A $6 billion project to reduce traffic congestion along the Interstate 5 between Solana Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad kicked off on Tuesday.
The Build NCC project, spearheaded by Caltrans and SANDAG, along with local and state leaders, began construction on the first phase for the North Coast Corridor Program.
The program includes some of the following changes:
- 14 miles of carpool lanes on I-5 between Solana Beach and northern Carlsbad.
- 2.25 miles of new double track across the San Elijo and Batiquitos lagoons.
- Construction of two new separated bike and pedestrian paths at the I-5/Encinitas Boulevard and Santa Fe Drive interchanges.
- 10 miles of new North Coast Bike Trail
- More than 200 acres of enhanced or preserved coastal habitat.
"As the region continues to grow, it is critical our leaders look to increase transportation choices that address our future needs, and Build NCC represents just that,” said SANDAG Board Chairman Ron Roberts.
The project is also expected to invest in preserving the coastal resources in San Diego County, including resoring the San Elijo Lagoon.
“Our coastal lagoons are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna and are enjoyed by thousands on a daily basis. The NCC Program will ensure that these resources can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come," said Doug Gibson, Executive Director of San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.
According to Caltrans, more than 700,000 daily trips are made on the Interstate 5.
While critics say the project will not do enough to ease traffic congestion since most people commute alone, Caltrans says the addition of carpool, pedestrian and bike lanes will counter that.