Octa's transportation blog

Creative Bridge Construction Keeps I-5 Traffic Moving

Today, nearly 360,000 motorists travel I-5 daily between SR-73 and El Toro Road. Transportation planners forecast traffic volumes will grow 25 percent by 2045. To address this travel demand, OCTA and Caltrans are working together to construct the I-5 South County Improvements Project from SR-73 to El Toro Road.

The I-5 bridge over La Paz Road is one of three project-wide that are being reconstructed to accommodate the freeway improvements. The bridge is being constructed in three phases to maintain freeway and local street access during construction.

For the third phase, crews used a creative solution to ensure minimum clearance for traffic under the bridge during construction. They built the bridge approximately 2.5 feet higher than its final height to accommodate falsework, a temporary system of steel beams and timber used to support a bridge during construction. This allowed La Paz to remain open to all traffic during construction.

Recently, a team of 20 carpenters meticulously lowered the completed third phase, weighing 3 million pounds, to its final height, using 18 jacks and taking eight hours. Partial access to and from I-5 was maintained during the work.

Crews anticipate completing construction at the I-5/La Paz Road interchange by late 2024. Learn more about the I-5 South County Improvements Project here.