Homeowners try to throw a roadblock at I-5 widening - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

THURSDAY, September 9, 2010

Homeowners try to throw a roadblock at I-5 widening

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. (CBS 8) - Homeowners are trying to throw a roadblock at the Interstate 5 widening project. If it's given the green light, hundreds could lose part or all of their land.

The expansion is expected to improve traffic from La Jolla to Oceanside, but some homeowners say the cost is too high.

Between 75 and 100 people showed up in the first hour Thursday to see the I-5 expansion plans for themselves. It was the last of five public forums for the project.

For CalTrans I-5 Corridor Director Allan Kosup, this is a time for this team to get one-on-one feedback from homeowners and community members affected by the expansion.

"We are really looking for the public's input on things we may have missed, preferences, what alternatives they want us to pursue," Kosup said.

There's no shortage of people wanting to provide input, either. Those in attendance are able to see first-hand the variety of options within the expansion project.

The corridor expansion spans from La Jolla Village Drive in San Diego to Oceanside. It would add four managed lanes and put an emphasis on express buses and carpool lanes.

The project, if given the green light, would take between10 to 15 years to complete. Some say the whole thing doesn't make any sense, and others shared their own alternative designs. One thing they all agree on is making changes for San Diego County's future.

"(I-5) needs to be expanded to as many lanes as it possibly can so we can drive," project supporter Ken Harrison said.

"I think they should cantilever above the existing lanes and utilize that space and no one would have their backyard removed," community member Paul Plyler said.

"The bigger issue is spending this kind of taxpayer dollar on something that never has worked. There's not one place anyone can show us where it has worked. It's going to be 'Welcome to San Diego, home of the freeway', do we really want that?" community member Noel Spaid said.

There were also rail representatives present from TransNet showcasing the expansion projects in place for the rail lines, adding double rails and perhaps a tunnel under the City of Del Mar or the lagoons.

In all, anywhere from 55 to 150 homeowners could lose their homes as part of this expansion, depending on the option chosen.

If you didn't have time to make it to any of the five forums, you can still provide input by heading to the Keep San Diego Moving website.

The group Citizens Against Freeway Expansion will hold a town hall meeting at the Encinitas Community Center to explain their reasons why this project should not move forward. The meeting will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 13 inside the Encinitas Community Center.

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