Officials in Riverside County have awarded Skanska USA Civil a $120-million design-build contract to upgrade the SH 71/91 Interchange project in Corona, Calif. 

The project, which is slated for completion in 2025, is one of a series of efforts to ease congestion on the critical and heavily travelled SH 91 transportation corridor between the Riverside and Orange Counties. The new interchange will improve access to SH 71 which extends north to Chino and Ontario. 

The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) selected Skanska as the general contractor in late March. Corona, Calif.-based Falcon Engineering Services, Inc. was awarded the project management contract and is currently servicing the project. 

“Skanska is proud to be part of this important improvement project," Mike Aparicio, executive vice president of Skanska USA’s West Coast operations, said in a statement. "We look forward to building this new infrastructure,” said.

The interchange between State Highways 71 and 91 serves as a gateway between Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties and is a vital link for commuters traveling from residential communities in some of the state’s fastest-growing counties to jobs located in its coastal cities. 

It is also a critical route for freight vehicles linking the Inland Empire with the state’s major ports and transportation hubs. The California Dept. of Transportation, which manages most of the state’s highway and freeway lanes, is partnering with RCTC on the project coordinating lane closures, temporary construction signage, and ensuring all state mandated build standards and practices are met.

Previous construction on the route includes the $1.4-billion Route 91 Corridor Improvement project completed in 2017 and the $29-million Route 91 Corridor Operations project which opened in 2022. Construction on the new interchange project has already commenced and is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

The current project will replace the existing single-lane loop connector with a two-lane, non-tolled direct connector. To support access to the new connector, the project will add an eastbound 91 auxiliary lane next to the highway shoulder and realign the eastbound 91 Green River Road on-ramp to the south. Crews also will slightly realign southbound 71 to create space for the new connector.

“Completing this project will provide welcome relief to our residents, especially those returning to Riverside County during afternoon hours on eastbound 91,” said RCTC Chair Robert Magee.

Located near environmentally sensitive areas like Chino Hills State Park and the Santa Ana River, project staff are actively coordinating with the U.S. and California Fish and Wildlife agencies to ensure native species remain protected. According to RCTC, during construction, protected culverts will be maintained to ensure that native wildlife such as mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes can safely traverse the area. 

Funding for the $120-million project comes from a combination of federal, state and local sources, including $58.1 million raised from an increase in the state’s gasoline tax as part of the California Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, commonly known as SB1. Additional funds were also provided by Riverside County’s 2008 Measure A, a voter-approved half-cent sales tax specifically for road improvements.

According to RCTC, further improvements to the route are currently in the planning process, including a plan to upgrade SH 91 immediately to the east of the interchange. A $5-million engineering and environmental consultant contract is expected to be awarded later this year.