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RCC braces for freeway closures

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By Itzel Farias / Asst. News Editor

Traffic jam (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

By Itzel Farias / Asst. News Editor

Commuting to Riverside City College will change for many students and faculty now that the construction of the State Route 91/High Occupancy Vehicle project, also known as the SR-91 HOV project, has begun.

The project consists of the construction of a high occupancy vehicle lane (a carpool lane) in each direction of State Route 91, which is meant to help alleviate car congestion, as well as the modification and reconstruction of 13 bridges.

The reconstruction of these 13 bridges is one of the concerns many students and faculty have. The impact it may have on the population of the campus and finding a detour to their regular route are a few of them.

“Each bridge will be down for about a year each,” said Shelli Lombardo, Caltrans public information officer. “Bridges will not be down at the same time, if you use one bridge, you have to find your way through another.”

Lombardo suggests students should add 45 minutes to their commute, especially when construction for the 14th Street bridge starts, because there will be only one lane for each direction.

The 14th Street bridge will be under construction for a year and a half to two years.

Commuting to the college with extra time will be crucial for students because the same rules still apply.

“Keep in mind that if any of you have financial aid, if any of you play sports, this (project) will affect you, if you are in and out of the campus… if you’re not here on time, you will dropped from your class,” Lombardo said.

Kevin Grissom, a student at RCC, is one of the many that will be affected by the project.

“I ride my bike to school, so it’s going to add even more time to get to the college because riding a bike already takes longer than a car,” Grissom said. “I come here five days a week, Monday to Friday, and because of that, I will probably condense my classes into lesser days.”

One of the major concerns Grissom has is the length of time the project will take to complete.

The project is estimated to be completed in three and half years; with construction ending in 2015.

“Major concern that I have is that contractions always take longer than they say they will,” Grissom said.

As it will take time for this project to be completed, Lombardo suggests students to stay updated with the status of the project.

“Really know about this project so (they) can get into the campus and into (their) classes on time,” she said.

Students can email Lombardo for more information at shelli_lombardo@dot.ca.gov with the subject title of “91 .”

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