Official Says Menifee Road 'Missing Link' to Be Built by Dec. 30

The extension of Menifee Road from Aldergate Road north to Simpson Road is shown in red on this ...

The extension of Menifee Road from Aldergate Road north to Simpson Road is shown in red on this city map.
Although a number of financial, design and scheduling factors prevent the City of Menifee from building a Holland Road overpass at Interstate 215 in less than three years, city officials have found a way to mitigate traffic congestion during the first stages of a multi-phase road improvement plan.

Interim City Manager Rob Johnson told Menifee 24/7 Tuesday that a half-mile stretch of undeveloped land in east Menifee between Aldergate Road and Simpson Road will be turned into a four-lane extension of Menifee Road by Dec. 30. According to Johnson, developer Rancon Group has agreed to begin construction in mid-August, completing the "missing link" in a north-south thoroughfare that could greatly reduce traffic congestion during other nearby road projects.

Local residents have long expressed frustration with the fact that northbound Menifee Road ends at Aldergate Road and southbound Menifee Road dead-ends at Simpson Road (below). It isn't much more than a stone's throw from one end of the missing link to the other, located at the east base of a hillside that precludes alternate routes to the west.

For years, the increasing traffic flow has been forced to detour west on Newport Road and Simpson Road, then travel a parallel route on two-lane Lindenberger Road to continue north-south travel. Visions of increased traffic on this route for motorists trying to avoid the upcoming construction at the Newport Road freeway interchange were fast reaching nightmare proportions.

But now, through a bit of political maneuvering, Menifee officials are prepared to give motorists a viable option.

"Because it was evident we couldn't do Holland Road right away, we asked ourselves what would help alleviate traffic when work begins (estimated in early 2014) on the Newport Interchange," Johnson said after Tuesday night's city council meeting. "Completing Menifee Road redirects drivers in two additional ways to the freeway."

As it stands now, residents in the densely populated areas east of Interstate 215 in the center of town have two access points to the freeway -- Scott Road to the south and Newport Road to the north. A $30 million expansion project beginning early next year will eventually create additional traffic lanes on the Newport Road bridge and improve on- and off-ramps. During the construction, however, that vital east-west thoroughfare will be subject to gridlock.

The extension of Menifee Road will allow motorists to head north to the next freeway access road -- McCall Boulevard -- or proceed even further north on Menifee Road to Highway 74 -- avoiding the eastward detour on the winding, two-lane Lindenberger Road in the process.

The "missing link" project was listed with no start or completion date during an April 30 public works forum that outlined the schedule of road improvements in Menifee. Rancon purchased the land several years ago for its proposed Eldorado housing development but delayed the promised Menifee Road extension when the housing market slowed.

Noting that the bonds issued to finance that project were coming up for renewal, Johnson said city officials told Rancon they would pull the bonds and the city would build that stretch of road if the developer didn't begin the job by mid-August.

"They have to start it before Aug. 17, when the bonds come up again," Johnson said about the Menifee Road projects, which carries a price tag of $4 million. "We can't wait for property values to go up. We just can't wait anymore for that missing link.

"The city is entering into a private/public partnership with Eldorado LLC to get this done. We're trying to show developers that if they put in the infrastructure first, the buyers will come, rather than waiting for the buyers and then putting in the infrastructure."

Johnson said work on the Menifee Road missing link would take place between August and December -- at the same time a stretch of Newport Road to the east of Antelope Road is widened. Thus both projects would be completed before the Newport Interchange construction begins.

"This will improve traffic circulation in a very significant way," said Mayor Scott Mann.

Members of the city council have been the target of public criticism ever since the April 30 public forum, when the schedule for upcoming road projects listed the Holland Road overpass with a 2016 start date. The majority of residents want that additional bridge over the freeway to be built before the Newport Interchange project. (right). Many have directed their anger at Mann and council members Wallace Edgerton and Greg August, who made campaign promises that the Holland overpass would be built first.

"We made those promises that Holland would be built first," Edgerton admitted during Tuesday night's meeting. "We were all under the assumption there was a choice to do so. Since then, it has been made crystal clear to management that bad things might happen if we took the Holland project first."

As Johnson explained, the Newport Interchange project is ready to begin early next year for several reasons. The designs are completed, in addition to the legally required Environmental Impact Report -- a process that would take up to two years for the Holland Road overpass. In addition, he said, Riverside County has committed $12 million to the project and Menifee will be reimbursed for its $17 million share because the project was approved through the TUMF network.

