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'Haunted' overpass hampers freeway traffic

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Traffic on the freeway from Riverside to the Palm Springs area was delayed Saturday while construction crews removed a "haunted" overpass for a widening project.

Traffic traveling eastbound on the Moreno Valley 60-Freeway was rerouted at the Nason Street offramp, and then allowed back onto the freeway at an adjacent onramp while a portion of the old overpass was being demolished.

The Nason Street bridge, constructed in the 1950s, had gained fame as the rumored haunt of ghosts, who seemingly would push cars stopped in neutral up the incline.

The rumor was exposed as an optical illusion, caused by a sloping countryside that made the overpass look like an upgrade, when it actually was a slight downgrade, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported on the "spooky Inland-area myth" last year. 

According to a 1996 UC Riverside study on “gravity hills,” the position of trees and other scenery trick the eyes into thinking you are traveling uphill when in fact the road is sloping down...A topographic map of the area confirms this. 

The old two-lane overpass became a major bottleneck as Moreno Valley evolved from citrus groves to subdivisions, city officials said. Residents were invited to a party next to the freeway Friday night to witness the bridge demolition project.

Today's traffic jams were no illusion, as the three-lane eastbound 60 backed up several miles.

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