CORONA (CBSLA.com) — Hours before the 91 Freeway was scheduled to be shut down for 55 hours, residents of Corona were already making plans to get around without the freeway at their disposal.
Starting Friday evening, crews will be putting up steel beams for a new bridge, and the old bridge on Maple Street will be torn down The work was expected to last until about 4 a.m. Monday.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold reported from Corona where anxious drivers were already anticipating traffic for the next several days.
It could turn out to be mess for people who live around here, work around here or just have to drive around here.
Tom Broersma is expecting the worst.
“Everyone’s going to try and cut through town and it’s going to be a mess in town,” Broersma said.
Marlon Mesis and his wife live in Corona, but she works in Orange County. They did a dry run of her weekend commute, to make sure she knows how to get around the closure.
“She told me already she doesn’t know where to go and she’s anxious to got to Orange County so what’s going to happen, we’re going to go right now so she’s not going to be late tonight,” Mesis said.
At Brandon’s Diners, Jaime Rayfield says they’re actually not worried about Coronageddon. The cafe is at one end of the shutdown, perfectly situated for frustrated drivers to pull off for a bite to eat.
“We’re hoping we’ll get busy because people are going to be coming off of Green River so we’re staying open and we’re hoping to get more business with it being closed down, because it’s a taken a toll on our business with all of the construction,” Rayfield said.
Tamara Zastrow says she’s come up with plan to encourage drivers to stay positive.
“Stand on the bridge, if you lived here, you’d be home,” she quipped.
There are ways to get around the closure including the 60, 57, 10 and 210 Freeway. Or suggests, you can just stay home.
KCAL9’s Rachel Kim was out and about Friday and found plenty of people willing to brave traffic.
Sky9 was over the 91 as the weekend shutdown began.
“I’ve been dreading it,” said Corona resident Terry Martin, “It’s going to be a horrible, horrible mess.If you live here, you know it takes 45 minutes to get to the freeway from any off ramp in the area so everybody’s gonna be skirting around it.”
“The streets are gonna be crazy,” said one man.
“How are you preparing for this?,” Kim asked Riverside resident Tavo Vega.
“Well, I’m preparing to stay home. I heard it on Channel 9. We watch Channel 9,” said Vega.
While the work goes on, people who live in the area know their local streets will be congested with drivers trying to get around.
“Corona’s already super backed up everywhere no matter which angle you try to go, you’re blocked off, it’s just gonna make it worse,” says Brianna Spillman, a Corona resident.
Monique Williams and her husband just decided to get out of dodge.
“We’re prepared because we’re going towards Running Springs so we’re going to be away for the weekend,” said Williams.
County transportation officials say by closing the freeway over the weekend, they’ll cut the number of nighttime closures during the week by half.