Clinton Keith Extension Will Provide New Road Option

If you live near the French Valley Airport in Murrieta and you want a direct route to Interstate 215, your options are limited. You can a...


If you live near the French Valley Airport in Murrieta and you want a direct route to Interstate 215, your options are limited.

You can always take Winchester Road south to Murrieta Hot Springs Road and head west for the best surface street route, but that's not exactly a direct path. You can head the other way, driving north on Winchester Road, then west on Max Gillis Boulevard to Briggs Road, which becomes a two-lane country road all the way to Scott Road, where you still have to travel west a couple miles to reach the freeway.

The only thing close to a direct route is to proceed north on Winchester Road to Max Gillis Boulevard, then left on Leon Road, then left again on a road that becomes a winding two-lane stretch of Los Alamos Road. That's fine for a leisurely Sunday drive, but not too great if you're in a hurry.

An additional option -- and perhaps the best choice -- will be available in the next year because of an extension of Clinton Keith Road, creating a four-lane roadway from the vicinity of Max Gillis Boulevard and Leon Road west to Whitewood Road, adjacent to Vista Murrieta High School and just a couple blocks from the freeway.

The $23.4 million project is a joint effort of the Riverside County Transportation Department and the City of Murrieta. It will enable vehicles to use a long stretch of Clinton Keith Road that now is a narrow, bumpy dirt road from Whitewood Road east until it connects with Los Alamos Road. Currently, the only people who regularly use that road are the residents of that rural area -- preferably with 4-wheel drive vehicles.

"When there are problems on Los Alamos Road, there will be another option over there," said Dennis Green, a retired CalTrans engineer and now consultant for the County Transportation Department, as he gave Murrieta 24/7 a tour of the landscape.

The project will include two lanes each way, a center median, two bridge structures and additional traffic signals at Menifee Road and at Trois Valley Street, where the new road will connect with a stretch of Clinton Keith that currently dead-ends into an open field (below right). Eventually, a second phase of the project will widen Clinton Keith to three lanes each way and extend it all the way eastward to Winchester Road.

Access to the dirt portion of Clinton Keith Road east of Whitewood Road will be closed off when construction begins, which could be at any time, Green said. Residents will be able to access their property from Greenberg Place and Arendt Lane. Green said explosives must be used to blast through the hard granite surface under the dirt road that now exists.

"The property owners have all been contacted and are aware of this," Green said. "When we have blast days, emergency responders will be on site. It will be similar to what we did on Winchester Road a while back. We will make sure everyone is notified of the blasting times. We don't want people to hear a boom and overreact."

It's a wonder residents don't destroy their vehicles traveling the road that exists now. Once vehicles hit the dirt road heading east just past Whitewood Road, the road rises to a crest, then drops sharply into a series of dips that are full of large rocks.

By this time next year -- weather permitting -- that will be replaced by a smooth four-lane road that will be a valuable east-west route from French Valley to the freeway.

This is the road vehicles must travel now to proceed east past Whitewood Road on Clinton Keith Road.

Dennis Green is coordinating the project for the Riverside County Transportation Department.
Murrieta 24/7 photos by Doug Spoon


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  1. This is such great news for everyone. Los alamos is a busy 2 lane road.

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