I-15 LogoA system designed to guide motorists around major incidents when they occur along a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 15 in the North County is scheduled to be activated Thursday.

The system between state Route 78 in Escondido to just north of state Route 52 in San Diego will include electronic freeway signs, 40 alternate route signs, and coordinated traffic signal and ramp meters — all designed to give motorists the option of circumventing major incidents that occur on the freeway, according to the San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans.

“Our region is a leader in taking advantage of technology to make our transportation system more efficient,” said county Supervisor Ron Roberts, also chairman of the SANDAG Board. “These important steps on Interstate 15 will lead to even more effective use of innovations that are still to come.”

For decades, I-15 from Escondido and back home again was one of the region’s most difficult commutes. However, widening and new express lanes have eased the situation somewhat, and much of the congestion is related to collisions or other incidents.

According to SANDAG, when an incident occurs that may result in significant backup, motorists will see a message on the electronic freeway signs. The message will offer additional route options for commuters to get off the freeway and onto a specific alternate route, designated by labeled signs.

Many drivers already choose to use surrounding surface streets to bypass freeway incidents and reduce traffic delays.

The system’s real-time information and traffic management will help alleviate congestion and enable motorists to determine when to take a different route, as well as guide them past traffic congestion with the least amount of impact to local streets, according to SANDAG.

Funding for the system was included among $10.8 million in state and federal grants.

—City News Service