By Jim Shilander
After several years of false starts and delays, San Clemente and county officials are confident that construction to close the La Pata gap between San Juan Capistrano and northeast San Clemente will begin later this year.
City councilmember Lori Donchak told her colleagues last Tuesday that the county is currently anticipating breaking ground on the project in August. Harry Persaud of Orange County Public Works also indicated as much Tuesday.
Persaud said funding for the project is not yet completely secure, but an application is in place for Measure 2 funding of approximately $10 million. Persaud said the indications he has received, based on the criteria used to score the proposal, is the project would be among the most likely to be funded.
If ground is broken this year, construction would likely last all of 2014 and into 2015, Donchak noted.
Persaud said that due to staff turnover in San Juan Capistrano, he would meet with officials in that city to discuss any concerns with the project, especially as it related to equestrian trail access.
The completion of La Pata is considered key for transportation in the area in the coming years, especially as work begins on Interstate 5 in San Juan and San Clemente