Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Crews Into the Final Stretch Paving the Way for Freeway (SB Sun 092206)

Crews into the final stretch
Paving the way for freeway
Andrew Silva, Staff Writer
San Bernardino County Sun
Article Launched:09/21/2006 12:00:00 AM PDT

RIALTO - In the past few days, a gently curving ribbon of white concrete has appeared in the wide dirt trench that will cradle the new Interstate 210 extension.


Photo Gallery: 210 freeway expansion

With paving now under way for the final seven-mile stretch of the long-awaited freeway, the project has entered the home stretch, with promises of relief to frazzled commuters and an economic boon to the working-class communities in its path.

About 10 feet above the evolving roadway, Shane Morales leaned on a rail at the top of a crawling steel structure resembling something out of a "Star Wars" movie, as he casually piloted the Gomarco GP-4000 paving machine.

"It pretty much runs itself," the 35-year-old Riverside resident said over the whine of the 475-horsepower diesel engine just behind him.
Giant dump trucks dropped 22 cubic yards of fresh concrete at a time in front of the machine as it crept steadily along at about 15 feet per minute.
With each load, the skip-loader driver confidently sped into the pile, running the bucket to within a few inches of the front of the paver as he spread the wet gray pile so the machine could draw the concrete in evenly.
Working from Pepper Avenue west to Ayala Drive and back, the 20 workmen have laid roughly three miles of the inside shoulder, carpool lane and fast lane in each direction.

At least they've done that for the first 6-inch-thick layer. The freeway lanes will be 18 inches thick when finished, with a 1-inch asphalt-concrete layer in the middle to reduce shocks and cracks, topped by the final 11-inch-thick concrete roadway.

When finished, the I-210 extension will connect to Highway 30 in San Bernardino, providing an uninterrupted run connecting Redlands, Pasadena and Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, all while taking some of the heat off the teeth-gnashing mess on Interstate 10.
The freeway has already proven to be an economic boon to Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana.

"The freeways have become like the rivers of old in attracting commerce," said Robb Steel, Rialto's development director.

Indeed, city officials decided to close the Rialto Municipal Airport to free up space for development that will be drawn to the new freeway.
"We want to capture our share of the regional commercial market," Steel said.

The city has already brought in two major distribution centers totaling 6 million square feet thanks to the new route.

And the airport site is envisioned as a high-quality mixed-use development, bringing residential, retail and commercial together in one walkable area.

Fontana has already seen the I-210 extension fulfill its promise as a road to riches.

The areas around the freeway have exploded with high-end development, luring businesses and middle- to upper-middle-income residents, the demographic long-coveted by the once-struggling city.
"The 210 has been the main artery pumping life into that (economic) heart," Fontana Mayor Mark Nuaimi said.

Fontana has seen houses selling for $700,000, a new auto mall, ambitious community parks in the works, and plans for a development called the Promenade, similar to Rancho Cucamonga's successful Victoria Gardens.
Professionals from the San Gabriel Valley have been able to move east to Fontana and buy nicer homes for less money without adding a ton of misery to their commutes, Nuaimi said.

Inland Empire economist John Husing sees the freeway as a chance to open entire areas of the San Bernardino Valley to economic development.
San Bernardino International Airport will be surrounded by interstates, he said, further attracting shipping and warehouse businesses. Not to mention the benefit to commuters and truckers of easing congestion on the chronically jammed I-10.

San Bernardino's long-impoverished Westside could be in for a major shift, he said.

"Muscoy is an area due for dramatic change," Husing said.
County Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who represents the area, agrees.
State Street could become a major commercial corridor, linking the Cal State San Bernardino area with Muscoy, she said.

She approved spending $300,000 to study possible improvements to State Street, including widening, curbs and gutters, and maybe street lights if residents want them.

"That's a brand-new business frontier that wouldn't be there without the freeway," she said.

Of course, there are still some bridges to be finished and plenty of work to be done before the first cars drive on the last stretch of the freeway extension late next year.

But the start of the final phase of paving "is a milestone for us," said Cheryl Donahue, spokeswoman for San Bernardino Associated Governments, which is building the freeway.

Back on the paving machine, foreman Kim Vanvolkinburg of San Diego-based Coffman Specialties praised the tight choreography of his crew as they laid a 37-foot-wide layer of concrete in a single pass.
Giant rotating screws, called augers, in front of the machine distribute the concrete as it's drawn under the paver, where vibrating mechanisms make sure the material is even.

Big steel plates leave behind an incredibly even surface, while finishers trailing behind run trowels on long poles over the concrete to precisely smooth out the base layer.

On a pleasantly warm afternoon, with the great machine vibrating beneath his feet, Vanvolkinburg looks around, smiles broadly, and says above the noise: "I love it!"

BS Ranch Perspective:

Well the final stretch is in the paper, but that doesn't mean that it will be open any time soon, they tease with the best of them with that comment! The time that they were going to open that last stretch of the I-15 through Norco, it took them a great deal of time, each time they had several reports in the news paper that said that it was going to be any day now, and it could have opened any time, but they decided against it because they had a more then seven mile movie set that could more then make its money back in time and efforts for the over time that it took to pay the men to open the freeway in a timely manor. But, if you recall, which I do, this last stretch of freeway was supposed to have been opened already nine months ago, but it was delayed as a result of a fear that the proposition that pays for the whole mess was not going to pass in the voting booth, well it did, but before then they figured what a mistake they were making and decided to correct it by making a move to start construction back up, but that short time that they were closed down, caused almost a full nine months to a year to make them behind. weird huh? or is that just my "New Math" working against them, and the "old Math" working against them?? I get so confused about the new vs. the old?

BS Ranch

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