215 Freeway to see big change for widening project

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.

Construction on the I-215 Widening Project has been going on for years, with lanes opening and closing and on-ramps and off-ramps opening and closing. It's not good for local business owners.

"It's hurting us a lot," said Sam Alrabadi of S&S Baseline 76. He said he's been seeing only half of his usual business.

It's also not good for drivers trying to get through the area.

"It's horrible to drive on this freeway. You're in traffic all day every day," said Armando Amaya of San Bernardino.

The good news is that it's possible they'll be done with the project completely by summer 2013. But in the meantime, the freeway layout is about to change.

Basically, northbound 215 drivers who want to transition over to the eastbound 210 will have to stay in the left lane instead of going to the right. It might sound confusing, but San Bernardino Associated Governments says it comes down to just slowing down and following the signs.

There will soon be three lanes of northbound traffic on the 215 on brand new pavement, but starting May 7, the right two lanes will continue on the 215 Freeway, but the left lane will go up over a bridge and connect to the eastbound 210 Freeway.

"That's going to cause a lot of commotion there. I wouldn't be surprised if you get a couple accidents in there," Amaya said.

Officials don't believe the transition is unsafe, but they do say that drivers need to pay attention, mind the 55-mph speed limit and help spread the word.

"We can talk to everybody, be it the media or websites or blogging, but for a lot of people, the first time they see it is the first time they drive it," said Tim Watkins of San Bernardino Associated Governments.

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