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California seeks to break freight bottleneck

California seeks to break freight bottleneck

Devore Interchange project latest in DOT support to improve freight movement

California's Devore Interchange is a critical freight link serving 21,000 trucks each day. It links Interstates 15 and 215; and it connects freight traffic from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with critical points east. It also carries more than one million drivers per week and can back up as far as five miles due to excess volume.

A bottleneck like that doesn't just slow down San Bernardino County; it slows down our nation's economy. And that's why we're pleased to see that California has broken ground on a modernized Devore Interchange that will relieve freight congestion through this critical corridor.

Infographic of traffic statistics fro the Devore Interchange

Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau was on hand to help state and local officials celebrate the start of this important project. And he offered three terrific reasons for the $245 million federal investment to see this work through:

"Improving safety – our number one priority at DOT, Caltrans and throughout the transportation community; relieving congestion so people can spend more time doing what they want to do and less time stuck in traffic, and; helping freight move more efficiently to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and then out to the nation and the world."

Photo of Greg Nadeau speaking at the Devore groundbreaking
Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau addresses crowd at the Devore Interchange groundbreaking;
photo courtesy Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise

As part of the Devore project, the I-15/I-215 interchange and adjacent interchanges will be reconfigured with an added lane in each direction. And, in addition to the new general traffic lanes, the project will also include a truck bypass lane in each direction that will further improve safety and reduce congestion for commercial vehicles as well as passenger cars.

Photo of traffic backed up for miles near the Devore InterchangeDeputy Administrator Nadeau also observed that redesigning the Devore Interchange is far from the only thing we're doing to improve movement of the goods that fuel our economy. As he noted, "The Department is devoting a lot of attention to freight."

From the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC), which held its first meeting last week, to our investments in coastal and inland ports to track upgrades on the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad, this DOT is working hard to keep our economic arteries flowing as safely and efficiently as possible.

In California, those upgrades also include projects to modernize the Gerald Desmond Bridge--the main link to the Port of Long Beach--and to improve safety around the at-grade Colton road-rail crossing. In fact, the Colton Crossing could be the oldest bottleneck in U.S. history, with a history of freight delays dating back to 1893.

At DOT, we call these projects a good start. But truck drivers, rail engineers, and port operators know that we've still got miles to go. Efficient freight movement is too important to America's economy for us to slow down now.

Todd Solomon works on digital media for the DOT Office of Public Affairs.

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