Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians boosts road-widening contribution

ESCONDIDO (KUSI) – The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians has agreed to boost its financial contribution toward widening a 3,000-foot segment of East Valley Parkway/Valley Center Road to $800,000, the city of Escondido announced Monday.

The project, which carries an estimated $9.7 million price tag, is designed to mitigate traffic issues stemming from the Rincon Band’s expansion of Harrah’s Resort in Valley Center.

The roadway — which changes names between the city limits and unincorporated county area — is the main route to the hotel and casino. Rincon was only obligated to pay $579,000 toward the project, according to the city. Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Band, said there is normally a wide gap between calculating the fair share of funding, and actually mitigating traffic problems.

"We funded the extra amount needed to make the improvements because we wanted to solve the problem sooner rather than later,” Mazzetti said. "Our government has a vested interest in traffic safety because we live on these roads,” he said.

"People we care about drive on Valley Center Road — our neighbors, our guests and our families use this road, and our emergency first responders depend on it.”

The project will bring three lanes in each direction between Beven Road and Lake Wohlford Road. The bridge over Escondido Creek will be widened to accommodate two through lanes in each direction north of Lake Wohlford Road, according to the city.

Construction will also include curbs and gutters, streetlights, landscaped medians, new pavement and traffic signal modifications. Construction is expected to begin in the late summer or early fall.

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