City of Perris elected officials joined with their colleagues in Menifee and regional transportation authorities on Feb. 8 to break ground on the widening of Ethanac Road, a $3.1 million project that will lessen commutes, create a major thoroughfare through south Perris and improve the lives of thousands of residents and daily commuters.
“This is the first step in a long process,” Perris City Manager Richard Belmudez said to the assembled dignitaries and visitors. “We’ve had great partners working with us. It alleviates a big concern now and in the future. It’s the first step. But taking the first step is the hardest.”
The project has been in the works for five years.
Belmudez thanked Menifee Mayor Neil Winter and his colleagues as well as Rick Bishop, director of the Western Riverside Council of Governments for their support in bringing the 1.75-mile widening project to fruition.
Funding for widening Ethanac Road between Case and Goetz roads will come from developers and development impact fees. Construction to widen Ethanac from two to four lanes is set to begin the week of Feb. 19 and wrap up by November.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas led the contingent of City elected officials. Also on hand for the ceremonial ground-breaking were Mayor Pro-Tem Malcolm Corona, City Councilwoman Tonya Burke and City Clerk Nancy Salazar.
Menifee representatives included Mayor Neil Winter and City Councilmembers Greg August, John Denver and Lesa Sobek.
Vargas hailed the expansion as a “fabulous project that will benefit Perris and neighboring cities.”
The expanded Ethanac Road will improve the Monument Park and Monument Ranch communities in south Perris as well as residents in new homes under construction as part of the Green Valley Specific Plan at Ethanac and Goetz. The project also creates a new arterial from Interstate 215 to Goetz, allowing motorists easy access to Downtown Perris.
The project also benefits Menifee residents living in the Quail Valley and Sun City communities, Vargas said.
“It’s a great project all the way around,” he said.
Corona, who lives in Monument Park, said the project marks “an exciting time for all Perris residents, especially those on the south side.”
“Traffic relief is on the way,” Corona said. “It’s the start of new and exciting things for south Perris. Our City is growing and it’s important that we meet demands as we plan for the future.”
Burke said she expects the road improvements to spur additional business development in south Perris. She praised the project contractor, Perris-based Alabbassi Construction and Engineering, for employing local residents and helping apprentices gain valuable experience while working on the job.
“We have a locally owned business doing work in conjunction with the building trades while employing local workers and apprentices,” Burke said. “It’s also a great economic development project that demonstrates our continuing commitment to economic excellence.”
Moms will love it
City Clerk Salazar drives Ethanac Road every morning and afternoon to drop and pick up her daughter from school. Traffic congestion can prove a hassle and a headache.
“This project is going to be a huge benefit,” Salazar said. “I’m really excited about it. It’s going to relieve the stress of all of us moms!”