North County I-5 project to add lanes, ease traffic

Posted at 11:35 PM, Oct 02, 2018

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - Dozens of North County commuters came to an open house Tuesday to learn more about major improvements set for Interstate 5.

The project is a collaborative effort between SANDAG, Caltrans and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Crews will add a new carpool lane between Birmingham Drive in Encinitas and Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad. Construction is scheudled to start mid-November.

“The project is going to add eight miles of a brand new carpool lane,” project manager Arturo Jacobo, said. 

Jacobo said 700,000 trips take place on I-5 and slowdowns and traffic jams are a common occurrence. Jacobo said the plan will help ease some of the congestion, and he estimated that it could cut up to eight minutes of the drive time for people commuting from the North County to San Diego.

“Before you know it, there will be traffic relief coming to this area,” he said.

The project is also not expected to close any lanes during the construction. The median is wide enough for crews to work from the middle of the interstate for the first 18 months of construction. During that time, the current lanes will be made narrower but will stay open. 

The second phase of the project involves crews working from the outside lanes to widen the road. The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

The massive project also involves replacing highway and rail bridges at San Elijo Lagoon, restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, and construction of new bike and pedestrian trails.

Another open house is scheduled for Oct. 10, between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be held at the Holiday Inn at 2725 Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad.