SR 78 serves as the primary east-west travel corridor between Escondido and Oceanside, traversing through Carlsbad, Vista, and San Marcos, as well as unincorporated areas of San Diego County. It is the primary route for local and regional travel in North County and provides north-south connections to Interstates 5 and 15.
A study to evaluate plans to improve SR 78 was completed in 2012 and construction improvements just west of the I-15/SR 78 interchange were implemented. Visit the SR 78 Corridor Study project webpage to learn more.
SANDAG and Caltrans have proposed additional improvements to this corridor, including the I-15/SR 78 Managed Lanes Direct Connectors Project, the I-5/SR 78 Interchange Project, the SR 78 Managed Lanes Project, and operational improvements along SR 78. Other long-term projects include future double tracking and express services for the SPRINTER and the construction of additional segments of the Inland Rail Trail Bike Path.
In fall 2019, Caltrans, in
partnership with SANDAG and the City of San Marcos, began the environmental
process to evaluate Managed Lanes Direct Connectors between I-15 and SR 78.
The project will bring relief to an area
of the region that has experienced tremendous residential and job growth over
the past 25 years and improvements are expected to improve connectivity and
traffic flow on and between two major travel corridors, increase local access
to homes and jobs, and improve overall quality of life in North San Diego
the project will improve connectivity by:
In October, Caltrans released
the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the I-15/SR 78 Managed Lanes Direct
Connectors Project, which kicked off a minimum 30-day public scoping comment
period. Early public feedback on the project is critical to
helping the project team develop a comprehensive list of environmental topics
to study, ensure community concerns are addressed, and identify opportunities
to improve the project. The 30-day public scoping comment period began on
Monday, October 19 and ended on Friday, November 20.
During this time, the project team collected nearly
90 public scoping comments, which Caltrans, as the lead agency under the
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA), will take into consideration and summarize in the project’s
Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA). Key
themes heard across the public feedback included general impacts on traffic,
traffic patterns on I-15 near the Valley Parkway on- and off-ramps, Managed
Lanes operations and pricing, noise, landscaping, air quality, and proposed
bike and pedestrian facilities.
The project team is evaluating the public comments collected during the 30-day
public scoping period and taking the feedback into consideration as they begin
to evaluate project alternatives, conduct technical studies, and study the
impacts the project may have on the environment. The culmination of this work
will be summarized and released for public review in the project’s Draft
Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA).
The Draft EIR/EA is expected to be released for public review and comment in
summer 2022. A Final Environmental Document is anticipated in 2023. Please view
the anticipated project timeline and environmental process below.
The I-15/SR 78 Managed Lanes
Direct Connectors project is in the early stages of a three-year environmental
review process. Numerous opportunities to provide comment on the project will
be available. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is expected to be
released for public review and comment in late 2022 and a Final EIR is
anticipated in late 2023. The project has an estimated cost of $450 million and
is currently anticipated for construction in 2025, pending funding.
The project is one component of a North County Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor
study being undertaken by Caltrans and SANDAG that uses a holistic approach
towards integrating highway, transit, and mobility projects along SR 78.
The proposed connectors are
listed as the top priority among direct connector projects in the SANDAG 2050 Regional Transportation Plan.
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