The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking today for the next two phases of the Interstate 215 Widening Project through downtown San Bernardino. The ceremony took place at 10:00 a.m. at Fairview Ford, on the top floor overlooking I-215.
Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki was joined by Federal Highway Administration Administrator Victor Mendez, California Secretary of the Business, Transportation, & Housing Agency Dale Bonner, San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, District 8 Director Dr. Raymond W. Wolfe, San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales, and other local and state officials, as well as community members. Transportation leaders faced funding challenges to keep this nearly $800-million project on track. It is funded with a combination of sources from federal, state and local Measure I funds. This is one of the first major infrastructure projects using stimulus funds to start construction in California.
“After working around the clock to pump federal Recovery funding into the California economy, we are seeing the start of more jobs that will drive our state down the road to economic recovery,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This Recovery funding will not only help stimulate the local Inland Empire economy, but also improve area transportation infrastructure for generations to come.”
On September 2, SANBAG awarded a $172,655,044 contract to Skanska-Rados Construction to build Phase 3. The investment includes $128 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds that will create thousands of jobs, many in the Inland Empire.
“Projects like this are evidence that strengthening the economy begins with investment in our local communities,” said FHWA Administrator Mendez. “Improving major routes like the I-215 will ease local traffic congestion, put thousands of people in southern California back to work and pave the way toward economic prosperity.” “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony exemplifies what can be accomplished in the Inland Empire when local agencies, elected officials, and the community unite for the good of the region,” said Paul Eaton, President of SANBAG. “SANBAG thanks our federal and state legislators for their collaboration in getting funding for this project, as well as the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) for their support. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Caltrans and RCTC to improve the mobility needs of the Inland Empire.” Caltrans is expecting to hold a bid opening of the Phase 4 segment on September 24 to complete the northern most segment of this 7.5-mile project. This segment funding also includes $81 million of Proposition 1B funds and State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds. “This double investment of stimulus and Prop 1B will payoff with jobs sorely needed in the region,” said Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki. “But it is also critical for the area’s economic growth and sets the foundation for the City’s revitalization plans.”
This four-phase project is a collaborative effort between Caltrans, SANBAG and the City of San Bernardino.
The project spans a 7.5-mile stretch at an estimated cost of $800 million. The entire project starts on the I-215 from just north of I-10 to University Parkway. Phases 3 & 4 will continue the widening of I-215 from Rialto Avenue to University Parkway. They include 17 new bridges, new on- and off-ramps, a wider freeway and I-215/SR-210 connector ramps.
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