During a presentation in Oceanside with County Supervisor Jim Desmond and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Capistrano said the planned modifications would increase traffic flow, reduce vehicle emissions and improve public safety.
“This interchange is often a traffic nightmare,” said Levin. “It simply cannot handle the number of cars that are driving through here on a regular basis, particularly during rush hour, leading to gridlock and more idling vehicles that increase air pollution. The traffic as a result of this interchange is also a serious public safety issue.”
Currently, vehicles in the westbound lanes of state Route 78 must wait at a stoplight to turn south to get onto Interstate 5.
Officials plan to build a flyover overpass that would route cars over existing lanes. It would replace the traffic light and allow vehicles on state Route 78 to merge onto I-5 without stopping or slowing.
“It’s been on the wish list for the region for many years,” said Desmond.
According to Levin, the federal Department of Transportation will provide $4.8 billion to California immediately and CalTrans will administer the money within the state.
The North County interchange project will need two or more years for environmental review and engineering plans.