An agreement with the California Department of Transportation for the construction of an I-10 interchange at Wildwood Canyon Road was approved by Yucaipa City Council at its meeting on Oct. 9 by a 5-0 vote.
According to a report prepared by city staff, the interchange will be located about one mile east of the Live Oak Canyon/Oak Glen Road on- and off-ramps and one mile west of the County Line Road interchange.
The project will be divided into three phases, beginning with the construction of westbound on- and off-ramps on the northern side of the I-10 as well as a road connecting to Calimesa Boulevard. The second phase will involve the eastbound ramps on the southern side of the freeway, and a bridge connecting the two will be constructed in the third phase.
Senior Engineer Landon Kern, who presented the proposal to the council, said that the project would require both two separate reports as mandated by Caltrans as well as the Federal Highway Administration. Costs associated with the preparation of the reports have been in part subsidized by the San Bernardino County Transit Authority.
Councilmember Dick Riddell said that he had in the past opposed the project due to its cost and added that he was “very pessimistic about the thing being completed with any reasonable length of time.”
In addition, he said that when he was a member of SBCTA, then known as the San Bernardino Association of Governments of SANBAG, the project had low priority.
“I think it’s a good project, but to complete the whole thing, it’s a $30 to $40 million project and there’s no way it can be done without considerable Measure I money or outside funding,” he said. “I know (City Manager) Ray (Casey) has taken this on as kind of a personal passion, and I admire his tenacity in working on it….I hope it’s successful, I hope I’m wrong, but since the council’s been going along with it and I’m the only one in opposition, I’ll withdraw my formal opposition to the project.”
“But,” he added, “I still think it’s going to be one hell of a tough sell.”
Councilmember David Avila said he was optimistic about the project’s success.
“This interchange, when it’s constructed, is going to be very important to our community,” he said. “It’s going to help ease our traffic issues with our neighbors to the south in Calimesa and whatever future developments we have on the other side of the freeway.”
He added that he has been able to raise the priority of the project during his tenure with SBCTA.
“I’ve taken a different tact, and I’ve managed to garner some support from the board on this,” he said. “We’re moving forward with this…not so much on the far side of the county, but maybe closer to us … (they) are looking at it favorably.”
Mayor Greg Bogh said that he’d like to see the first phase of the project, which involves construction on the westbound side, completed “as soon as possible.”
“Our goal really is to finish phase 1, and that would alleviate quite a bit (of traffic) off of Oak Glen Road and County Line Road,” he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Duncan also expressed his support for the project.
“When I got elected in 2012, I really wanted to develop the freeway corridor,” he said. “That is a goal of mine.”