Work begins on half-billion dollar
SANDAG and Caltrans recently broke ground on a $467 million project to add seven miles of freeway-within-a-freeway to Interstate 15, bringing congestion relief to motorists who drive the corridor.
Caltrans Director Will Kempton and other transportation officials kicked off construction of four High Occupancy Vehicle/Managed Lanes in the center median of I-15 between SR 163 and SR 56. The new lanes will link up with an identical project already under construction along the middle section of I-15 and a third that soon will start in the north, creating a 20-mile stretch from Miramar to Escondido.
“This cutting edge infrastructure will open up one of the most congested highways in our region, while at the same time helping the environment by vastly expanding the use of carpooling and bus rapid transit in the San Diego region,” said SANDAG Chair and Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Teresa Sessom.
When completed in 2012, the HOV/Managed Lanes will feature direct access ramps and reversible lanes. Carpools, vanpools, and buses will access the lanes for free, while FasTrak customers will pay a fee based on traffic conditions to use the new lanes.
“These improvements are crucial to maintaining an efficient transportation system throughout the state,” Kempton said. “For motorists, they mean less stressful and time-consuming commutes and an improved overall quality of life.”
With the groundbreaking on the southern section, two of the three projects are now under construction. Work on the $428 million middle section – from Centre City Parkway to SR 56 – began in 2003 and will be complete later this year.
Construction on the northern section – from Centre City Parkway to SR 78 – is scheduled to begin this summer, with completion expected in 2011 at a cost of $250 million.
Funding for the project comes from a combination of local, state, and federal allocations, as well as the TransNet half-cent sales tax collected in San Diego County to fund transportation improvements.