Concerns raised over planned I-5/SR-56 connector

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A plan to connect state Route 56 and Interstate 5 in the Carmel Valley area could ease traffic in the area, but it is raising concerns for those who live near the freeway.

For many drivers, getting to SR-56 from southbound I-5 can be difficult, especially when the traffic is bad. Drivers have to get off the freeway at Carmel Valley Road and go through a few traffic lights, which ends up taking more time.

This summer, Caltrans chose a plan to connect the two freeways with a flyover ramp in hopes of alleviating the stress during commutes.

"To have this big, huge Caltrans monster kind of reshaping the skyline is going to be pretty dramatic," said Troy Van Horst, who lives in a townhome across from a large wall that blocks I-5 from view.

But Van Horst said aesthetics and property values are not the only concerns. The Torrey Pines Community Planning Board on Thursday will ask the city to monitor health effects and come up with ways to keep harmful emissions out of their neighborhood.

"A lot of older people live in the community and there's always issues like heart-related issues, cancer, respiratory issues, and sometimes you have to wonder how much of an impact we're actually getting here," said Van Horst, a board member.

A Caltrans spokeswoman said the project would begin with related improvements on SR-56 within the next five years if funding becomes available. Otherwise, SANDAG's regional transportation plan has it scheduled for construction in 2035.

Caltrans and SANDAG maintain a list of projects that could ease congestion in San Diego.
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