Ann Gardner | Via Latina
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposal to widen I-5 between La Jolla and Oceanside is still under study even though the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) approved the project in concept as part of its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) on October 28. Concurrently, the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Regional (overall program) Plan has been certified but the Final EIR for the specific I-5 Project embedded in the Plan has not.
The Draft Environmental Impact Review for expanding I-5 to as wide as 10 travel lanes+ 4 managed lanes and a barrier was issued in July, 2010 and received over 5,000 responses from the public and North Coast municipalities. These responses included letters from the City of Del Mar, the Torrey Pines Community Board, Senator Christine Kehoe and community groups such as PLAGUE (Del Mar Heights area) and CAFÉ (Solana Beach area) emphasizing the negative environmental impacts and ineffectiveness of a freeway-based, rather than a transit-based, approach to moving people. Since then Governor Brown signed SB 468 sponsored by Senator Kehoe that limits the I-5 expansion as much as possible to the freeway right of way, and the approved RTP provides funding only for 8 travel lanes + 4 managed lanes, eliminating the 10+4 option.
Del Mar and other North Coast communities had speculated that a new DEIR would be issued given the new parameters. However, Arturo Jacobo, Project Manager, has clarified that a Final EIR containing updated sections with significant changes will be issued near the end of 2012 and approvals expected in 2013. See a more detailed report on the “Wide Wide World of I-5” by Dennis Ridz, Chair Torrey Pines Community Planning Board.