Freeway Projects - I-5 County Line to Avenida Pico

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  • I-5 Improvement Project from the County Line to Avenida Pico

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Overview Tab Content:

  • I-5 HOV South County Project (Avenida Pico to San Diego County Line)

    Introduction

    The I-5 Improvement Project proposes to increase person and vehicle throughput on I-5 between the San Diego County Line (11-SD-5, PM 71.0) and the I-5/Avenida Pico Interchange (12-ORA-5, PM 3.4) in the city of San Clemente and unincorporated San Diego County. The Proposed Project would add a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in both directions along this 3.5 mile stretch of I-5.

    This project is one of three being advanced as part of a 2020 agreement between the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), and Caltrans to help address near-term South Orange County traffic relief. This agreement officially ended the TCA’s effort to extend the 241 Toll Road. To read more about the agreement, click here.

    HOV map

    OCTA and Caltrans are initiating the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED) Phase through the scoping process. A key component of scoping is public engagement. The scoping period is between June 30, 2022 – August 15, 2022.

    OCTA is the Sponsor Agency. Caltrans is the Lead Agency under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Caltrans is preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to CEQA and an Environmental Assessment (EA) pursuant to NEPA.

    Proposed Alternatives

    Based on conceptual analysis, two alternatives are proposed for consideration. The preliminary alternatives under consideration include one No Build and one Build Alternative.

    Alternative No. 1 (No Build):
    The No Build Alternative proposes no improvements to I 5, maintaining the existing four general-purpose lanes throughout the Project limits in the northbound and southbound directions. The freeway facility would remain as is, with the exception of other proposed projects that are either under development or currently under construction.

    Alternative No. 2 (Build Alternative):
    Alternative 2 proposes to add an HOV lane on I-5 in the northbound and southbound directions within the project limits. The new HOV lane would connect to the existing HOV facility to the north of the project study area and extend south to the San Diego County/Orange County Line. The existing southbound inside general-purpose lane would be converted to an HOV lane between Avenida Pico and Avenida Presidio, the proposed southbound HOV lane would require outside widening to reestablish the fourth general purpose lane between Avenida Presidio and the San Diego County/Orange County Line, where the southbound HOV lane would become the inside general-purpose lane, and the outside general-purpose lane would transition to an auxiliary lane and ending south of the southbound Cristianitos Road exit ramp at the County Line. In the northbound direction, I¬ 5 is proposed to be widened to the outside to accommodate the additional HOV lane. The additional HOV lane will tie into the existing HOV lane at Avenida Pico. To accommodate the freeway widening, the widening or replacement of several bridges would be required.

    The Build Alternative would implement ramp improvements where feasible and auxiliary lanes throughout the corridor and would include Transportation Systems Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM) features.

    Public Scoping Meeting

    OCTA and Caltrans hosted two public scoping meetings – one in-person meeting and one virtual meeting. The purpose of the scoping meetings is to provide information to agencies and the public regarding the proposed project and to obtain feedback on the scope and content that should be addressed in the environmental document.

    Comments may be submitted during the public scoping period (June 30, 2022-August 15, 2022) via the following formats:

    • Project email to I-5HOVSouthCounty@dot.ca.gov with the subject line “I-5 Improvement Project from the County Line to Avenida Pico”.
    • Regular mail to Jayna Harris, Associate/Senior Environmental Planner, 20 Executive Park, Suite 200, Irvine, CA 92614
    • Court reporter during our scoping meeting

    Next Steps/Milestones

    milestones
    • Mid-2023 – Publish Draft Project Report/Environmental Document and Conduct Public Hearing
    • Late 2023 – Publish Final Project Report and Environmental Document
    • Mid-2026 – Begin Design (Plans, Specifications, and Estimates)**
    • Late 2030 - Begin Construction*

    **Dependent on funding availability

    What is Available/Resources

Details Tab Content:

  • Cars on the road

    The I-5 Improvement Project from the County Line to Avenida Pico Interchange proposes to increase person and vehicle throughput between Orange County and San Diego County. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 12 and the City of San Clemente, are proposing improvements to 4.8 miles of Interstate 5 (I-5) in the City of San Clemente from south of the San Diego County line to Avenida Pico (Project). The map below provides a high-level snapshot of the entire project area, with the proposed improvement area highlighted in yellow.

    This project is one of three being advanced as part of a 2020 agreement between the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), and Caltrans to help address near-term South Orange County traffic relief. This agreement officially ended the TCA’s effort to extend the 241 Toll Road. To read more about the agreement, click here.

    map of lane extension

    The Project is in the environmental review phase, during which the Project Report and Environmental Document will be developed. One No Build Alternative and one Build Alternative will be studied.

    Alternative No. 1 (No Build): The No Build Alternative proposes no improvements to I-5, maintaining the existing four general-purpose lanes throughout the Project limits in the northbound and southbound directions. The freeway facility would remain as is, with the exception of other proposed projects that are either under development or currently under construction.

    Alternative No. 2 (Build Alternative): Alternative 2 proposes to add an HOV lane on I-5 in the northbound and southbound directions within the project limits. The new HOV lane would connect to the existing HOV facility to the north of the project study area and extend south to the San Diego County/Orange County Line. The existing southbound inside general-purpose lane would be converted to an HOV lane between Avenida Pico and Avenida Presidio, the proposed southbound HOV lane would require outside widening to reestablish the fourth general purpose lane between Avenida Presidio and the San Diego County/Orange County Line, where the southbound HOV lane would become the inside general-purpose lane, and the outside general[1]purpose lane would transition to an auxiliary lane and ending south of the southbound Cristianitos Road exit ramp at the County Line. In the northbound direction, I-5 is proposed to be widened to the outside to accommodate the additional HOV lane. The additional HOV lane will tie into the existing HOV lane at Avenida Pico. To accommodate the freeway widening, the widening or replacement of several bridges would be required. The Build Alternative would implement ramp improvements where feasible and auxiliary lanes throughout the corridor and would include Transportation Systems Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM) features.

    The I-5 freeway, a major freeway corridor, serves as a:

    • Inter-regional and interstate travel and goods movement route.
    • Connection between Orange County with San Diego County to the south and to Los Angeles County to the north.
    • Main route to beaches and tourist attractions in the City of San Clemente, San Onofre State Beach, and United States Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    To view the project presentation delivered to the City of San Clemente City Council, click here.

    To contact project staff, please call the number and/or email provided at the top of this page

Detours Tab Content:

  • The preliminary engineering and environmental review process is a multi-year process that includes technical studies and opportunities for public participation and comment, including a public scoping meeting and public hearing.

    Generally speaking, the environmental process is a 6-step process. The graphic below provides a high-level overview of the process, including a brief description of the purpose and work that takes place at each step. Currently, the environmental process is estimated to be completed in Winter 2024, a little more than two years from now. However, please note that the project schedule is subject to change.

    timeline

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