Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

DEIR release for east section of Hwy 76

I’ve been reviewing the newly-released Caltrans’ Draft Environmental Report (East Section). Thus far though, I’m appalled at how Caltrans has skewed its report to favor the Existing Alignment Alternative rather than provide a fair and equal comparison between it and the Southern Alignment Alternative.

I’ve discovered that the bulk of the cost difference between the two alternatives (the Southern being more) isn’t the cost of the “two new bridges,” but the cost to buy right-of-way property. Caltrans’ budgeted cost for this purchase is $94 million. With only 5.5 miles of roadway involved, this equates to over $18 million per mile; outrageous!

The report details the detrimental impacts the Southern Alignment would bring by “introducing a new roadway into an undeveloped rural area.” However, in reading the environmental impacts, it appears to me that there will be more impacts with the Existing route than the Southern route.

The traffic studies are very old. The traffic on SR76 today is a nightmare. When a highway is expanded, the increased capacity is almost immediately consumed by additional traffic. If the Southern Alternative is selected, it would allow travelers from S. Mission to I-15 a safe, uninterrupted roadway with greater potential for accommodating increased traffic volume in the future.

I’m very concerned about how Caltrans has short-changed the benefits of the Southern Route.

I encourage everyone to visit to view a much fairer appraisal of why the Southern Alternative should be built instead of the Existing Alternative.

Grace Yelich


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