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Update on La Pata Gap Closure Project

Below is an update on the La Pata Gap Closure Project, courtesy of the City of Mission Viejo’s Planning and Transportation Commission (minutes from June 12, 2012):

LA PATA AVENUE GAP CLOSURE IN COUNTY UNINCORPORATED AREA
The County of Orange is the lead agency for this project which would extend and widen the existing 1.8
mile portion of La Pata Avenue south of Ortega Highway by roughly two miles to connect with La Pata
Avenue in San Clemente at Calle Saluda. The project would close the “gap” between the two roadway
segments, providing an essential link in the local roadway network. The Orange County Board of
Supervisors certified the project EIR at their May 24, 2011 meeting. County staff expects to prepare the
final project design between July 2011 and Fall 2012. On November 8, 2011, the Orange County Board
of Supervisors unanimously awarded a $6 million design contract for an extension of Avenida La Pata
that would connect San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano. The 4½-mile extension of Avenida La Pata
would include four new lanes from Calle Saluda in San Clemente to La Pata Avenue in San Juan
Capistrano, which currently ends at Prima Deshecha Landfill south of Ortega Highway. La Pata Avenue
would be widened to five lanes from three between a point just south of Ortega and the terminus at the
landfill. Since the landfill is on unstable ground, the agreement also includes the option for an additional
analysis of the design as it relates to the landfill operation. Supervisors have called the project crucial to
public safety (as a secondary evacuation route from San Clemente) and have sought to speed its
construction. The estimated price tag is $90 million. Funding for $65 million of that has been identified –
$8 million from San Clemente’s Talega community, $20 million from Measure M transportation funds,
$12 million from other county sources and $25 million pledged as part of a development agreement with
Rancho Mission Viejo. The current expected completion date for final design, environmental clearance
and the procurement of the necessary regulatory permits, is December 2012. Construction would
begin in 2013 and continue until the end of 2015.

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