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Solution to I-5 and 78 bottleneck proposed

Posted at 3:33 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 19:37:49-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A solution could be on the way to ease one of the region's biggest traffic bottlenecks: the Highway 78 West to Interstate 5 South interchange.

"There's always traffic backed up and it would just be nicer to get it all cleaned up," said Ana Maria Hallman-Franich, an Oceanside resident who drives through it regularly.

Getting this bottleneck cleaned up may no longer be a pipe dream, thanks to the recent bipartisan federal infrastructure bill. Over the next five years, it's funneling $29.5 billion into California for highways and bridges.

Congressman Mike Levin says a portion of the funds should go to the 5-78 interchange, which is in his 49th district.

"As many of you have probably experienced first hand, this interchange is often a traffic nightmare," said Levin, a democrat. "It simply cannot handle the number of cars that are traveling through here on a regular basis, particularly during rush hour."

The problem is that drivers heading from the 78 West to the 5 South have to stop at a traffic light, causing backups. But leaders are envisioning a flyover that would skip over all of that.

"The whole idea is to connect the freeways, connect the 78 to I-5 that can really facilitate more carpooling, rapid bus, transit service, as well as drivers that need to use that connection," said Coleen Clementson, director of regional planning for SANDAG.

At a news conference Monday, Levin, SANDAG chair Catherine Blakespear and Supervisor Jim Desmond pushed the project. However, it's not a done deal.

Environmental review needs to be completed, and it will be up to the California Department of Transportation as to whether it's worthy of those federal infrastructure dollars coming into the state.