State panel OKs Interstate 5 project across San Elijo Lagoon

North Coast Current

The California Coastal Commission gave the green light last week to a major makeover of Interstate 5 running across San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas, local officials announced March 15.

The panel voted unanimously March 9 to approve projects for the freeway and bicycle and pedestrian paths as part of the North Coast Corridor Program, supported by a coalition of government agencies including the San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans.

“This important milestone helps set the stage for implementing the first phase of transportation and environmental enhancements later this year,” officials said in a Corridor Program announcement. “This decision marks a key step in the 10-year collaborative effort between Caltrans, SANDAG, community members, local corridor cities, the Coastal Commission, and resource agencies.”

The Coastal Development Permit approved by the Coastal Commission helps clear the way for replacement of the I-5 bridge running across the San Elijo Lagoon, officials stated. Construction is set to begin this fall.

The bridge will be replaced with a wider, longer span to accommodate carpool lanes and improve lagoon tidal flow. Bicycle and pedestrian paths at the lagoon and a Park & Ride facility at I-5 and Manchester Avenue are also in the plans.

North Coast Corridor Program projects span 27 miles from La Jolla to Oceanside under three main objectives – the Interstate 5 Express Lanes Project, environmental protection and coastal access enhancements, and coastal rail and transit improvements.

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