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Interstate 5, Ortega interchange project moves ahead, drivers to see road closures in San Juan

An aerial rendering of Caltrans’ completed Interstate 5/Ortega Highway interchange project. Ortega Highway will undergo a three-week closure starting Monday, Nov. 3 as crews reconfigure the road between Del Obispo Street and I-5. Photo: Courtesy of Caltrans
An aerial rendering of Caltrans’ completed Interstate 5/Ortega Highway interchange project. Ortega Highway will undergo a three-week closure starting Monday, Nov. 3 as crews reconfigure the road between Del Obispo Street and I-5. Photo: Courtesy of Caltrans

By Andrea Papagianis

Construction along Interstate 5 and Ortega Highway has sent drivers on detours through San Juan Capistrano due to closures and delays for the last two years. Now, the $86 million Caltrans project to rebuild the Ortega bridge and I-5 interchanges is nearing its final stages.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 3, Ortega will close for three weeks between the 5 and Del Obispo Street. A four-week Ortega closure from Del Obispo to El Camino Real will follow on Wednesday, Nov. 5, meaning more traffic will be pushed onto San Juan streets and direct access to downtown will be limited.

Motorists west of I-5 can use Camino Capistrano for north and south travel, and utilize Junipero Serra and San Juan Creek roads to head east and gain access to the 5. Westbound Ortega drivers will be forced to take the northbound 5 on-ramp if they do not use detours at La Novia Avenue and Rancho Viejo Road.

The bridge will also be closed to pedestrians.

Interstate drivers, traveling both north- and south-bound, can continue to use the Ortega exit to travel east on the roadway toward Rancho Mission Viejo and Lake Elsinore. Southbound 1-5 drivers will have bridge access but cannot make right-hand turns. The southbound 1-5 on-ramp will remain closed.

The Ortega closure between the 5 and Del Obispo is expected to last until Tuesday, Nov. 25. The southbound interstate on-ramp should also reopen at that time, when traffic will be shifted to the newly constructed bridge and new portion of the southbound 1-5 off-ramp.

Ortega between Del Obispo and El Camino Real will likely reopen Friday, Dec. 5.

For more information and to track closures, visit www.octa.net/ortega.

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