Westbound lanes on SR 76 between Bonsall and Oceanside opened today

BONSALL – Two new westbound lanes on State Route 76 between Bonsall and Oceanside opened today.

The new lanes are part of a project to widen the state road across northern San Diego County, according to San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans.

The work on the middle section of SR 76 was expected to cost $171.4 million by the time it’s completed.

The western end of the highway, which runs through Oceanside to Interstate 5, opened 13 years ago. Work is scheduled to begin later this month on the eastern end, running to Interstate 15.

The work was expected to take abut three years.

”Widening state Route 76 has long been a priority for SANDAG and for North County,” SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks said. ”It’s exciting that this milestone has been reached, but this is just the beginning of the efforts to reduce traffic congestion along this key east-west corridor.”

The new westbound lanes run from Sweetgrass Lane in Bonsall to Melrose Drive in Oceanside.

Work on eastbound lanes is continuing, and those lanes are expected to reopen in November.

Two new westbound lanes on State Route 76 opening to traffic on Thursday

NORTH COUNTY – Beginning Thursday, October 18, motorists on State Route 76 in inland North County will have access to two newly-built westbound lanes between Melrose Drive and Sweetgrass Lane (just east of South Mission Road), stretching from the City of Oceanside to the unincorporated community of Bonsall.

Construction crews from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will still be working in the area, closing one of the two eastbound lanes for approximately three weeks. The newly improved eastbound lanes will be fully open to traffic in early November.

“We are putting the finishing touches on the project,” said Caltrans SR 76 Corridor Director Allan Kosup. “Crews need to complete some paving and striping operations before opening all the lanes.”

The new lanes are part of a bigger project to realign and widen SR 76 to create a conventional four-lane highway. The project is being built in three segments: west, middle, and east. The west segment between Interstate 5 (I-5) and Melrose Drive within Oceanside was completed in 1999. The middle segment is the stretch slated to open on Thursday. The last segment will complete the link between I-5 and Interstate 15 (I-15). The first phase of the last segment—improvement of the I-15/SR 76 interchange—will begin construction later this month.

“Widening State Route 76 has long been a priority for SANDAG and for North County,” SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks said. “It’s exciting that this milestone has been reached, but this is just the beginning of the efforts to reduce traffic congestion along this key east-west corridor. The next steps will be to complete the widening all the way to I-15 and rebuild that interchange, then focus on improving the I-5/SR 78 interchange as well.”

The newly complete middle segment of SR 76 cost $171.4 million. Funding sources include $65.5 million from TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation projects administered by SANDAG; $75.6 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; $16.8 million in Federal Demonstration funds; and $13.5 million in state funds.

When the I-15/SR 76 interchange project is completed some of the improvements will include a wider bridge over I 15, wider on- and off-ramps, as well as two new loop ramps to I-15. Construction between South Mission Road and Old Highway 395 is anticipated to start in fall 2013 and be completely open to traffic by the end of 2015. This final segment is estimated to cost $201 million.

For more information on the SR 76 project, visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com.

(previous story)

SR76 switch-over now delayed until late night of October 17 for October 18 use

Joe Naiman

Village News Correspondent

*The implementation date of the SR76 switchover has been delayed due to rain. This story has been updated with the most current information possible.

Motorists traveling on State Route 76 will have another switch in lane usage Oct. 18 as part of the final work on the project to widen the road between Sweetgrass Lane in Bonsall and Melrose Drive in Oceanside.

During the late night of Oct. 17 and the early morning of Oct. 18 westbound drivers will be switched to the two northern lanes, which will become the ultimate two westbound lanes. Currently the two ultimate eastbound lanes are being used to carry traffic, and during the night traffic will be halted periodically to allow motorists to transition to the new lanes.

“There are going to be some quick stops, but no detours,” said Caltrans project manager Ann Fox. “There are stops for a few minutes to get traffic to stop and then move over to these new lanes.”

The stoppages include striping activity to guide motorists to the proper lanes for their direction. “Ninety-nine percent of the work is striping,” Fox said.

Fox expects all stoppage activity to be finished prior to the morning commute of Oct. 18.

The transition will make Highway 76 a three-lane road with two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane for approximately a month.  Although the official completion date for the widening between Sweetgrass and Melrose is December 2012, Caltrans expects the four-lane road to be operational in mid-November with some paving and striping work taking place after that time.

“To the traveling public by mid-November we’ll have four lanes available,” Fox said.

The construction work on the interchange at Highway 76 and Interstate 15 will take place on Oct. 25 (unless weather delays occur), so motorists may have some delays or detours that day associated with the beginning of the construction phase for that project.

26 Responses to "Westbound lanes on SR 76 between Bonsall and Oceanside opened today"

  1. Danny   October 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Its about time. I don’t think most people are aware of the fact that taxpayers funded this project in the 80s.

