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Rialto Easing Congestion With New Freeway Bridge

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Driving on Riverside Avenue over or onto Interstate 10 will soon be easier as the City of Rialto has begun work to widen Riverside Avenue at its intersection with the freeway.

“This interchange has experienced high traffic for years,” said Robb Steel, director of the Rialto Redevelopment Agency. “This creates a safety hazard, as well as long delays.”

The Redevelopment Agency is financing most of the $32 million project. State and federal funds make up the balance, and also will partially reimburse the Redevelopment Agency’s $30 million up-front contribution.

Revenue generated by Measure I, a half-cent sales tax approved by San Bernardino County voters in 2009, also will reimburse a portion of the Redevelopment Agency’s costs.

The City of Rialto’s intersection widening project coordinates with the ongoing California Department of Transportation project to widen the on and off-ramps at the Riverside interchange.

Rialto is working in partnership with the California Department of Transportation and San Bernardino County Associated Governments to complete this $32 million project.

When complete, it will replace the existing five-lane bridge with one featuring nine lanes, including two left-turn lanes in either direction.

The new bridge and ramps will give travelers a taste of Rialto’s history. “This is the only interchange on Interstate 10 that is completely within Rialto’s city limits,” Steel said. “The City wants to make sure it showcases Rialto in an attractive way.”

The bridge itself will be fashioned in the style of the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy, which is depicted in Rialto’s City seal.

Under the bridge, travelers along Interstate 10 will see decorative walls incorporating the city seal. This seal will also decorate the ends of the bridge’s support columns.

When entering or exiting a ramp facing Valley Boulevard, travelers will see walls featuring oranges and grapes, in a nod to Rialto’s early history as a center for packing houses.

The first phase of this project is to replace the existing onelane on and off-ramps with twolane ramps. The existing ramps will remain open during the project, except for brief closures (usually between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.)

Construction of the bridge itself is expected to take about seven months, beginning in April. During this time, traffic will detour by taking either Valley Boulevard or Slover Avenue to Cedar Avenue, or by taking Rancho Avenue and Agua Mansa Road to continue south on Riverside Avenue. Drivers may also use the Interstate 10 on and off-ramps, provided they can access them wi thout crossing over the freeway.

After the finishing touches, which include installing new signals and painting new lane stripes, the City of Rialto will hold a dedication ceremony for this project. The goal is to have everything completed in early 2012.

The Rialto Interchange is one of several projects the Rialto Redevelopment Agency is currently funding. Others include:

• $15 million to extend Pepper Avenue to the 210 Freeway, opening up 175 acres for future economic development.

• $5.8 million to replace the fire station that was at 1925 N. Riverside Avenue. The new fire station will have modern features, allowing firefighters and paramedics to better serve Rialto residents.

• $7 million to improve Fergusson Park, including creating two new football fields.

• $2.4 million to relocate utilities and upgrade infrastructure on the old, recently demolished fire station property, making the freeway-frontage location suitable for new commercial development.

• $2 million for construction of 75 units of senior housing on Foothill Boulevard.

• $1 million to expand the Rialto Library and add a new computer lab.

“The Rialto Redevelopment Agency has an aggressive redevelopment program to reshape the community and help both businesses and residents,” Steel said.

For more information about how the Rialto Redevelopment Agency can help a business to upgrade, expand or relocate within the city, contact Robb Steel at (909) 879-1140.

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