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What is the SR-79 Realignment Project?

SR-79 would be realigned between Domenigoni Parkway and Gilman Springs Road and upgraded to a controlled-access facility with two-lanes in each direction. Access would be limited to on- and off-ramps at specified locations.  The realigned SR-79 would alleviate the existing circuitous route through the downtown areas of Hemet and San Jacinto and result in a more direct north-south route through the San Jacinto Valley.

Why is the SR-79 Realignment Project needed?

SR-79 traverses the community of Winchester and the cities of Hemet and San Jacinto.  As the only north-south state highway through the San Jacinto Valley, regional traffic competes with local traffic for limited roadway capacity. There are numerous at-grade intersections, driveways, and traffic signals that affect traffic movement and efficiency. Finally, SR-79 and SR-74 are collocated along Florida Avenue, combining both north-south and east-west traffic in one roadway.

What are the benefits of the SR 79 Realignment Project?

For the General Public, the SR 79 Realignment Project would provide a more direct north-south route for through traffic and improve mobility on local streets.

For Businesses, the SR 79 Realignment Project would expedite the movement of goods and services within the San Jacinto Valley.

Everyone would benefit from improvements in traffic efficiency, safety, and roadway capacity.

What is in the Recirculated Draft EIR/Supplemental EIS?

The Recirculated Draft EIR/Supplemental EIS would provide the results of the additional studies for traffic, land use, noise, as well as Section 4(f) effects.

Where can I see the Recirculated DEIR/Supplemental EIS?

Online at www.sr79project.info

Hard copies at:

Riverside County Transportation Commission
4080 Lemon Street, 3rd Floor
Riverside, CA 92501

California Department of Transportation, District 8 Office
464 West 4th Street
San Bernardino, CA 92401

Hemet Public Library
300 E. Latham Avenue
Hemet, CA 92543

San Jacinto Public Library
500 Idyllwild Drive
San Jacinto, CA 92583

For individuals with sensory disabilities, please contact us to discuss availability in an alternate format, Please write or call Patti Castillo, P.O. Box 12008, Riverside, CA 92502-2208; (951) 824-8706.

Why is RCTC/Caltrans recirculating the Draft EIR/EIS?

State, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and federal, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), environmental requirements recognize that projects are subject to change and may be refined in response to public input. 

Under CEQA, a recirculated EIR is required when significant new information is added to an EIR after public review, but before certification (CEQA Guidelines, §15088.5).  New information added to an EIR is not considered significant unless the EIR is changed in a way that deprives the public of a meaningful opportunity to comment upon a substantial environmental effect of the project or a feasible way to mitigate or avoid such an effect (including a feasible project alternative) that the project’s proponents have declined to implement CEQA Guidelines§15088.5(a)).   CEQA Guidelines (§15088.5[c]) allow for the lead agency to recirculate portions of an environmental document that has been modified to address the new information that is the basis for the recirculation.

Under  NEPA, a supplemental EIS is required if the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns, or there are significant new circumstances or new information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action and its impacts (40 CFR §1502.9c). Additionally, under Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulation 23 CFR§771.130a(2)], an EIS may be supplemented if there is new information relevant to environmental concerns.

Have there been any new developments in the project since the Public Hearings were held in February 2013?

Yes.  Based on public comment, the previously proposed interchange at Tres Cerritos Avenue has been removed from the proposed project.  In addition, new information was received by the project team regarding a cultural property (two locations) that would have been severely affected by Build Alternative 2b.  The alignment has been shifted west within the existing environmental study limits to reduce the cut and impacts to West Hemet Hills.

What are the refinements since the Draft EIR/EIS was circulated?

Many of the project engineering refinements are responsive to comments received on the Draft EIR/EIS, and they help minimize environmental impacts, strengthen mitigation measures, or assist in making the project alternatives incrementally more consistent with local and tribal governments (can not be a preference).  The refinements being made are summarized as follows:

  1. Access to Winchester - Traffic Signal at Newport Road
  2. Increased loop ramp radii at Domenigoni Parkway
  3. Shift in interchange location from Ranchland Road to Grand Avenue
  4. Westerly shift to alignment around West Hemet Hills: The alignment has been shifted west within the existing environmental study limits to reduce the cut and impacts to WEst Hiet Hills
  5. Increased loop ramp radii at Florida Avenue
  6. Removal of Tres Cerritos Interchange
  7. Esplanade Avenue interchange revisions to eliminate Design Exceptions
  8. Increased loop ramp radii at Cottonwood Avenue
  9. Sanderson Avenue interchange revisions to eliminate Design Exeptions and the design has been revised to avoid impacts to the newly constructed improvements at the Eastern Municipal Water District Facility.
  10. Increased loop ramp radii at Ramona Expressway

Who can I contact about the SR-79 Realignment Project?

If you have comments or questions about the SR-79 Realignment Project contact us through our website at www.sr79project.info/contact or call (951) 824-8706. You may also write to:

Patti Castillo—Capital Projects Manager
Riverside County Transportation Commission
P.O. Box 12008
Riverside, CA 92502-2208