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By Jim Shilander

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted last week to send the extension of Avenida La Pata between San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano to bid, and while the financial gap in the project is not yet closed, closing the gap between the cities will be the county’s first priority, Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates said.

“The challenge we have had is closing the funding gap,” Bates said. “But OC Roads and the Orange County Traffic Authority are taking a close look at closing the final gap of $18 million.”

While that gap still exists, Bates said, the funds to close the road had been reached. The remainder of the funds would be geared to other elements of the project, such as landscaping along the side of the road and infrastructure improvements in San Juan.

The bids are expected to be opened at the supervisor’s meeting October 23.

San Clemente City Councilwoman Lori Donchak, who is also an OCTA board member, noted there were concerns on the city side about one element of the project. Trucks from San Diego County regularly dump trash in the Prima Deshecha landfill, which is run by with Orange County. That contract is coming up in 2014. Donchak said she was concerned that trucks would start coming down Avenida Pico and onto La Pata when the road was completed (likely between 2016 and 2017). Bates said the contractual issues with the county had not yet been looked into, but that she was aware of the concern.

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