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Calimesa, CA - December 26, 2019 - Improvements to the Cherry Valley Boulevard interchange on Interstate 10 took another step forward when the Calimesa City Council approved a couple of funding and credit agreements at its recent meeting.
At its Dec. 16 meeting, the last of the year, council unanimously agreed to a funding agreement with San Gorgonio Land Company, which is developing Summerwind Trails or the residential portion of the Summerwind Ranch specific plan. It is the third funding agreement between the city and developer.
City Manager Bonnie Johnson explained the significance of it for the Plans, Specifications and Estimates (PS and E) phase and the approved credit/reimbursement agreement with the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) program that ensures San Gorgonio Land Company receives credit from the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) for these expenditures against future TUMF development fees as it begins to build homes.
The next step in the interchange process is the PS and E phase, which includes choosing a preferred alternative design.
“It’s the next step to get us to a place where we’ll get to construction,” Johnson said.
The reason the credit agreement is important, Johnson explained, is because if there is not an agreement when the developer pulls the building permit, the development impact fee gets paid to WRCOG, the agency that runs the program.
“Then 46% of that money comes back to the Pass Area in what is called the Pass Area zone. Any city of Riverside County that is in the Pass Area zone … can compete for those dollars,” Johnson said.
Instead, the funding and credit agreements allow Calimesa to keep 100% of the money, Johnson said.
“Without that, we would still have the impact of their development, but we wouldn’t have all of the funding we need to actually build the improvements,” she said. “Agreements like this … are what is going to move some of our transportation needs forward where we won’t be so dependent on trying to get grants and things like that.”
Calimesa is currently in the second phase of interchange process or the Project Approval and Environmental Documents (PA and ED) phase. The first two phases have also been funded by funding and credit agreements between Calimesa, San Gorgonio Land Company and WRCOG.
“There are steps that Caltrans wants you to go through to get to a point where you will select an alternative, regarding the ultimate design of an interchange,” Johnson said. “We are in the second phase currently. We entered into another credit agreement with San Gorgonio Land Company in October of 2018 to kick off the Project Approval and Environmental Documents phase. That phase is where all the alternatives are identified, the environmental impacts of them are studied and looked at and those alternatives will be presented publicly and a decision is made on what the ultimate configuration of the interchange will be. We are in that phase right now.”
Although the city had hoped to conduct a public workshop in October or November of 2019, Johnson said Calimesa is now expecting the public workshop to discuss interchange options in the first quarter of 2020. A public notice will be published for those interested in attending.
“We will look at all of the alternatives and then it will be brought forward to the council to select what is the … preferred alternative,” Johnson said about the interchange options. “At that point, that information would go back to Caltrans, who actually has the ultimate say on what configuration you do.”
The council also approved an agreement with Riverside County to recognize the funding for the next phase of the project and authorized staff to make administrative changes to the agreements before final execution. Since the beginning of 2019, city staff has been meeting monthly with engineering consultant Michael Baker International, Caltrans and Riverside County transportation staff.
Public Works Director Lori Askew estimated the total cost of improvements to the Cherry Valley Boulevard Interchange project to range between $34 million and $40 million.