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I-215 widening project done in San Bernardino

After seven years, drivers are celebrating the completion of the 215 Freeway widening project in San Bernardino.
January 24, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
After seven years of construction, drivers are celebrating the completion of the Interstate 215 widening project in San Bernardino. The portion from the 210 Freeway to the 10 Freeway finally opened on Friday.

For everyone who commutes on the 215 freeway, the conclusion of this widening project couldn't come soon enough.

"In Southern California, we live and die by our freeways, so having a great big brand new freeway, we're hoping for great things for San Bernardino," said Nick Depasquale, who's speaking as a driver as well as a business owner.

Depasquale, the owner of Fairview Ford, says seven years of construction have been bad for business.

"Whenever they close on and off-ramps, and have to do their construction, it's always a very difficult time," said Depasquale.

But it's hopefully going to be a little easier for everyone out here. The 215 Freeway used to be only three lanes in each direction. Now, there are four lanes, plus a carpool lane.

Before Friday, residents say they've dealt with decades of bottlenecks.

State Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown says the problem with the way it was built the first time was that all of the on- and off-ramps led to the east, which meant trouble for many of the businesses on the west side of town.

"They have to get off somewhere, and if they can't get off on your side of town, then your business dies," said Brown.

With a wider, newly configured freeway, hopefully things will be better, not only for drivers, but the city as a whole.

"We're going to be a community again. We're going to grow. It's going to be great," said Brown.

But even though they're breathing a sigh of relief in San Bernardino, there's a lot of work ahead in Riverside. The expansion of a portion of the 215 Freeway -- from the 10 Freeway all the way south past downtown Riverside -- won't be completed for at least another year.


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