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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.

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Groundbreaking Tomorrow on 6 Mile I-5/Avenida Pico Project

Tomorrow is the groundbreaking of the $249 million project to add carpool lanes on I-5 in each direction between San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. The nearly 6 mile project extends from Avenida Pico in San Clemente to San Juan Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano. The project will:

  • Add a carpool lane in both directions on I-5 between Avenida Pico and San Juan Creek Road
  • Reconstruct the interchange at Avenida Pico, including widening the northbound Avenida Pico on-ramp to three lanes, and provide dual left-turn lanes to both northbound and southbound Avenida Pico on-ramps

According to OCTA, the project is necessary because “The San Diego Freeway (I-5) is a vital north-south route for all of Southern California and weekend traffic notoriously congests this segment in South Orange County. The improvements will ease traffic flow and remove bottlenecks. In 2009, 8,870 vehicles traveled south of San Juan Creek Road in the peak afternoon hour, giving that area a “D” rating. This project will improve existing conditions by one full level of service throughout the project area.”

The first phase of the project will be San Juan Creek to Vista Hermosa.  It will start construction first and is expected to be complete by late 2015.  The second phase is Vista Hermosa to Avenida Pico.  The second phase is expected to begin construction later this year and be complete in 2017.

More information about the I-5/Pico project is available here.  There is a FAQ here (PDF) and a project data sheet with contact information here (PDF).  Below is a computer simulation of the completed project:

If you are interested in attending the Groundbreaking ceremony, it is scheduled for 2 PM in the North Parking Lot of the Capistrano Unified School District, located at 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

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