Ceremony speakers highlight importance of new road connecting San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano; road opens for normal traffic at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14 

Local dignitaries of San Clemente celebrate as the ribbon to open the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection is cut on Saturday, Aug. 13, between San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. Photo: Eric Heinz
Local dignitaries of San Clemente celebrate as the ribbon to open the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection is cut on Saturday, Aug. 13, between San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. Photo: Eric Heinz

By Eric Heinz

With the snip of a ribbon with a pair of over-sized scissors by local dignitaries, the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection is complete.

The 2.3-mile road project that took 20 years of contemplation and about two years of construction will open officially at 8 a.m. on Sunday, but on Saturday, Aug. 13, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place in the middle of the road to celebrate the completion of the project.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, kicked off the ceremonies with the pledge of allegiance. San Clemente Councilors Lori Donchak and Chris Hamm spoke to the importance of the road for transportation as well as safety issues. State Sen. Patricia Bates spoke about her experiences in trying to get the road built. And Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett spoke throughout the ceremony.

Local vendors and entities teemed the middle of the street, and a classic car show took place during the event.

For more information about the La Pata gap connection, read our Aug. 11-17 cover story by clicking here. 

See more photos below:

A stream of people converges in the middle of Avenida La Pata for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
A stream of people converges in the middle of Avenida La Pata for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, left, starts the pledge of allegiance as San Clemente Councilman Chris Hamm follows his lead during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, left, starts the pledge of allegiance as San Clemente Councilman Chris Hamm follows his lead during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
San Juan Capistrano Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson emotes joy during her speech at the Saturday, Aug. 13, ribbon cutting cermony for the completion of the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection. Photo: Eric Heinz
San Juan Capistrano Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson emotes joy during her speech at the Saturday, Aug. 13, ribbon cutting cermony for the completion of the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection. Photo: Eric Heinz
Cyclists took to the street during the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
Cyclists took to the street during the Avenida La Pata Gap Connection ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, left, introduces San Clemente City Councilwoman Lori Donchak on Saturday, Aug. 13, during a ribbon cutting ceremony to open Avenida La Pata. Photo: Eric Heinz
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, left, introduces San Clemente City Councilwoman Lori Donchak on Saturday, Aug. 13, during a ribbon cutting ceremony to open Avenida La Pata. Photo: Eric Heinz
Attendees crowd around a stage during the Saturday, Aug. 13, ribbon cutting ceremony for Avenida La Pata. Photo: Eric Heinz
Attendees crowd around a stage during the Saturday, Aug. 13, ribbon cutting ceremony for Avenida La Pata. Photo: Eric Heinz
Attendees crowd around a stage during the Saturday, Aug. 13, ribbon cutting ceremony for Avenida La Pata. Photo: Eric Heinz
Attendees crowd around a stage during the Saturday, Aug. 13, ribbon cutting ceremony for Avenida La Pata. Photo: Eric Heinz
The classic car show brought out a colorful variety of vehicles during the ribbong cutting ceremony to open Avenida La Pata on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
The classic car show brought out a colorful variety of vehicles during the ribbong cutting ceremony to open Avenida La Pata on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
Shane Silsby, director of Orange County Public Works, speaks about the opening of Avenida La Pata on Saturday, Aug. 13, during a ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo: Eric Heinz
Shane Silsby, director of Orange County Public Works, speaks about the opening of Avenida La Pata on Saturday, Aug. 13, during a ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo: Eric Heinz
A stream of people converges in the middle of Avenida La Pata for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz
A stream of people converges in the middle of Avenida La Pata for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 13. Photo: Eric Heinz

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