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Amy Bentley

Q: Gary Lupo of Riverside asked for an update on the construction of the new Mt. Vernon Avenue bridge in San Bernardino.

A: The project is underway. The new bridge is expected to be done and open by summer 2025. Information about it can be found at . You can follow the work by signing up for weekly alerts sent via email or text by subscribing on that page where it says “Get Project Updates.”

Here’s a quick look at the background: The old Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge opened in 1934. For safety reasons, the city of San Bernardino, Caltrans and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority partnered to tear down the old bridge and rebuild a new one. The old bridge was closed in December 2020 and demolished the following year. Construction of the new bridge began in 2023. It will have wider travel lanes, a center median, wider sidewalks and new bike lanes, and serve pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and commercial vehicles.

“The demolition of the old, high-risk structure was successful and opened the door for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to perform necessary work to relocate and maintain operations during the bridge reconstruction,” said Tim Watkins, SBCTA’s chief of Legislative and Public Affairs. That work is done and “our team is back in action toward the construction of the new span of Mt. Vernon Avenue over the rail yard.”

Construction crews work to disassemble the Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge over Third Street in San Bernardino on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Construction crews work to disassemble the Mt. Vernon Avenue Bridge over Third Street in San Bernardino on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

The bridge project spans one of the largest railyards in the region, Watkins said, and BNSF had to realign some rail lines to continue operating during reconstruction. The project cost is $230 million and is funded by federal, state, city, and BNSF dollars — the lion’s share – $171 million – is from federal funding.

Q: Kelly Phillips of Nuevo said the 215 Freeway between Van Buren Boulevard and Nuevo Road in Perris and Riverside is badly deteriorated “and is so bad that you need a 4-by-4 to get through it.” Phillips, who has had to replace two windshields in the past year due to damage from loose road gravel in this area, asked for an update on the major pavement project planned for this stretch of freeway. Also asking for an update on this this same stretch of roadway are readers Michael and Ann Bullis of Riverside.

A: We’ve heard from other readers over the past year about the deteriorating condition of the 215 in the Perris area. Repairs are on the way in the form of a $40 million project to rehabilitate and repair the pavement, upgrade facilities to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, upgrade guardrails and install slope stabilization and erosion control measures. Construction is expected to start in late summer and continue through spring 2028, depending on the availability of materials and weather. The work boundaries begin in south Perris north of Romoland to just north of the Ramona Expressway.

Earth Day transportation

Finally, the Riverside Transit Agency is offering free rides all day on April 22 to honor Earth Day. RTA says vehicles generate over a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions in California, so the agency is encouraging drivers to leave their cars at home for the day and give the air a break. Visit for schedule information.

Do you commute to work in the Inland Empire? Spend a lot of time in your vehicle? Have questions about driving, freeways, toll roads or parking? If so, write or call On the Road and we’ll try to answer your questions. Please include your question or issue, name, city of residence, phone number and email address. Write ontheroad@scng.com or call us at our new phone number, 951-368-9995.

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