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Drivers beware: More overpass construction begins next week

By Natalie Brunell, KESQ News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 Reporter, Natalie.Brunell@kesq.com
Published On: Mar 27 2014 06:18:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2014 07:00:00 PM CDT

As Date Palm overpass construction ends, Monterey begins. Natalie Brunell reports from behind the wheel.

PALM DESERT, Calif. -

With the Date Palm overpass construction nearly complete, the only remaining obstacles to traffic are red cones telling drivers there's a big change to getting on I-10.

"Working with law enforcement and CalTrans it was decided to close that lane to make sure people are aware you make a right turn to get on and not a left turn anymore," said Dennis Green, construction coordinator for the Riverside County Transportation Department.

The updated design is meant to ease congestion and prevent accidents that occur when people don't yield to oncoming traffic to turn left onto the freeway.

"The advantage is the right turn will be almost a free flow which gets more traffic across the overcrossing," Green said.

Next Friday, more construction will break ground on another busy overpass; this time at Monterey and Varner, which will have a new westbound on-ramp to the freeway.

"Same scenario, it puts you at a right lane free-flow, so there's going to be a learning curve," Green said.

"Any time they work on Monterey, it's a nightmare," said Ivan Thomson, who drives across the bridge at least twice a day.

Thomson is anxious about the toll a 15-18 month construction project will take on commuters.

"The 15-month bill period is going to be a nightmare. That means I'm going to have to take Bob Hope or another off-ramp," he said.

Businesses in the area are also nervous about the project, but would not speak to us on camera. Officials assure us it will only impact traffic overnight, when crews do much of the work.

"We'll have very few times when we'll have a reduction in capacity on I-10 or on the Monterey over-crossing," Green said.