SAN DIEGO — If you’ve been driving on the I-5 in North County lately, then you’ve noticed the new orange striping that has appeared all over the roadway. It’s had many drivers wondering what they mean. CBS 8 spoke to Caltrans to find out what drivers need to know.
“The purpose of the orange lane striping is to alert the motorists that they’re entering a construction zone and remind them of a 55 mile per hour speed limit so they can proceed with caution while crews are working around them,” said Faridun Javed, senior engineer for Caltrans.
The new orange striping is part of a pilot project to improve safety for construction workers and motorists.
The orange color is meant to signify to drivers that we’re in a construction work zone, and that we need to slow down, especially because traffic fines are doubled in these areas.
“It is visible during the day and at night to clearly alert the motorists that they are in a unique area and hopefully they can make the connection that it is orange, that it is a construction zone,” said Javed.
As part of the $887 million dollar North Coast Corridor Project, Caltrans and SANDAG are continuing the extension of existing carpool lanes by connecting Carlsbad up to Oceanside.
For the next year, the entire stretch of I-5 from Palomar Airport Road up through SR-78 is designated as a work zone. Caltrans began installing these orange stripes last November, but rainy weather and wet conditions at night delayed completion of all the lanes until last week.
Drivers may also notice that the striping is slightly different on the northbound and southbound sides of the freeway. They’ve been testing out different methods and materials, so drivers may notice that the striping is slightly different on the northbound and southbound sides of the freeway.
“Being a pilot, it is trial and error. It’s lessons learned and it’s also dealing with the weather,” said Javed.
Caltrans just hopes drivers will catch on to this and become more familiar with the meaning behind the orange stripes, and in turn, that we’ll all slow down to 55 mph.
“If the public recognizes the orange striping and slows down and they realize they’re in a construction zone, and they become a little more extra alert, it will help save lives,” said Javed.
Caltrans expects to finish the HOV lane construction up through SR-78 by March or April 2023.
WATCH RELATED: Orange stripes on I-5 freeway explained (Dec. 2021).