Fred Waring Drive construction on tap

Street will be widened to six lanes

LA QUINTA, Calif. - For 25 years, plans have been in the works to make Fred Waring Drive a six-lane road, and all of it is, except for 0.65 miles between Adams Street and Port Maria Road in La Quinta.

"The voters of Riverside County voted an extra half cent sales tax in 1988 or 1989 and one of the promised projects was this one," Riverside County Supervisor, John Benoit said. "It's the last project on that list and we're fulfilling those promises by finishing this last project."

Ceremonial shovels went in the ground Monday, but construction won't start until the middle of January.

"Motorists can expect that at times there will be some construction delays," said Riverside County Director of Transportation, Juan Perez. 

The project will take six to seven months to complete. It's expected to be finished by the end of July.

"There's a lot to be done," Benoit said. "We have to relocate the south border. We have to take the entire street up. We're replacing it with a rubberized surface that will be quieter."

With homes on the Bermuda Dunes side of Fred Waring already close to traffic on a four lane road, the County considered buying the homes and tearing them down to make room for two more lanes of traffic.

"For a time, we thought that was a good thing to do," said Fred Waring Drive homeowner, Franky Contreras. "You know, we could always find another home and be safe."

Benoit says the previous plan to purchase homes to widen the road would have cost the county $25 million dollars. The new plan will cost  $11 million. 

"We've been able to work within the constraints of the physics here and get it down to a project that accommodates their needs for safety and security," Benoit said.

Contreras lives on the Bermuda Dunes side of Fred Waring Drive. He says he is worried about the safety of his family with the road coming closer to his home.

"They're going to bring the cars (closer) to our houses," Contreras said. "The concern for all the neighbors that live here is if its going to be safe or not."

County officials say the expanded road will be safer for drivers and residents.

"We'll be installing also a parking lane on the north side," Perez said. "So that the residents can maintain their parking and have a safer area to pull out so they're not just pulling directly into the six lane road."

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