Chino is one step closer to extending Pine Avenue from El Prado Road to the 71 Freeway, following the city council’s approval July 16 of more than $1.5 million for increased design costs and acceptance of federal grant funding.
That extension is phase 1 of a larger project to improve Pine Avenue.
City engineers now believe construction of the extension could begin in 2022. It was originally anticipated for 2025.
Pine Avenue is a major east-west thoroughfare for residents living in the Preserve area of south Chino. Once the extension is completed, Preserve commuters and others coming from the east could take advantage of the road to reach the 71 Freeway, which connects commuters to Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties.
In 2009, the city received $6.8 million in federal funds for the design and construction of the project. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for administering those funds.
In March 2011, the city council approved a nearly $2.3 million agreement with Huitt-Zollars, Inc. to design the extension. In March 2015, the city council amended and restated the agreement to enable the consultant to address comments received from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over the flood plain area between El Prado Road and the freeway. Those concerns were about fill material, roadway embankment and elevation options and they triggered more design work, including a bridge over the wash between Pomona Rincon Road and the 71 Freeway. The original design called for drainage culverts.
The design agreement has been extended several times since 2011, and in June, the Federal Highway Administration granted the city a three-year extension to September 2021 for the project’s design phase.
Next major steps in the environmental design phase of the extension will be obtaining concurrence from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is expected this month, and submitting an updated traffic report and noise study as required by Caltrans.
City staff are continuing to work with lobbyists in Washington, D.C. to secure other grants for construction of the project.
“What a roller coaster this has been for the last 10 years,” Councilman Tom Haughey added. The city almost lost the federal funding because of the time it took for design approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and Caltrans, he said.