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Monday, May 20, 2024
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Bonds Drive Road Construction, Economy Doesn’t Affect Progress

Even with the daily economic news riding on a roller coaster, there seems to be plenty of progress being made in transportation construction, with government money being the catalyst.

The “governator” was recently here , bringing the transportation checkbook with him , kicking off his program to spend $42 billion to rebuild the state’s aging infrastructure. At the conclusion of a North County press conference, he confirmed the spending of $168 million on Interstates 5 and 805.

He commented that the $66 million project will extend the car pool lanes on I-5 from Via de la Valle in Del Mar to Manchester Avenue to the north. The most significant part of his announcement was that the project is the first in the state to get funding from the TransNet bonds passed by voters in the last election. About $24.5 million will come from the bond fund.

When those car pool and high-occupancy vehicle lane projects are completed in 2010, more than $1 billion will have been spent to ease the choke points on the roads. On the topic of HOV lanes, the Interstate 15 project extending the lanes from Miramar to Escondido is moving right along.

Many widening projects are complete, along with new on- and off-ramps opening on a regular basis. The recent announcement in Sacramento of San Diego getting $432 million from the state’s Transportation Commission included $350 million to complete the I-15 express lanes. This also was a more than $1 billion construction relief project.

Other projects seeking their share of the pot here include the long-awaited widening of state Route 76. The 5.8-mile stretch of roadway has been on the waiting list since the passing of the first phase of the TransNet tax in l987.

After moving slowly up the priority list, then came the environmental impact report, which took six more years. With that complete, officials think the road construction can begin in the spring of 2009 and be complete in 2011.

The road is intended to connect I-5 and I-15 and be an alternative to busy state Route 78. The $250 million project will widen the road and straighten out the deadly curves that are the two-lane highway’s claim to fame.

In San Marcos, the opening a month ago of a $25 million extension of Twin Oaks and San Elijo roads is paying big dividends.

Fears of thousands of cars clogging the new road made residents wary. However, it appears the road cuts commutes by as much as two-thirds and only handles 10,000 trips per day, most of which are coming from the residents themselves, not commuters.

The new road allows San Marcos residents to have a more direct route to Encinitas and Carlsbad. Traffic planners have estimated that the daily trips will escalate to more than 25,000 by 2010.

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In other North County news:

– & #8201;Escondido farmer Charles Gilman Henry has been named Farmer of the Year by the San Diego Farm Bureau. Henry runs a family avocado growing business that began in l930. A lifelong marketer of the avocado, he was one of the first growers to foster and coordinate statewide marketing of his product. He also helped create the California Avocado Commission to represent his fellow growers.

– & #8201;Vista is welcoming its second big-box retailer with the approval to build a second Target store. The site is an 18-acre plot of land bordering Carlsbad and San Marcos. The 137,000-square-foot store is slated to have its grand opening in October. The new facility is being built at the corner of Poinsettia Avenue and Business Park Drive.

– & #8201;CB Richard Ellis has sold a 14-building business park complex for $17.4 million. The 65,000 square feet of purchased building space was mostly bought by individual companies currently occupying the buildings.

– & #8201;Carlsbad-based West Partners has made an investment in the Planet Group, a provider of solutions for electronic payment processing. The company, headquartered in Omaha, Neb., also provides business process management and secure correspondence. West Partners Development is a subsidiary that owns and operates West Inn & Suites, West Steak Seafood & Spirits and Bistro West in Carlsbad, among other companies. The founder of West Partners is Gary West. He and his wife, Mary, founded the West Corp. in l986, took it public in l996 and remained primary owners until it went private in 2006. The couple built the West Corp. into one of the largest teleservice providers in the world. They are self-funded and invest in their own companies.


Ted Owen is the president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

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