Gay Desert Hot Springs

$50 million approved to help build bridges along Indian Canyon

Posted on December 10, 2023 BY POST STAFF ● THE DAILY BRIEFING ● DECEMBER 8, 2023

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A portion of North Indian Canyon Drive near Interstate 10 is seen washed out earlier this year.

$50 million approved to help build bridges along Indian Canyon

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Thursday approved $50 million to help install bridges over North Indian Canyon Drive at the Whitewater Wash, helping to solve a decades-long transportation weakness that often severed a crucial connection between Palm Springs and the rest of the valley during wind and rain events. 

Driving the news: Funds for the bridge project were awarded to the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) during the second day of a two-day CTC meeting in Riverside. 

  • In addition to the two prefabricated bridges, the project includes a two-mile solar-shaded walk and bike path lined with sand fencing.

Behind the scenes: CVAG officials said it is the largest-ever competitive grant secured for a regional transportation project.

  • It was one of only two projects given the state’s highest priority ranking, and it received the largest single amount of funding out of all 15 in the running for a total of $309 million. 

By the numbers: The money will cover two-thirds of the estimated $75 million needed to build the two prefabricated bridges, with CVAG supplying the rest.

Why it matters: Indian Canyon Drive was closed 38 times for 85 days during the first half of this year, and data shows extreme wind and rain events will only increase as climate change problems increase.

What they’re saying: “We think that these one-off extreme events are happening just one time in 1,000 years,” CVAG Executive Director Tom Kirk told the Commission Thursday. “But they’re happening more often in our community and in all parts of the state.” 

Up next: With the grant money comes a strict timeline imposed on CVAG by the state. Construction contracts must be awarded within six months. 

  • While an exact completion date is hard to predict, CVAG staff estimate the project will be ready to break ground sometime in 2025.