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By Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Ward
At the start of my term in late 2014, we were bracing for the pending demolition of the bridge at Pico. Since the beginning, I would say we have all been troopers during this trying time of construction. I give a special and appreciative shout-out to all the residents who live along the freeway who have lived with dust, beeping sounds, pile-driving noises and sometimes nighttime construction.
The western side of the bridge has been demolished and is now rebuilt. In the very near future, northbound traffic will be moved to the west side, and then the east side of the bridge will be demolished. Here we go again. The good news is we are closer to the end than the beginning.
The goal of this Orange County Transportation Authority project is to improve the weekend traffic jams and rush-hour traffic. The project is said to alleviate the backups by extending the carpool lane from San Juan Creek Road to Pico, creating five lanes on both sides.
OCTA predicts this project will increase overall traffic speeds and save drivers an average of 30 seconds per mile even to the year 2040 with increased traffic levels.
As we endure the current construction and look forward to our commute improving, there is another roadway being contemplated that could have a direct effect on San Clemente.
The Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) is coordinating an outreach to determine the necessity and desire of an extension to the 241 Toll Road, which currently ends at Oso Parkway.
TCA’s goal is to extend the 241 Toll Road to Interstate 5. The toll road was originally designed to terminate south of San Clemente near Trestles. The California Coastal Commission and the United States Secretary of Commerce denied that extension in 2008.
If a connection to I-5 is not available south of San Clemente, a northern connection in our city will be contemplated.
More information on this outreach can be accessed through www.getmovingoc.com.
One public forum has already occurred in Laguna Niguel where ideas for improved transportation were taken from the public.
A second public forum is scheduled in San Clemente where the ideas from the first forum will be presented. This forum is expected to take place sometime in early October.
This is an issue that will affect our city.
I encourage all of San Clemente to attend this forum, be educated and give your opinion. As your council representative on TCA, I look forward to your input. I hope to see you there.
If you have any questions or comments you’d like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy Ward is the Mayor Pro Tem of San Clemente. She was elected to City Council 2014.