Congestion on a busy North County freeway is getting better with the opening of a new carpool lane.
Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) celebrated on Tuesday the opening of nine new miles of a carpool lane on Interstate 5. The additional HOV lane stretches from Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach and Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad.
The construction was a five-year collaboration between local, state and federal agencies as part of the Build NCC (North Coast Corridor) project. The involved agencies say this new freeway addition will help the 700,000 drivers who travel on Interstate 5 daily.
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Mira Mesa resident Preet Saini said the new lanes have made travel more efficient already.
"Well, it cut down 15 minutes off my commute," Saini said." That’s 15 minutes I spent inside my store."
More construction will be worked on the freeway to create even more carpool lanes, from Palomar Airport Road to State Route 78. Once that portion of the project is finished, a total of 13 miles of new carpool lanes would have been added to I-5.
"Nobody likes it during construction, but when it’s open to traffic, everyone loves it," said Sharon Humphries, SANDAG Director of Construction & Engineering.
That extra stretch of construction is expected to be completed by 2023.