Menifee City Council Meeting - July 23, 2008

I attended this evening's city council meeting. It was a packed house with every seat filled. This room was smaller than the ones at K...

I attended this evening's city council meeting. It was a packed house with every seat filled. This room was smaller than the ones at Kay Ceniceros Center and the Paloma Valley High School Theater. And close to the end of the meeting it got hot and muggy in there as well.

Newport Road Realignment

Juan Perez, from the county transportation department was the key speaker. He started off by describing road improvement projects all through Menifee and surrounding areas. And there's quite a bit going on...

  • Murrieta Rd Widening - located between Ethanac and Rouse Rd, to begin Fall 2009, cost $6 million.

  • Newport Rd Bridge - improvements to the bridge and interchange over I-215, to beging Spring 2011, cost $40 million.

  • Scott Rd Widening - between Briggs and I-215, to begin Winter 2008, cost $7 million

  • Scott Rd Bridge - over I-215, improvements to begin Summer 2011, cost $50 million

  • Bundy Canyon Rd - improvements between Murrieta Rd to I-215, beginning Summer 2010, cost $50 million

  • Leon & Rice Roads - connector roads between Domenigoni Pkwy and Simpson Road, beginning Spring 2011, cost $40 million
As for the Newport Road realignment, Perez went through the process of explaining why we're at a stand still. It's basically two things, one the developer backed out. But two, because it's a really difficult project.

It sounds like it all hinges on moving these two reclaimed water mains. Those mains belong to EMWD, and the county can't move without their coordination.

The other biggie is that the new Goetz Rd Bridge is very difficult to build because the elevation of the existing bridge is much lower than the elevation of the realigned Newport Rd. Building this bridge requires having to shut down Goetz Rd. And they can't shut down Goetz Rd unless they open up the realigned Newport Rd to use as a bypass. And of course, they can't open up the realigned Newport Rd until they relocate those two reclaimed water mains. So, it all hinges on the water mains.

But worse yet, the county will likely have to go after the developer's $17 million bond money. However, Perez said that when they file a claim to get the bond money, the bond insurer will likely deny the claim, and the county will have to seek legal recourse to get it. That could take between 18 to 24 months to do.

So Perez said they could obtain Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) funds to finance a "Short Term" solution.

The Short Term solution will open up the southern lane of the realigned Newport Rd. This southern lane is wide enough to allow bidirectional traffic. They can do this without having to build the new Goetz Rd bridge. The existing Newport Rd that we're using now will be renamed to Normandy Rd, and will still carry traffic. The exception is that Normandy Rd will end at Berea Rd. It will not continue out to Murrieta Rd.

Perez didn't say if this Short Term plan will happen. He kinda proposed it to the city council. I got the sense that the County is not really moving forward on Newport Rd, and that this is all being handed off to the new city. Maybe I'm not totally correct on that, but that's my sense.

I did speak out, however, and addressed Perez that the Short Term plan he described was actually the official plan that the developer was putting into place. I said that we ought to move forward on it, on the grounds that all road construction done thus far was done based on doing exactly what he described. Perez acknowledged that. I guess it's up to the city at this point?

Another commenter suggested that all those other road improvement plans (what I noted above), are projects scheduled for years later. Therefore, why not use that money to improve Newport Rd, since it's about 80% completed already. I didn't exactly get what Perez said to that effect, but it sounded l