While it will be a couple of years before improvements to the Cherry Valley Boulevard interchange on Interstate 10 begin, the city of Calimesa is seeking residents’ input on options for that interchange.
A public information workshop to discuss the options will be held in October or November, announced Lori Askew, public works director for the city at its Monday, Sept. 16, council meeting.
“We want people to come. We want to get their input, to listen to them,” Askew said. “Then we will take that information and that will be considered when we issue the final documents.”
Askew emphasized the word “considered” and also stressed the workshop would be informational.
“It’s a workshop,” she said. “No decisions or anything have to be made at that point.”
Askew provided an update on the interchange project, which has been planned for many years and is currently in the Project Approval (PA) and Environmental Document (ED) phase after first going through a Project Study Report (PSR), where three design alternatives were identified. At previous meetings it has been discussed that at least one of the designs includes roundabouts and the interchange will cost about $24 million.
Since the first of the year, city staff has been meeting monthly with engineering consultant Michael Baker International, Caltrans and Riverside County transportation staff.
“Right now we are in the process of working on the PAED, which is mostly the environmental phase,” Askew said.
Environmental documents will be collected on all three alternatives, with Askew listing traffic and noise studies and right-of-way mapping, among others, as some of the information needed.
“They are going to be starting the biological studies, systematic field studies, noise studies, things like that where they have to get actual access on to the private properties to do some of the studies that will go into the ultimate environmental reports,” Askew said, adding impacted property owners will receive notices.
This phase will take a while.
“All of these reports, they are hoping to have done where we can get the final document to council by the first quarter of 2021,” Askew said. “It is not a quick study.”
She went on to explain that receiving a “locally preferred alternative” for the interchange is part of the process.
“They are asking the cities to come up with a locally preferred alternative. We don’t wait until the very end of the document to say, ‘OK, this is what we want.’ That means picking one of the options that the PSR came up with,” Askew said.
The workshop will include presentations, exhibits, videos and other information on all three alternatives and is expected to be mid-week in late afternoon or early evening.
“What we want to do is inform you of what these alternatives are,” Askew said to council. “Then you guys will also have information to go on if you want to select a preferred alternative.”
City Manager Bonnie Johnson reminded councilmembers the city of Beaumont will also be part of the interchange design process as part of a settlement.
“Calimesa is the lead agency and Calimesa will be the one selecting the local alternative,” Johnson said. “But during this process, we will be reaching out
to the city of Beaumont and Beaumont councilmembers, inviting them to our public workshop and looking for input and dialogue.”
Calimesa and Beaumont staff have already begun to meet, Johnson said.
“We will continue to do so, not only to get their thoughts and ideas, but also to make sure we are in compliance with both
Beaumont and (Western Riverside Council of Governments) as we work through this process,” Johnson said.
Calimesa City Hall is located at 908 Park Ave., Calimesa, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The phone number is 795-9801