‘Severe’ Traffic Backup Expected on I-15 Monday

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Note to self: Leave the house early tomorrow.

Monday’s traffic on Interstate 15 is shaping up to be a bumper-to-bumper affair as a nine-day closure of a express lanes from highway 56 to the 163 begins.

"Severe" traffic backups along the North County inland corridor are expected tomorrow and for the rest of the week, according to Transportation officials.

The backup is expected to stretch north to at least Escondido officials said this week.

"That's going to cause a severe delay," Gustavo Dallarda, I-15 corridor director for the California Department of Transportation told the North County Times.

The delays might be so bad that officials are suggesting people talk with their employers about adjusting their schedules if they don’t want to seek alternative routes.

Up to a quarter of the interstate's traffic, from Hwy. 56 to Hwy. 163, uses the express lanes, Dallarda said. More than 300,000 vehicles use San Diego County's stretch of I-15 every day, he added.

When the closure ends, and the express lanes reopen on June 27, two lanes will be added to each and are going be available 24 hours a day every day of the week, bringing the total up to four lanes along Hwy. 56-to-Hwy.163 corridor, said Dallarda.

By the end of 2011, Caltrans expects to finish its $1.3 billion express lanes project, creating a 20-mile-long corridor of four express lanes from highways 78 to 163, according to the North County Times.

"The bigger picture, when we're done, you're going to have a more reliable commute and you're going to have more access points" to the express lanes, Dallarda said.

For more information on the I-15 Express Lanes project, call the project information hotline at (866) 890-1397 or visit www.KeepSanDiegoMoving.com.

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