I-5 Freeway Improvements Open to Traffic in South O.C.

A new carpool lane in each direction of I-5 in South Orange County is open to drivers, marking the completion of a vital freeway improvement project that eases traffic congestion for tens of thousands of daily commuters through San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.

Led by OCTA in cooperation with Caltrans, the project has added nearly six miles of carpool lanes in each direction between Avenida Pico in San Clemente and San Juan Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano.

“It’s great to see the new lanes open and the improvements in place as we continue making it easier for residents and visitors who are traveling throughout the county,” said OCTA Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, also the Fifth District County Supervisor. “On behalf of the board, I want to thank the community and the area businesses for their patience during construction.”

The project also improved freeway on-ramps and off-ramps in the area, enhanced safety by improving the southbound freeway curve near Pacific Coast Highway, and reconstructed the Avenida Pico interchange.

The improvements at Avenida Pico included widening the northbound on-ramp to three lanes, adding dual left-turn lanes from Pico to the northbound and southbound freeway ramps, and enhancing bicycle and pedestrian access along Pico under the freeway.

Construction on the $230-million project began in early 2014 and was completed in three phases. Funding for the project came from OC Go (formerly Measure M), the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, and from a mix of state and federal funds.

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