  2. Fallbrook Blues   October 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for keeping us updated. I travel 76 nightly and always check here for updates.

  3. Me   October 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Can’t wait for the entire project to be done…..maybe then the Gopher Canyon Road Expressway will slow up a bit.

    Three more crashes in the past 2 days…..

  4. OLD FALLBROOK LOCAL   October 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Highway 76 was originally going to be a freeway like highway 78. Most people are too young to remeber the old "slaughter alley", the stretch of highway 101 from Del Mar to Leucadia. Highway 76 will be this same type of expressway with traffic reaching speeds of 70mph and then having to suddenly stop for stoplights that are not synchronized. You can already see the black skid marks prior to the stoplights in the section that goes through Oceanside, and there are the weekly accidents.

  5. Unstable   October 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Just left Vista at 3:20pm( Friday) and got to the Fallbrook High School at 4:18pm. Ridiculous.

  6. Lee   October 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    What an utter joke!

    To build a freeway ANYWHERE in the state of California today and NOT make it a 4-lane freeway in EACH direction from the get-go is a social crime . . . for which those D… politicians should go to jail for! Folks, watch! About five years after its completion, politicians will conduct a study of the 76 claiming that it’s too small and needing TWO additional lanes . . . which will be built until 2030 thus guaranteeing job security for idiot contractors at OUR EXPENSE! Remember how long the rinky-dinky expansion of the 78 took?!

    Unreal! What a joke!

  7. Crybabies   October 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

    So u people that are complaining because they didnt make it 4 lanes to begin with why didnt you step up and pay more up front. They did what they could with the funds that they had… boohoo whaawhaa

  8. OLD FALLBROOK LOCAL   October 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Crybabies- Our gas taxes (the highest in the Country next to Hawaii) would have easily paid for what was originally planned years ago. The problem is that the fund has been raided and transfered to the general fund to cover the benefits for millions of illegal aliens.

  9. Preston   October 14, 2012 at 7:22 am

    There is only one reason for irresponsible government:
    We the People allow it.
    My guess is 90% of those that do vote do not really understand the issues. Why?
    Watching one night of the Political advertising is enough to sicken anyone and we just continue to bend over and take it night after night year after year.
    Based on what they tell us in their ads, they are all crooks and should be in jail so perhaps that is a good place to start.
    Run a deceptive ad and you go to jail.
    Raid taxes paid for a project to cover another and you go to jail.
    And by the way, their pension fund should be used to pay for their stay.

  10. res.   October 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    1and half hours of rain =3 days delay.really cal trans!!!oh people just go ahead and re-elect obama.so we can see more of the same!!!!!!!

  11. Tired   October 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    It’s always the same nonsense in these comment sections. Something is taking too long so blame those idiot liberal politician or the illegals. All complete unsubstantiated nonsense. This project HAS been going on since the 80s. Does anyone else remember the 4 way stop in Bonsall? Or how about the section of the 76 in Oceanside that has been open for years now. The environmental impact reports probably took a while to prepare. Or should we have skipped those for a major road expansion next to the San Luis Rey? Of course it is overpriced and inefficient, but that is government anywhere. I’m just tired of all of the useless complaining.

  12. S   October 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Made the trek this morning and can’t believe what a difference it made! Finally!

  13. momz   October 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I was on the new road at 4:30 AM this morning. It’s great except there is going to be major accidents on that road. I was already over speed of 65 and there was a SUV just zig zagging through the cars and passed me at least going 80. So please slow down before you kill yourself and or someone else. Insane, I hope they put cops hiding on that road. They will make there ticket quota just alone right there for the month.

  14. S   October 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    You’re absolutely right! Now that the lanes are open, people will be speeding and driving recklessly. I know it sounds childish, but:
    1. Watch your speed
    2. Slower traffic keep right
    3. Use your turn signals
    4. Don’t text and drive

    After all, the life you save may be mine!

  15. correct   October 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I drove the new section this morning, and I agree. The open nature of the road and three lanes available in some sections will only invite speeders. Especially those that cruise slowly when approaching the red light, to only stomp on the gas on the side merging lane when the light hits green! I hope I am wrong though. And I also agree, this stretch should have constant police radar to keep speed down!

  16. road trip   October 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Dear anyone who thinks that President Obama or the Hispanic workers who keep CA farmers in business by doing jobs people with more choices will not do…had anything to do with this road project…..please think before you speak. This project began in the 80’s as others have said.

    I, too, think it will be a dangerous drive. I hope they can police it adequately.

  17. OLD FALLBROOK LOCAL   October 21, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Road trip: So the Hispanics that were involved in the big drug bust last week were "doing jobs people with more choices will not do"?

