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San Diego's Mid-Coast Trolley Project: Things Shaping Up Around Future UCSD Health La Jolla Station

The final stretch of construction for one of the biggest infrastructure projects in San Diego's history is underway

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An ambitious transportation project that extends one of the Trolley lines in San Diego County is reaching more milestones, including upgrades to a major area near UC San Diego that’ll house one of the line’s new Trolley stations.

SANDAG leaders gathered Wednesday morning at the place that’s becoming the new UC San Diego Health La Jolla Trolley Station. The area is at the intersection of Voigt and Campus Point drives, across from the Preuss School.

The group is celebrating the realignment of Campus Point Drive, which was upgraded through the concurrent Voigt Drive Improvements Project, an effort of Caltrans.

According to SANDAG, the realignment will provide direct access to the future Trolley station and improve overall traffic flow in the area.

“Having this trolley providing access to our South Bay, East County communities who can now get here by rail rather than by car, it creates a whole level of opportunity that doesn’t currently exist," said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. "That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been a strong supporter of this project for so many years.”

He gave NBC 7 several scenarios on residents whose opportunities could grow from having access to the upcoming expanded trolley, such as a San Ysidro student who dreams of going to UCSD, a National City veteran who could have easier access to the San Diego VA Medical Center and any average worker who depends on the freeway to get to and from work who could avoid sitting in traffic by riding the trolley instead.

“This is life-changing," Gloria said. "This is exactly why we have been so dogged in making sure this project gets done.”

One of the largest infrastructure projects in San Diego history is heading to its final project. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has more information on the Mid-Coast Trolley Project.

Final Stretch of Construction

The final stretch of construction for the Mid-Coast Trolley Project was announced last week. This part is bringing some road closures to the area, which could change daily. You can read the latest construction notices here.

Upcoming closures around the UC San Diego area include:

  • April 20 through April 21: Southbound Genesee Avenue from La Jolla Village Drive to Nobel Drive
  • April 21 through April 22: Northbound Genesee Avenue from Nobel Drive to La Jolla Village Drive
  • April 22 through April 23: Northbound Genesee Avenue from La Jolla Village Drive to Eastgate Mall
  • April 25 through April 26: Northbound Genesee Avenue from Eastgate Mall to Regents Road

Each closure begins at 8 p.m. on the first date and ends at 5 p.m. the next day.

The Mid-Coast Trolley Project: Almost There

The Mid-Coast Trolley Project is a plan to extend the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley service from Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego north to the UC San Diego community. Along the way, the extended line will serve major activity hubs including Mission Bay Park, the VA Medical Center, and University Towne Center. Nine new Trolley stations are part of the project.

One of the stations is the UC San Diego Health La Jolla Trolley Station where project leaders met Wednesday.

"When we have this line under operation, you’ll be able to go from the border all the way through downtown and all the way up to University City on a one-seat ride," said SANDAG Deputy Project Director Greg Gastelum last week.

It’s been a long road for the $2.1 billion Mid-Coast Trolley Project.

A priority of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), it is one of the largest infrastructure projects in San Diego’s history. The extension of the Trolley line aims to improve regional transit access to major educational, medical and employment areas.

Construction began in fall 2016. Service is expected to be up and running by the end of 2021.

The next step? Testing out the newly built rails.

“There’s lots of testing so there’ll be trolleys up there running and then we’ll be doing something that’s really simulating service," said John Haggerty, SANDAG Director of Engineering and Construction.

"You want it to be safe, you want it to operate correctly and mesh in with the rest of the trolley system," he continued.

Funding for the project was included in the voter-approved TransNet measure, a local, half-cent sales tax hike that supports transportation projects. It’s part of the TransNet Early Action Program, meaning it’s one of the highest-priority projects in the region.

To learn more about the project and each step along the way, visit this website.

San Diego's Mid-Coast Trolley Expansion Project is set to be completed by the end of the year. Construction has been going on for a long time, and it has helped bring a lot of jobs -- even for small businesses. NBC 7's Ashley Matthews explains.
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