As part of the freeway widening project, Caltrans needs to replace two old railroad bridges over the freeway because the road is now going to be much wider. Crews will be moving four big bridge spans, each weighing more than a million pounds. Sarens International, the company that moved the space shuttle Endeavour in 2012, has been hired for this project.
The closures began Wednesday night, when Caltrans shut down the 215 Freeway from Barton Road to Iowa Avenue in Grand Terrace to position the bridge. On Thursday night, the freeway was closed for final preparations.
Caltrans will close the freeway again Friday night so that crews will install the new bridge, and then Saturday night, the freeway will be closed for cleanup. They will repeat this procedure starting on Wednesdays each week in April to get all four bridge spans into place.
The Friday and Saturday closures will involve both sides of the freeway and last from 11:30 p.m. to 11:30 a.m. the following day. The closures on Wednesday and Thursday night will only affect the northbound side and last from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
"These next few weekends in Riverside County are a big deal. They have the Coachella music festivals coming up. Stagecoach is coming up. We don't want this to be a bottleneck for people trying to visit the area," said John Standiford with Riverside County Transportation Commission.