Via de la Valle widening could begin next year

The widening of Via de la Valle from two to four lanes is expected to begin construction in summer 2018.

On April 27, the Carmel Valley Community Planning board approved an extension of time for the widening — the project 14 years in the making received its site development permit in 2015 and it expired this month.

The project will result in a four-lane Via de la Valle from San Andres to El Camino Real to help serve a regional need.

The existing two-lane road is built for a maximum of 10,000 average daily trips (ADTs), but the current volume is almost double that at 17,000 ADTs. The city is projecting 27,000 ADTs by 2030 and a four-lane road would have a capacity for 30,000. The hope is the widened Via de la Valle would carry that capacity to and from the I-5 freeway.

Once the road meets El Camino Real, it goes back down to two lanes into Rancho Santa Fe.

The widening and realignment of El Camino Real was last projected to begin construction in 2021.

The planning board voted against the widening in a 9-2 vote in September 2013 due to concerns about the impact on Del Mar Horsepark users and businesses adjacent to the road. Due to the planning board’s input, the road is as narrow as possible through the sensitive San Dieguito Riverpark area with minimal medians and widening at turn pockets.

“This is the narrowest section for this type of road that we could do,” said Dale Greenhalgh of Black Mountain Ranch LLC, who has been before the planning board on this project multiple times over the last 10 years. “It’s all being widened completely on the south side of the road.”

The project is essentially the same as it was when the site development permit was approved in 2015. Greenhalgh said as the project went before the California Coastal Commission for its coastal development permit in December 2016, the commission was concerned about the impact of coastal sage on the north side of the road. As the Coastal Commission does not allow mitigation for coastal impacts, they did a slight shift 5 feet south for one section of the road to keep no impact to coastal sage.

Greenhalgh said they will now begin the preliminary design stage with the plan to get construction documents permitted by spring 2018 and, after a public bid process, begin construction in summer 2018.

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