SAN MARCOS — The city of San Marcos has outlined an ambitious agenda of road and traffic safety improvements coming to the city over the next two years, including the widening of state Route 78 in one of the most congested stretches of freeway in the county.
Some of the projects are being funded and completed with state and federal dollars, but city officials said it was important to provide residents with a comprehensive list to put all of the upcoming changes into perspective.
The biggest short term project is the imminent widening of SR 78 between Woodland Parkway and Twin Oaks Valley Road, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the county’s 10 worst traffic bottlenecks.
The most recent traffic data from Caltrans said the traffic costs commuters 209,000 hours of vehicle delay, good for the fifth worst traffic bottleneck in the county.
According to the city, the widening will add east and westbound auxiliary lanes, which will make it easier for drivers to enter and exit the freeway.
The project is expected to start next spring.
Another project that will likely ease traffic in that area are interchange improvements scheduled for Woodland Parkway and the 78, which are expected to be completed in the summer of 2017. Barham Boulevard, a critical east-west street that runs parallel to the 78, will be widened and realigned and Woodland Parkway will also be realigned under the freeway.
The project also includes the improvement of the on ramps at the intersection, which will ready the way for a much larger proposed expansion of the freeway in that area in 2025.
The other San Marcos area traffic projects include:
• The construction of a pedestrian bridge between the Palomar Sprinter Station and the Palomar College bus hub. This project is expected to start in 2018. Palomar Station Pedestrian Bridge: 2018.
• San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street intersection improvements, scheduled to start in late 2017.
• A new traffic signal at South Santa Fe Road and Smilax Road, scheduled to be installed this summer.
• Improvements to the city’s traffic management system, which will provided better backup power to the center and enhance traffic signal timing during disaster-related evacuations or extended power outages. The project will start in spring 2017.
• The completion of a “backbone” fiber optic cable along streets along the SR 78 corridor, including Woodland Parkway and Nordahl Road. The cable will improve traffic signal synchronization efforts in the area and will be completed by spring 2017.
• A federally funded conversion of the city’s traffic signal system to an ethernet connection, which will enhance the city’s fiber optic communication system and enhance traffic flow and safety on city streets. The conversion is expected to be completed in spring 2017.