Newport Road Completion Date Pushed Back One Month

Traffic continues to move slowly on Newport Road east of Interstate 215 during construction. C...

Traffic continues to move slowly on Newport Road east of Interstate 215 during construction.
Completion of the Newport Road widening project, originally expected in December, now won't be completed until sometime near the end of January, according to a city official.

Jonathan Smith, director of public works for the City of Menifee, said the final stage of construction, including paving of the new six-lane roadway, is scheduled for the third week of January. He said rain and cold weather prevented proper drying of construction areas in recent weeks, causing the delay.

Traffic is open in both directions as construction crews continue work on a narrow median and center lanes on a stretch of Newport Road from Menifee Road to Antelope Road. The $2.8 million project will provide additional lanes for traffic heading to and from the Hemet area, maximizing what has become a heavily traveled thoroughfare in the area.

One of the next road improvement projects is the Newport Road / 215 Freeway interchange project, a $30 million project city officials hope will begin in March. That will extend the widened Newport Road across the freeway and will eliminate traffic signals currently in place by reconstructing freeway on- and off-ramps.

Smith said that project has not yet gone out to bid, but he added that the city has been informed by the Riverside County Transportation Commission that enough funding has been acquired through the county to pay for the project.

A third road project, already well underway, is the so-called "missing link" stretch of Menifee Road in a hilly section between Aldergate Drive to the south and Simpson Road to the north. That project also was expected to be completed by year's end but is now projected for a March completion date, Smith said.

That stretch of roadway is being built by the Rancon Group, developers of a proposed housing development in the area. Completion of that roadway will give motorists another direct north-south road alternative to the interstate.

The proposed Holland Road overpass, which would provide an additional route over Interstate 215, remains in the early stages of planning and fundraising. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2016.