  18. 50-Year Brookster   October 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    1. If you improve the roads around here, you encourage traffic and more people relocate to Fallbrook.

    2. The more people who move to Fallbrook, the more you have to improve the roads.

    It’s a never-ending circus.

  19. Latitude 33   October 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Those side merge lanes are an awful idea. I often will go in them and intentionally go slightly slower than the people to my left.

  20. be careful   October 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Latitude 33… I understand why you do this, however, be careful. It’s like the speeders take these side merging lanes as open lane to speed past the backed up cars on the two main lanes. It happened this morning. We started to go, and an SUV blew by all of us on this side merging lane at like 70. If one the the cars that is just starting to go, needs to make a quick exit or merge to the right shoulder, that’s going to end up in a huge accident, due to the "side speeder" and their selffish wish to get "ahead of everyone".

  21. S   October 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I agree that the 3rd side lane on the right is not only dangerous, it’s unnecessary. That being said, no one made me the "lane monitor" to make sure people don’t use that lane. It’s there and we have to live with it. Just be careful.

  22. Latitude 33   October 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Sometimes I do the "lane monitoring" and sometimes I don’t. My wife says the same thing… but seriously… what is the reason for this third lane other than to frustrate so many people? Prior to the intersection, it should be a turn only lane and after the intersection it should just be an accelerating lane to merge. Other than that, it seems as if these lanes were designed as an accident waiting to happen. Yet they are in so many places which is very weird. Everyone needs to slow down and relax. 5 seconds – 1 minute ahead of the few people that are passed will not make someones day any better or happier.

  23. Lee   October 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    "Tired", did you say . . . liberal politicians? Excuse me while I gather myself from peeing my pants laughing! Do you call . . . Bill Horn and Darrell Issa liberal? If there ever was a bastion of right-wing conservatives, San Diego’s north county is it! (Heck, all of San Diego.) Liberal? Please! lol

    Folks, those environmental studies that "Tired" mentions are LOVED, yes LOVED by contractors and, ultimately, politicians. Why? Job security. It’s that simple.

    Let’s take the construction of the 56 a decade ago. Remember what held it up? Environmental studies, of course. (Anybody remember that?) And what ultimately happened? The answer, of course, is that the 56 WAS built. So the point really is, environmental study or not, a freeway WILL be built eventually . . . especially here in busy SoCal. And HOW was the 56 built? A two-lane each way freeway . . . with about 15-20 yards of free space between the lanes. And what do you think will happen to the 56 in, say, 10 to 20 years? The answer, OF COURSE, is that it will be expanded. Translation? Whether you have an environmental study or not, it AIN’T gonna stop the construction of a freeway; it will ONLY prolong the inevitable! And who loves this? The contractors, of course. Why? The answer is very simple but undeniable: IF the freeway had been built the right way from the get-go, i.e., a four lane each way freeway, those contractors would NOT have a job 10 to 20 years down the road to expand it.

    This way, they do!

    And the SAME thing holds true for the 76. Yes, they’re building it — and dragging their feet as we all know, no doubt — but ONLY making it a two lane each way freeway . . . which, AS WE ALL KNOW, WILL be expanded to three or four lanes 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Translation?

    Job security.

    And YOU and I pay for this corruption! Welcome to San Diego, folks!

    PS. "Unstable" is correct! It took me 50 minutes — five, zero! — to get from the I-5 to Guajome Lake . . . and THAT is supposed to be an improvement? I can assure you, folks, that I have a far different word for it . . . which would require the, shall we say, use of the French language. (I could also use a particular gesture from the . . . sign language.)

    PPS. PLEASE show me ANY other freeway that is currently being built ANYWHERE in the state of California that includes . . . traffic lights! PLEASE, anybody. Like I said, only in corrupt San Diego!

  24. S   October 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Lee, FYI,
    Traffic lights = highway
    No traffic lights = freeway.

    The 76 is not a freeway, but a highway. It may be a freeway someday when it grows up, but like you said…that’s probably decades away…and yes, job security!

  25. Lee   October 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    S, although I get your comment, my point is that nobody will know the difference whether they are traveling on a freeway or highway . . . or mickey mouse way or hamburger way or whatever we want to call it when they are stuck in traffic. Now will they?

    The 76 is garbage. That’s what I call it.

  26. Steve   November 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    The red light up onto it from beneath the bonsall bridge was not turning green last night. So people in their cars had to use common sense to figure that out after about 3 cycles of the light. I sat for nearly a half an hour under the old bonsall bridge. Making me 30 minutes late for picking up both my kids, costing me 60 bucks $1 per minute for each minute after 6pm. Talk about stress. They need to widen that section of road to allow the folks needing to turn right. THe folks needing to go straight all eventually had to turn right. For they could not go left or straight. When are they going to quit crippling the commute both ways?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.