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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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Keep Calm and Carry On

And so it begins…

According to a Caltrans alert, construction crews will this week close the outside lane in each direction on Ortega Highway between Del Obispo Street and Rancho Viejo Road in order to install temporary traffic signals on Ortega at the northbound and southbound I-5 on- and off-ramps.  Stay informed!  For more information about the I-5 /Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project, please contact Madison Chetwood at or (949) 337-4288. Or Visit

As construction on the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange project progresses, it is timely to remind everyone why Caltrans and the City are embarking on this project.

The project will provide much-needed and long overdue traffic relief for one of the most congested areas in all of Orange County.  The interchange re-design will create a new, open and welcoming entrance to historic downtown San Juan Capistrano, a tremendous benefit for residents, commuters and the nearly one million visitors who come to San Juan Capistrano each year.  A wider Ortega bridge will also facilitate movement between east and west San Juan Capistrano, something we wrote about in this article, and will facilitate traffic to and from the communities to the east, including Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

In the long run, the project is good for local businesses.  Beyond facilitating traffic, the interchange improvement is a key component of the business friendly Downtown Master Plan.  Business owners, the San Juan Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders are being involved in the process and kept informed at weekly meetings.  The City intends to reduce or waive many fees for permits and is encouraging an increase in the number of community events during the construction project.  Increased signage around town and streamlined regulations on local businesses are in the works.  In short, the City of San Juan Capistrano is working hard to mitigate the interim impact on local businesses.

The end result is going to be better for all of us.  In the meantime:

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