The Coast News Group
Interstate 5 north- and southbound lanes at Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad (September 2021). Courtesy photo
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Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC open new northbound carpool/HOV lanes on I-5

On Feb. 15, 2022, Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC construction crews opened nine new miles of Carpool/HOV Lanes on northbound Interstate 5 (I-5) from Lomas Santa Fe Drive in the City of Solana Beach to Palomar Airport Road in the City of Carlsbad. Additionally, the new southbound I-5 Carpool/HOV Lane within the project limits will tentatively open a few weeks following the northbound opening.

The new Carpool/HOV Lanes will connect to existing Carpool/HOV Lanes in Solana Beach aiming to alleviate congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These lanes will allow motorists with 2 or more people per vehicle, motorcycles, vanpools, buses, and electric/clean air vehicles with valid HOV access stickers issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to travel with greater ease and reduced commute time.

These Carpool/HOV Lanes will operate 24/7. Single occupancy vehicles or clean air vehicles without valid HOV access stickers in the new Carpool/HOV Lanes will be subject to fines.

The completion of these Carpool/HOV Lanes are a significant milestone for the Build NCC teams after five years of joint agency efforts. In addition to the Carpool/HOV Lanes, four general traffic lanes will be available to motorists in each direction aiming to address increased population size and transportation access within the San Diego region.  

Please note that after the completion of these north and southbound Carpool/HOV Lanes on I-5 from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to Palomar Airport Road, construction crews and equipment will still be present on the highway completing final touches on the project. Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC remind you to drive 55 on the 5 and stay work zone alert through the Build NCC construction zones.

In 2023 four additional miles of Carpool/HOV Lanes will be available from Palomar Airport Road in the City of Carlsbad to State Route 78 (SR 78) in Oceanside completing 13 new miles of Carpool/HOV Lanes on I-5 . To learn more about Build NCC projects and priorities please visit

Build NCC helps achieve the vision outlined in SANDAG’s 2021 Regional Plan, connecting our region through equitable and advanced transportation options and improving quality of life. You can learn more about the Regional Plan at