Southbound I-5 freeway reopens early following bridge repair in downtown San Diego

Caltrans will be performing a similar closure on the northbound side of I-5 at the end of the month

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All lanes of southbound Interstate 5 through downtown San Diego reopened Sunday afternoon after workers made progress on a bridge repair project that was expected to keep lanes blocked all weekend long, Caltrans San Diego said.

The transportation agency said that the freeway will not be closing again this weekend in a post on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.

The closure prompted warnings for motorists to avoid the area and for people traveling to the airport to plan ahead and leave early.

The southbound freeway was closed at Interstate 8 through the downtown and Balboa Park areas. The closure began at 9 p.m. Friday and was supposed to continue through 5 a.m. Monday so Caltrans crews can repair the bridge deck over State Route 163.

A massive closure of Interstate 5 will impact drivers near downtown this weekend. NBC 7's Kelvin Henry has more on what you need to know.

Southbound motorists were being diverted onto the eastbound 8 Freeway, then south on either SR163 or the 805 Freeway, depending on the driver's destination.

At least one lane of southbound I-5 was accessible from on-ramps south of I-8 for limited local and airport traffic, according to Caltrans.

Drivers headed to San Diego International Airport were advised to take SR163 south and follow signs to the airport.

The airport authority advised travelers to allow more than two hours before their flight departs to account for potential traffic congestion and delays and to take the airport's free all-electric shuttle from the Old Town Transit Center or use the MTS 992 bus from the Santa Fe Transit Station.

Caltrans workers also used the freeway closure as an opportunity to clean, maintain and inspect hard-to-reach areas, the agency said.

Caltrans will be performing a similar closure on the northbound side of I-5 at the end of the month. The northbound I-5 closure will begin at state Route 15 at 9 p.m. Sept. 29 and end at 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1. Two lanes of traffic will be detoured to SR-15 and remaining northbound I-5 traffic will be directed to eastbound state Route 94.

Messaging signs will be in place to encourage alternate travel and advise of closures.

"This proactive work will ensure the structural integrity of the I-5 bridge through downtown for years to come," Caltrans District Director Gustavo Dallarda said. "During these two closure weekends, please avoid using I-5 through downtown and travel on alternate routes like SR-163, I-805 and SR-15."

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