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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Road Construction Exploding in North County, Sets Foundation For Future Growth

One of the advantages of living in North County is that every day when you head to work something new has happened overnight.

The construction crews along with California Department of Transportation teams have been wearing night-vision goggles for a long time now.

It is hard to believe, but in the black of night they can build billion-dollar freeways, bridges and on- and off-ramps.

I live in Escondido and travel each day to Carlsbad.

As I approach the freeway on-ramp at Via Rancho Parkway I have to slow to a snail’s pace to see where the ramp has been moved to overnight.

The other day I saw four cars go the way they thought was correct and ended up looking at the busy end of a giant bulldozer.

This small example of growing pains is just one in dozens going on across the county.

Here are two examples of interconnecting arteries that at one time did not even exist:

– In San Marcos the new extension of Twin Oaks is slated for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 6. The No. 1 goal of the roadway is to connect the 8,000-resident community of San Elijo Hills with the rest of the city. Nearly one-third of the city has had to find alternative routes to travel in an east-west direction. San Marcos leaders expect more than 25,000 vehicles to use the new 2.4-mile route by 2010. Rancho Santa Fe Road has been the alternative of choice during the endless wait for the new connector. The $25 million project was originally penciled to open in the summer of 2006. The terrain used for the carving out of the new artery was some of the toughest in the region to traverse.

– In Carlsbad there are still many new roads that allow you to cruise along looking at territory you have never seen before and then they end. For instance, there are two versions in Carlsbad of College Boulevard. One goes from the coast to Camp Pendleton. Of course it has two names, Cannon Road and then College Boulevard, but if you never turn off it will get you there. The other College travels about one-eighth of a mile and then it ends. That version is the proposed site of the designer Wal-Mart being proposed for the city.

In Carlsbad the mitigation of new day trips is the sole responsibility of the developer.

So the newest road to come on line will be the extension of Faraday Avenue.

Currently, Faraday runs from Cannon Road to a white road barrier just east of El Camino Real.

TechBilt Cos. is building the Oaks North Business Park project.

The commercial and industrial park plan is being built along a portion of the valley once housing the Carlsbad Raceway drag strip.

In October, the builder will open the 1.3-mile stretch linking traffic from Palomar Airport Road and El Camino Real with the businesses on Melrose Drive.

The $16 million project, when completed, will allow a motorist from Vista to drive through the technology belt in Carlsbad and come out near the Agua Hedionda Lagoon alongside Interstate 5.

Why do so many roads need to be built?

Because the growth that’s been long in the planting process now has seeds growing up to be housing, business parks, industrial centers, manufacturing companies and the list goes on.

The Village of Carlsbad merchants, land owners and investors have been waiting for decades for something to happen that would magically redefine, redesign and redevelop their village by the sea.

Debbie Fountain, the city’s Redevelopment and Housing director, indicated that more than a dozen projects have been filed with her office. This new wave of projects could turn out to be the beginning of the surge in development that everyone has been waiting for.

There are eight mixed-use projects highlighting the condominium and retail outlet mix. Four are residential ranging in size from two to nine units, one is a 104-room Marriott Hotel (Spring Hill Suites), and three are office buildings ranging in size from 3,000 square feet to 10,500 square feet.

There are reportedly three or four more hotel projects in the planning stages. One developer who owns an entire block from State and Grand to Carlsbad Village Drive is building his first project presently, and the city of Carlsbad has begun discussions with Shea Homes for a block of property adjacent to the North County Transit District train station to perhaps build a project similar to Cedros Crossing that Shea is attempting to develop in Solana Beach.

Not every city is eager to see growth plans come forward for approval.

Oceanside has been remodeling and image reshaping for years.

The linchpin for them has been a large four-star resort being built along the beach downtown.

Many versions of the resort have been brought forward but each has somehow not made it through the planning approval process.

They are close now with only a couple of hurdles remaining.

They are building beachfront condo’s on every square inch now but the hotels, infrastructure and other visitor facilities are only a matter of time.

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


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