Crime & Justice

Governor Schwarzenegger signs bill to ease traffic on the 91 Freeway

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Governor Schwarzenegger is busy signing or vetoing hundreds of bills passed by the legislature this year. One bill he signed this week gives the green light to a project to speed up traffic on the 91 Freeway.

The 91 Freeway is a rush hour nightmare from Riverside County to Orange County in the morning – and the other way in the afternoon. That’s why the Riverside County Transportation Commission wants to replace the carpool lanes on the 91 with two toll lanes and a general use lane in both directions. The toll lanes will raise the money to pay for the bonds that’ll pay for the project.

Here’s where Assemblyman Jeff Miller’s bill comes in: it allows the commission to use the “design-build” approach on the project. A single firm will get to design the lanes and build ‘em.

Usually Caltrans engineers or contractors design – and someone else builds. Not this time. To satisfy the union for Caltrans engineers, the project will use Caltrans inspectors to check the work.

Assemblyman Miller says the “design-build” approach will speed up the 91 Freeway expansion project by three years. One reason is because the builder can’t ask for changes because the designer did something wrong; the builder is the designer. Work starts in two years.