9 new miles of Carpool/HOV lanes open on Interstate 5

New I-5 lanes san diego
The new stretch along I-5 spans from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to Palomar Airport Road. | Photo via Build NCC + @sandagregion

Did you know? More than 700,000 vehicles travel on Interstate 5 daily? Now, the ride on northbound I-5 in San Diego’s North County will be smoother because Caltrans + SANDAG have opened 9 new miles of Carpool/HOV lanes between Solana Beach + Carlsbad.

It’s all part of the $875 million Build NCC project — hop in as we check out the concrete details.

Build NCC project on Interstate 5 in San Diego
The Build NCC project aims to improve highway access along I-5. | Photo via @sandagregion

🚘 The 411 on the north I-5 lanes:

The new stretch spans from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to Palomar Airport Road. The paralleled southbound lanes are set to be completed next month.

The lanes are open 24/7 to motorists traveling with one or more passengers + electric/clean air vehicles with valid HOV access stickers issued by the DMV. Motorcycles, vanpools + transit vehicles can also use them. Make sure you enter only through the dashed white lines.

According to SANDAG and Caltrans, the new lanes aim to reduce traffic congestion + miles traveled, as well as greenhouse gas emissions — and give locals more travel options.

Build NCC map
Beep, beep: A map of the nine miles of new Carpool/HOV lanes along northbound I-5 in San Diego’s North County. | Map via @sandagregion

🛣️ The big picture: 

The I-5 milestone is part of Build NCC, a major project underway since 2017 to improve highway, rail, coastal + transportation access in Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad.

Here’s what’s next in this phase of the plan, set to be completed by 2023:

  • Crews are constructing 4 additional miles of Carpool/HOV lanes in both directions from Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad to State Route 78 in Oceanside.
  • Double-tracking + replacing the San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge.
  • Restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon — which includes the sand nourishment project at Cardiff State Beach that we told you about last month.
  • Construction of nearly 7 miles of new bike + pedestrian lanes.

Keep up with the project here.