The Coast News Group
Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC team members celebrated the halfway point of the six-year construction program in January 2020. Courtesy photo
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Caltrans, SANDAG commemorate 2020 milestone year

The Caltrans and SANDAG Build North Coast Corridor (NCC) Project team made significant progress even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team kicked 2020 off with a halfway point celebration and ended 2020 with the final concrete pour to complete the underground foundation for the new I-5 San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge in Encinitas, and a lot of progress happened in between!   

In February, construction crews successfully shifted traffic to the I-5 San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge over Manchester Avenue.

Motorists were diverted onto two new highway bridges to provide space for crews to demolish the original, 57-year-old bridge and rebuild the new interior. Construction on the new inside bridge foundation began in spring and was completed in early December. It has 22 support columns running 145 feet deep and eight support columns running 255 feet deep below ground level. The new bridge will be longer and wider to accommodate new Carpool/HOV Lanes and increased tidal flows.

In July, new sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes separated from traffic by concrete barriers were completed on the north and south sides of the I-5/Santa Fe Drive and I-5/Encinitas Boulevard undercrossings in Encinitas. Early collaboration between Caltrans, SANDAG, and the City of Encinitas also resulted in an added project benefit – a new public canvas for community art. Retaining walls lining both sides of the Santa Fe Drive street undercrossing feature 53 mosaic art panels commissioned by the City and designed by teams of local students from San Dieguito Academy and artists.

In October, San Elijo Lagoon Restoration project crews completed construction on two pedestrian bridges to create a new trail connection that extends southwest from the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in Encinitas to a new rail undercrossing and Harbaugh Seaside Trails in northern Solana Beach. The restoration team also finished dredging operations throughout the lagoon and created new low-marsh, mid-marsh, and mudflat habitats for a variety of wetland flora and fauna, including near-threatened species. Orange Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) fencing was removed, and crews successfully transitioned into the plant establishment and maintenance period of the project.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we deliver highway, environmental, bike and pedestrian improvements to the North Coast Corridor. The project team is proud to deliver these important quality of life projects in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, you can expect to see more progress along I-5, new bike and walking paths continuing to take shape as part of the North Coast Bike Trail and lagoon connectivity, and first steps toward developing the Manchester Avenue Park & Ride/Multi-Use Facility.

Please remember to “Drive 55 on the 5” in the Build NCC construction zone and that traffic fines are doubled in construction zones. Motorists also must Be Work Zone Alert, Move Over a lane when safe to do so, slow down and do not enter construction zones. 

From our construction family to yours, we wish you a safe, healthy, and happy new year! For more information, please visit