ESCONDIDO (CNS) - Transit officials Thursday dedicated the final four miles of a project to create four express lanes on Interstate 15 between state Route 78 in Escondido and state Route 163 in San Diego.
The 20-mile project, which cost more than $1 billion, was funded in part by the TransNet half-cent sales tax and was completed on time and under budget, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.
The lanes are scheduled to open to traffic on Monday.
The express lanes were built in three sections -- the middle through Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Mountain Ranch and Rancho Bernardo was done first, the southern section near Mira Mesa and MCAS was second and the last part was in Escondido.
The lanes are for use by carpools, vanpools, buses, motorcycles, some clean-air vehicles and solo drivers who pay a fee via FasTrak, according to SANDAG.
A movable barrier will allow transit officials to open up more lanes in a given direction depending on demand and any traffic problems that occur.
"Until recently, average traffic delays along the corridor added upwards of 45 minutes to commute times," said acting Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Today's opening marks an improvement for San Diego-area travelers in this vital corridor."
A new high-frequency express bus system is planned to begin operating on the lanes in 2013, connecting inland North County with downtown San Diego.
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