Caltrans Begins Work on New Carpool Lanes Along I-5 in North County

New lanes will stretch between Palomar Airport Road and Highway 78

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The news is good and bad for roughly 700,000 drivers who take commute along Interstate 5 on its stretch through North San Diego County.

Caltrans broke ground on the final stretch of new carpool lanes along the corridor between Palomar Airport Road and State Route 78. It’s expected to alleviate traffic. However, drivers will still have to navigate construction zones for a few more years.

“We’ve got nine miles already under construction and we’re breaking ground on the final four [miles],” said Allan Kosup, the Caltrans North Coast Corridor Director.

Construction on the carpool lanes between Manchester and Palomar Airport should be completed by the end of 2021, according to Kosup. However, work will be well underway on the next four miles stretching north to SR-78.

“Lanes are going to be narrower,” explained Kosup. “There’s always construction. So, there’s changes in traffic flow.”

One of the most noticeable changes will be the addition of orange lines to better warn people when lanes shift along I-5, Kosup said. He added the carpool lane extensions should be completed by the end of 2023.

The lanes will give drivers “a new option, a new carpool lane all the way up for 13 miles; major improvement for the traveling public," Kosup said.

The new construction is the final part of an $887 million improvement to the I-5 corridor through the North County. It also included a restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon.

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