Contact Us


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).

We have installed some new anti-spam software, and we are going to try again with open registration. Registration and sign-in information are available at the bottom of the far right column. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you may email us at



Carmageddon Is Here: Ortega Bridge Lane Reduction Starts This Week

It’s here. Carmageddon, South County style.

Tomorrow, “on Saturday, June 1 at 10 p.m., crews will reduce lanes on the Ortega Highway bridge over the I-5 freeway to two lanes in either direction in preparation for upcoming demolition activities on the south half of the bridge.” This configuration will remain for approximately one year as [...]

Latest on Ortega/I-5 Interchange Project

We endeavor to keep you fully and promptly informed about the schedule and impact of the Ortega/I-5 interchange project. Although none of it should be new to frequent readers of this blog, below is an advisory from Supervisor Bates’ office regarding some important estimated dates and other information related to the project:

Caltrans officials have [...]

Marbella Plaza Business Owners Ask SJC to Open El Horno

Last night during the open floor portion of the City Council meeting, business owners in Marbella Plaza asked San Juan Capistrano to open El Horno Street to vehicle traffic during Ortega construction. Patch has the article here. Businesses in Marbella Plaza have had their share of struggles in the past, and will certain suffer when [...]

Capistrano Unified Joins the El Horno Debate; Requests Access for School Buses

In a letter addressed to San Juan Capistrano’s City Manager, Capistrano Unified School District has requested access to the El Horno Street underpass for school buses, saying “[i]f the El Horno Street underpass were available to the school district for bus passage during the construction period, the district believes it would minimize delays transporting students [...]

Mission Flats Residents Speak Out Against the Opening of El Horno Street

We have previously made the suggestion that El Horno Street should be opened to through traffic as a traffic mitigation measure during the I-5/Ortega interchange construction. We have also reported that the San Juan Chamber of Commerce has also recently suggested that El Horno be temporarily opened to through traffic. Even the Register has picked [...]

OC Register Article on Opening El Horno

The Orange County Register has joined the debate, raising the possibility of opening El Horno as a third detour route during the Ortega Highway/I-5 interchange project. The Register’s take seems to be more pessimistic. From the article:

El Horno is paved but “is not currently constructed to be used as a regular roadway,” city spokeswoman [...]

San Juan Chamber Asks City Council to Temporarily Open El Horno Street During Construction

In a letter to the San Juan Capistrano City Council, the San Juan Chamber of Commerce requests that the El Horno Street undercrossing be temporarily opened during the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange construction project. With a little pat on the back, we want to remind our readers that we suggested the exact same thing in a [...]

Caltrans and the City of San Juan Capistrano Should Temporarily Connect El Horno Street to Rancho Viejo Road

With construction on the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange project beginning next month, Carmageddon is almost here. Of course, we’ve been warning people since early August with posts such as “Carmageddon Coming to San Juan Capistrano.” To aid local residents and commuters in planning, we’ve described the upcoming road closures and detours, and previewed the construction phases [...]