Groundbreaking Marks Beginning of Newport Road Project

City, county and construction officials take part in a groundbreaking ceremony marking the begin...

City, county and construction officials take part in a groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of the Newport Road widening project.
(Photos by Patricia Sanchez)
A $3 million project to widen and add lanes to Newport Road approaching Interstate 215 from the east kicked off today with a groundbreaking ceremony involving the various parties involved in planning and carrying out the project.

Beginning this week and continuing until about the end of November, construction crews will be working in two shifts, night and day, to add one lane each way to the busy east-west thoroughfare. Work will be done in phases, with one lane closed at a time as the center median is taken out and the roadside extended on each side of the street.

According to Kurtis Akabori of Griffith Company construction, a smaller median will replace the wider median. Additional width to the road will be gained by reducing the sidewalk and grass area on each side of the street from Antelope Road about 1,000 feet to the east.

When the project is completed, Newport Road will have three lanes on each side of the median from Menifee Road west to Antelope Road. In addition to adding one lane each way, a second left-turn pocket from westbound Newport to southbound Antelope will be added.

"This is not just a road program," said Interim City Manager Rob Johnson, who attended the groundbreaking along with Mayor Scott Mann and city council members. "This is a bright shining signal that Menifee is growing up. We're designing meaningful and necessary projects that add value to the community and improve traffic circulation."

This project is one of the first phases of a five-year Capital Improvement Project program which will also include widening and redesign of the freeway interchanges at Newport Road and Scott Road and a freeway overpass at Holland Road. Running concurrently with this project is a separate project, funded by the developer Rancon Group, which is building a section of Menifee Road between Simpson Road and Aldergate Drive, known as the "missing link."

Start of construction in the next phase of the program -- redesign of the $37 million Newport Road interchange -- is expected to begin shortly after the current proj