On Oct. 1, OCTA and local and state officials marked the completion of the I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange Improvement Project in San Juan Capistrano. The $77.2-million project is designed to ease travel for daily commuters and decrease vehicle emissions at this interchange, a major connection for motorists in Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties.
Chairman Jeff Lalloway, Vice Chair Lori Donchak, Board members Lisa Bartlett and Ryan Chamberlain, and CEO Darrell Johnson joined more than 100 others, including local business owners, San Juan Capistrano residents and elected officials, to dedicate the redesigned and rebuilt interchange.
The 2.5-year project includes:
- A reconstructed Ortega Highway bridge over the I-5 freeway, increasing the number of lanes on the bridge from four to eight, including turn lanes and through lanes
- Realignment of Ortega Highway west of the I-5 into the downtown area of San Juan Capistrano
- A new northbound loop on-ramp; and widened north and south I-5 on- and off-ramps to improve traffic flow.
This project highlights a “bridging of history,” as San Juan Capistrano’s Spanish architectural style is reflected in colored concrete on the new bridge and textured retaining walls that were painted by hand.
All lanes on the bridge and on- and off-ramps are open, and only minor work remains before Caltrans, the lead agency on the project, gives it final approval.