Google Maps has some work to do in Temecula. The city released the first segment of the Butterfield Road Project — extending from Murrieta Hot Springs east to Butterfield Stage south to Calle Chapos — in a ribbon cutting ceremony today.
“This is meaningful, because it is a more direct route north to south, from Murrieta Hot Springs Road south to Temecula without drivers having to weave their way through residential streets,” said Greg Butler, Temecula’s Director of Public Works. “This will not only decrease travel time through the city, it will also be safer for both residents of Seraphina Road and Calle Medusa, often used as shortcuts through the city.”
Gathered at the ribbon cutting ceremony were: Mayor Chuck Washington, Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Naggar; Temecula City Manager, Bob Johnson; Director of Public Works, Greg Butler; Chair of Community Services Commission, Charolette Fox; and Temecula’s Director of Community Relations Grant Yates.
According to Yates, this road expansion project began in 2004, but work fell off after 2006 when the original builder succumbed to the economic downturn.
“We expect the roadway network to be improved before the new homes are in place,” Yates said. “With multiple builders now involved, threshold improvements will now be managed by the city.”
Murrieta Hot Springs Road, east of the Seraphina Road stop sign, is now a four-lane, beautifully landscaped, 55 mph breeze, to the curve of Butterfield Stage.
This rarely seen view shows the broad expanses east, to the rolling hills and mountains of Riverside County:
Still, there is more work to be done.
“Due to the ‘Oklahoma’ shape of the project area, the panhandle (Phase One) of the project will be completed after the area around the pan (Phase 2),” Butler said. Phase Two, according to Temecula’s scope of work document, includes an extension of Butterfield Stage Road from Calle Chapos to La Serena, the missing eight tenths of a mile of the project.
“The bids for Phase Two will go out in October, 2012, with work hopefully beginning November, 2012, “ Butler said.
The city improvements paused to celebrate the accomplishment of the road opening, after city workers removed the Road Closed signs.
“The road is open, so enjoy it!” Senior City Engineer and Project Manager, David McBride said, adding there is much work still to be done. “Our attention is turning back to the Roripaugh Ranch Fire Station and getting it back up to shape.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Naggar spoke of the long-term plans for road improvements in the city, discussing the western bypass: “We are in the process of creating a beltway around all of Temecula.”
“As Mayor Washington alluded to, it is not the responsibility of cities to build freeways or freeway off ramps, however, if we waited for the state of California and CalTrans, nothing would get done and this region would be a disaster. We managed to secure the funding, and where we are short, we will get it and work on it aggressively to complete this road network, coming full circle. Today completes a major step toward getting that done.”
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.