Road projects approved by the county for the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee program receive funds generated through fees paid by local developers. According to Johnson, the county approved the Newport Interchange project because Newport Road is a vital connector road from Hemet west to Interstate 215 and 15. The proposed Holland Road overpass does not meet those requirements and thus is considered ineligible for TUMF funding.

Mann was a proponent of funding the Holland Road overpass project during his first term on city council from 2008-10. He said it was his belief that after he was voted off the council in 2010, the project had qualified for TUMF funding. That, he said, led to his confidence in promising the Holland Road overpass as top priority during the election campaign last fall.

"Based on what had happened when I was on council before, I thought the Holland overpass project was proceeding along its natural course," Mann said. "Nobody monitored it after that. I made that a campaign promise and it was a major goal. Then when we were preparing for the public workshop, we realized it isn't nearly that far along."

Johnson said that work on the design and funding of the Holland Road project has already begun. However, because of the time involved in completing designs, getting an EIR and finding sufficient funding, there is simply no way to move up the 2016 timetable. In fact, he said, if Menifee took the $17 million for which it will be reimbursed for work on the Newport Interchange and diverted it to the Holland overpass, the city would not only be ineligible for reimbursement, it would likely lose the county's $12 million commitment to Newport -- and the Holland project would still take three years.

"If you choose to put money into Holland from the (county) financing, Newport will not get built and neither will Holland for the next several years," Johnson said. "Do we know the traffic is bad? Yes. We're finally putting all the pieces together to address the situation. That wasn't done before."


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  1. Great, that's going to bring in even more people (and crime) from Perris and make Menifee Road a freeway.

  2. "Bad things might happen if we took the Holland project first"...What? Wally Edgerton was the Mayor. He wasn't aware which project was going first? He was aware that the funds for Newport was falling into place and Holland Road was on the back burner. No environmental study, no blue prints, no money..yet he, Mann & August promised the Holland overpass would be the first project, IF ELECTED, despite the facts. Just say anything to defeat Darci and Sue. The "bad things"? Lies and broken campaign promises

  3. Heritage Lake is not an island people! really
    I am thankful for the road to be built.

  4. wow...people of Menifee sure are gullible. Of course they told you one thing and are doing another....its MENIFEE!!! Ya, and this road expansion will DO NOTHING for all the people where it matters the most....what a waste

  5. I'm sure the criminals of Perris know how to take the free way to Menifee and don't need Menifee road to get here, what a crazy comment lol. Politics are never an exact science JUST BE GLAD ALL OF THESE ROADS ARE BEING BUILT, NO MATTER THE ORDER!! I've lived here since 1995 and i couldn't be happier that all of these roads are being upgraded.(it's much better than the 1 lane each way with a stop sign newport overpass that was here when i first moved here) Menifee road being completed will decongest Newport rd plenty until the completion of the Newport overpass. I'm so sick of taking Lindenburger rd.(it doesn't even have a posted speed limit!?) Once the Newport overpass is complete, people will forget they even wanted a Holland rd overpass. As for the last comment about it doing nothing for the people where it matters most, i'm sure you are selfishly talking about yourself. JUST BE HAPPY AND THANKFUL AND QUIT COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERYTHING! :)

  6. Less vehicles head North then South. Just a fact. The real fix is Holland over pass and Scott widening but funding and politics (which do not benefit "the people") will rule the day.
    Ecnav King

  7. All good and well. However, I would like to encourage the use of Traffic Circles also known as Round- Abouts. A safe and efficient way to keep traffic moving, relieving congestion.
    Holland Rd and Haun Rd. intersection would be a perfect location to use this especially when the Holland Rd. extension goes forward.
    I don't understand why Traffic Circles are not used more.

  8. I grew up with a circle in my city. they probably don't do it anymore because there are too many people who don't get the logic and cause accidents. There's a small one at the Marketplace and I always see stupid people who can't figure it out.

    While I'm commenting, i'd like to also know why of all the roads in Menifee to repave, they chose the one in front of city hall. Really?

    Also...the center median that says welcome to menifee?? Ugly - totally ugly... all of newport needs to be redone, not just the overpass. As Newport is the main way east and west, you'd think we'd want it to be a little nice. Then there's all the pot holes on the other side of the freeway. Again, the road leading to city hall is nice. repaved, new lines...our great politicians at work.

    i need to start a blog.



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