Cars crash on 10 Freeway as temporary lane debuts during road work

After at least two car crashes Friday morning, July 31, in a construction area on the 10 Freeway near Cabazon, the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans warned eastbound drivers to slow down in the work zone and be aware of roadway changes.

The warning came after two vehicles smashed into temporary construction barriers about 7:45 a.m., near the Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Cabazon, about an hour after Caltrans deployed a new temporary crossover lane along roughly 5 miles of roadway between Banning and Cabazon as part of its I-10 Pavement Rehabilitation Project.

The temporary lane was built to allow eastbound traffic to cross onto the opposing side of the roadway to avoid daytime lane closures associated with the project, according to Caltrans.

While no injuries were reported in the Friday crashes, the CHP asked Caltrans to check its new lane configuration, citing “several” crashes reported Friday and callers who said they “did not even notice that (the) lane was ending.”

Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said personnel from several agencies traveled to the new crossover lane Thursday to meet with the contractor and examine the lane before it was used.

“There were no apparent issues with signage or the crossover,” she said. “It is common with these type of configurations for motorists to adjust and reduce their speed.”

The speed limit within the work zone is 60 mph, and the CHP will be assisting Caltrans with enforcing the new rules in order to keep workers and drivers safe, she said.

The I-10 Tune-Up project is entering its fifth month, and crews have been gradually making improvements to nearly 20 miles of roadway between Beaumont and Highway 111 north of Palm Springs.

Crews work during the day behind protective barriers in the center median between Eighth Street in Banning and Main Street in Cabazon.

Next week, nighttime work is scheduled to drop the 10 Freeway to one lane in each direction at times overnight between Beaumont and the Palm Springs area. Work is set to begin again Sunday, Aug. 2, and continue through Friday morning, Aug. 7. Crews are set to close between two and three lanes in both directions on the eight-lane artery at staggered intervals between Pennsylvania Avenue in Beaumont and the 111 interchange to pour concrete and do other work between 7 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.

Two lanes in each direction will be open until 11 p.m., then reduced to one lane overnight.

The $210 million Tune-Up project includes replacing guardrails, repaving outside lanes, replacing slabs in inside lanes and upgrading on- and off-ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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