenue in the City of Palm Desert to relieve forecasted traffic growth at the Monterey Avenue and Cook Street interchanges.
At the request of the city and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 on April 26 to designate the county transportation department as the lead agency for the future project. The county will manage preparation of design plans, right-of-way acquisition, construction oversight and other key tasks.
“The Portola Avenue interchange will improve freeway access and open up new areas for future growth in the City of Palm Desert and the Thousand Palms community,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “It is an honor that the county has been granted this assignment, in recognition of our extensive experience in delivering complex freeway projects. We look forward to paving the way for the success of this major project.”
In 2005, the City of Palm Desert began studying different alignments and the feasibility of the Portola Avenue interchange project. The project study report, which outlines the need and purpose of the project, was completed and approved by the California Department of Transportation several years ago.
Riverside County will continue working on the project report and environmental document, which will define in detail the scope, cost, schedule, benefits and impacts of the proposed project. Following certification of the project report and environmental document, the county will complete the design, acquire the right-of-way and relocate utilities.
Initial estimates are that the project will cost $72 million. If all the funding is secured, county transportation officials project the interchange could begin construction in five years.
The Portola Avenue interchange project is among several interchange improvements along Interstate 10 in various stages of development. Other projects include the Monroe Street and Jackson Street overpasses in the City of Indio. Both are ranked as high priority projects and are being managed by the City of Indio.
Over the past six years, four Interstate 10 interchanges in the Coachella Valley were completely re-built and the Monterey Avenue interchange was improved. A sixth project, a complete replacement of the Jefferson Street interchange, is currently under construction.