By Emily Sorensen
Get ready for some detours later this month, because part of the I-15 freeway will be closed over the weekend of Saturday, July 27.
Caltrans announced that they will be closing the southbound lanes of I-15 from the SR 56/Ted Williams Parkway on-ramps to the Rancho Penasquitos/Poway Road off-ramps between 7 p.m. Saturday, July 27 to 4 a.m. Monday, July 29 to make some necessary drainage improvements.
Caltrans will also be closing the I-805 in both directions, between State Route 54 and State Route 905 on from 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 through 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19 in order to demolish and remove the East Palomar Street bridge over the freeway to make room for a direct access ramp.
“We urge motorists to steer clear of freeways,” said Laurie Berman, district director of Caltrans. “We are asking motorists to stay home if possible. If that isn’t possible, then steer clear of the area completely.”
The closures, Berman said, will generate massive traffic congestion and could cause delays up to three hours. While the southbound I-15 express lanes will be open and free of charge during the closure, motorists are still encouraged to avoid the area and take an alternate route to help alleviate traffic congestion.
During the I-15 closure, Caltrans will be making drainage improvements to correct a potentially dangerous issue discovered during the last rainy season, said I-15 and I-805 Corridor Director Gustavo Dallarda. Caltrans engineers discovered that due to the natural curvature of the freeway, there is a portion near the Rancho Penasquitos/Poway Road on-ramp where water pools because the incline prevents it from reaching pre-existing drainage areas.
While there have not been any accidents from the drainage issue, Dallarda said a big storm could change that. “If we get a high-intensity storm, water will collect and can cause accidents,” said Dallarda. Dallarda said that the new pipe, when installed, will be able to handle a storm generating four inches of rain an hour.
During the repair, workers will remove 335 feet of concrete to install a specially designed pipe that will drain the water and send it to the drainage areas. The freeway will have small holes in it in this area for water to drain into the pipe. The workers will then pour concrete and let it dry. During this time, workers will also take the opportunity to make any other small fixes necessary to the closed area, such as pulling weeds and cleaning up trash that isn’t possible while the freeway is open because of the small shoulder, said Dallarda.
The cost of the I-15 project will be about $200,000, said Dallarda, which includes all work. The funds came from Proposition 1B funds, which are state bonds, and from the TransNet half-cent sales tax.
Berman said Caltrans will be conducting an “aggressive” ad campaign to let people know about the closures and encourage them to avoid the area to prevent traffic congestion.
For more information on the freeway closures, visit www.KeepSanDiegoMoving.com.