Menifee Director of Public Works Explains Priority Given to Newport Road Interchange

Traffic congestion heading westbound over the Newport Road bridge will be reduced by the new design...

Traffic congestion heading westbound over the Newport Road bridge will be reduced by the new design.

Story updated with additional information at 4:10 p.m.

Editor's note: Menifee 24/7 and City Hall have received many comments and inquiries since our June 6 story about the city's plan for road improvements -- especially the prioritizing of projects designed to alleviate traffic congestion. In an effort to clarify the situation, Director of Public Works and Engineering Don Allison sat down with Menifee 24/7 this week.

As part of the city staff's budget proposal to the Menifee City Council, a capital improvement project listed top priorities for road improvements. All are contingent on additional funding the city is seeking through grants and other revenue sources. The top three projects that were presented to the City Council for consideration, in priority order, are:

-- Reconstruction and expansion of the Interstate 215 interchange at Newport Road
-- Reconstruction and expansion of the 215 interchange at Scott Road
-- Construction of a freeway overpass at Holland Road

These projects are being considered while the city continues to attract additional businesses, including a Wal-Mart planned for Scott Road near Haun Road.

Recognizing the current traffic congestion crossing the freeway at Newport and at Scott and realizing the additional traffic jams that would be caused during construction on these interchanges, many residents are asking the same question:

Why won't the city build the Holland overpass first?

"We all understand Holland is an important project," said Don Allison, Director of Public Works and Engineering for the city. "Ultimately, the city council sets these priorities. It's their decision if they want to change them. But we believe they're concurrent with this plan."

Here's why:

According to Allison, the Newport Road interchange was given top priority by the county long before Menifee became a city. County officials designated it as a regional corridor from east to west. Drivers use this route from Hemet, where it was expanded by county work crews as Domenigoni Parkway, some 20 miles to the west to Lake Elsinore, where it is Railroad Canyon Road. Thousands of vehicles use this important artery every day, encountering one major bottleneck -- at Newport Road and the 215.