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New lanes open on SR 76

Beginning Thursday, October 18, motorists on State Route 76 in inland North County will have access to two newly-built westbound lanes between Melrose Drive and Sweetgrass Lane (just east of South Mission Road), stretching from the City of Oceanside to the unincorporated community of Bonsall.

Construction   crews  from  the  California  Department  of  Transportation (Caltrans)  will still  be  working  in  the  area,  closing one of the two eastbound lanes for approximately three weeks. The newly improved eastbound lanes will be fully open to traffic in early November.

“We are putting the finishing touches on the project,” said Caltrans SR 76 Corridor Director Allan Kosup. “Crews need to complete some paving and striping operations before opening all the lanes.”
The new lanes are part of a bigger project to realign and widen SR 76 to create a conventional four-lane highway. The project is being built in three segments: west, middle, and east. The west segment between Interstate 5 (I-5) and Melrose Drive within Oceanside was completed in 1999. The middle segment is the stretch slated to open on Thursday. The last segment will complete the link between I-5 and Interstate 15 (I-15). The first phase of the last segment—improvement of the I-15/SR 76 interchange—will begin construction later this month.

“Widening State Route 76 has long been a priority for SANDAG and for North County,” SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks said. “It's exciting that this milestone has been reached, but this is just the beginning of the efforts to reduce traffic congestion along this key east-west corridor. The next steps will be to complete the widening all the way to I-15 and rebuild that interchange, then focus on improving the I-5/SR 78 interchange as well.”

The newly complete middle segment of SR 76 cost $171.4 million. Funding sources include $65.5 million from TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation projects administered by SANDAG; $75.6 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; $16.8 million in Federal Demonstration funds; and $13.5 million in state funds.

When the I-15/SR 76 interchange project is completed some of the improvements will include a wider bridge over I-15, wider on- and off-ramps, as well as two new loop ramps to I-15. Construction between South Mission Road and Old Highway 395 is anticipated to start in fall 2013 and be completely open to traffic by the end of 2015. This final segment is estimated to cost $201 million.

For more information on the SR 76 project, visit

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or