The Coast News Group
Looking east at a rendering of the new San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge and the suspended bike and pedestrian bridge below. Courtesy photo
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Construction crews to begin dismantling old San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge

Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC construction crews are set to mark yet another milestone of the Build NCC program as they begin the demolition and dismantling of the old San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge.

Beginning the week of March 1, Build NCC construction crews will begin dismantling the old highway bridge, a process that is estimated to take approximately four to six weeks to complete.

Once the original bridge is removed, crews will begin to reconstruct new interior bridges. The new interior bridges will eventually connect with the recently completed exterior bridges where vehicle traffic was shifted in early February.

The demolition and dismantlement of the bridge structure will take place from Sunday through Thursday evenings from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. This work is required to take place overnight to ensure the safety of construction crews and of motorists traveling on I-5 and along Manchester Avenue. Intermittent lane closures may be required along I-5 near the bridge as part of this work, but no full freeway closures are planned.

In addition, motorists are advised that a full overnight closure of eastbound and westbound Manchester Avenue under I-5 will be in effect each night – from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – from Sunday, March 1, through Thursday, March 5, and again Sunday, March 8 through Monday, March 9. This closure will allow crews to safely remove sections of the bridge that are located directly above Manchester Avenue. On- and off-ramps at Manchester Avenue will remain open and detour signage will be in place to assist motorists around the overnight closure.

Once complete, the final conjoined bridge will be longer and wider – improving tidal flow in the lagoon below and accommodating one new Carpool/High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane in each direction. The bridge will also feature a suspended bike and pedestrian bridge connecting users to the San Elijo Lagoon trail network and to the future 7-mile North Coast Bike Trail. Improvements along Manchester Avenue, including a Multi-Use/Park & Ride facility, are also included as part of this Build NCC project.

To ensure safety for both motorists and the construction crews through this work, drivers are reminded to “Drive 55 on the 5” in the Build NCC construction zone. SANDAG operated Motorist Aid service for roadside assistance can be easily accessed by dialing 5-1-1 anywhere in San Diego County. Additionally, the “Move Over” law requires all drivers to move over a lane or, if they are unable to do that safely, slow down when they see amber flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, law enforcement and emergency vehicles, and tow trucks.

For more information on the Build NCC Project, please visit, email [email protected], or call 844-NCC-0050.

About Build NCC

Build NCC is a collaborative effort between the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, and the United States Department of Transportation.

The first phase of construction is in the cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad as part of the North Coast Corridor Program. Build NCC includes extending the existing carpool lane on I-5 in each direction from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to State Route 78, double tracking the rail line and replacing the highway and rail bridges at the San Elijo Lagoon, restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, and constructing nearly seven miles of new bike and pedestrian trails. Construction on Build NCC began in early 2017 and will be complete by 2022.