Genesee Avenue at Interstate 5
Genesee Avenue at Interstate 5. Courtesy SANDAG

Elected officials as well as transportation agency and private industry figures Friday celebrated the completion of the long- awaited Interstate 5/Genesee Avenue Interchange Project.

The $117.4-million project, which broke ground February 2015, expanded the existing six-lane overpass into a 10-lane bridge. Freeway access ramps were also widened, and an arched bicycle and pedestrian bridge was built connecting the Sorrento Valley Coaster Station to nearby schools, employers and hospitals.

The infrastructure improvement was an important step in improving connectivity between employment hubs in northern La Jolla and University City, said Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott, who is also board chair of the San Diego Association of Governments.

“This project is critical to the San Diego region as it reduces congestion, provides new bike and pedestrian connections and aims to connect communities with alternative transportation choices,” he said. “The project reconfigures the interchange and adds components to promote active transportation, which will allow people to walk or bike on a continuous path from Mission Bay to Carmel Valley.”

Additionally, crews resurfaced I-5 with a rubberized concrete mix to allow for a smoother ride; planted nearly 650 trees, including Torrey Pines, Sycamores and Coast Live Oak; and installed native, drought-tolerant landscaping.

Also constructed along I-5: bioswales, which are drainage courses that remove debris and pollution from surface runoff water.

Project funding came from a handful of sources: $52.9 million was provided by the federal government, the City of San Diego contributed $22.9 million, $21.6 million came from Caltrans, UC San Diego contributed $1.7 million and $18.3 million was provided by TransNet, the voter-approved half- cent sales tax administered by SANDAG.

Improvements are part of the North Coast Corridor Program, a 40-year, $6 billion package of transportation and environmental enhancement projects along the I-5 corridor from La Jolla Village Drive to State Route 78.

–City News Service