The County has retained consultants to prepare final design plans and construction documents for the project. The documents will include preparation of final construction level plans, construction specifications and detailed construction cost estimate. Preparation of these documents will enable the county to be prepared, when funding is available, to go out to formal bid and construction of the project. The County is concurrently proceeding with completing the Federal environmental documentation that would enable receipt of any federal funding should it become available. The current efforts are expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
What was the environmental process?
The initial step began in November 2009 with the release of the Notice of Preparation for the Environmental Impact Report. A public scoping meeting was conducted on December 2, 2009 in San Clemente to provide project information and garner input from interested parties. A public meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Report was conducted November 18th, 2010 in San Clemente to provide interested parties an opportunity to review and provide comments on the project documents. Public outreach efforts included numerous community meetings throughout the process. Outreach efforts also included mailing project information to residents/businesses within a quarter mile of the project and to key stakeholders/and interested parties. The County's project Web site was launched and city Web sites included project information for residents. Press releases were issued to regional and local media. Based on input from the public meetings the project was refined in the Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) to address comments received during the Draft Environmental Impact Report phase.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report was released for a 45 day public review period on November 3, 2010. The document was available until December 17, 2010. A public meeting regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Report was held on November 18, 2010.
After the public review period, responses to comments were prepared and the final environmental document submitted to the County for certification. The County Planning Commission held a public meeting on the Final EIR April 27, 2011. The Orange County Board of Supervisors held a public meeting on May 24, 2011 and after receiving public testimony approved the preferred project alignment and certified the environmental document.
Where can I review a copy of the Environmental Impact Report?
The Environmental Impact Report can be reviewed under the environmental section of this web site.
What will the La Pata Gap Closure involve?
"gap" between the two roadway segments and provide an essential link in the local roadway network. The existing three-lane, 1.8-mile segment of La Pata south of Ortega Highway will include two additional lanes for a total of five lanes, including a climbing lane for vehicles bound for the landfill site. From the end of the existing portion of La Pata south to Calle Saluda, a distance of about two miles, La Pata and Camino Del Rio will be a new four lane facility.. The La Pata Avenue project is designed to significantly ease local traffic congestion while minimizing environmental impacts on the area's high quality of life. The project also provides an alternative emergency access route for adjacent residential areas..
Why is this project important?
The project is needed to eliminate an existing gap in the County arterial highway system and establish a connection between Ortega Highway to the north and Avenida Vista Hermosa and Avenida Pico to the south. These improvements complete the circulation plans included in both the Talega and Forster Ranch Specific Plans. The project will also provide direct local connections between the communities of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo and Ladera along with Los Flores Ranch. These communities will be able to avoid the congested I-5 freeway and enjoy improved access to local amenities including schools, shopping, parks and other recreational facilities. In addition, the completion of the project will improve mobility for these communities especially in time of local health and safety emergencies or need for evacuation.
Specific transportation issues that exist within this area of Southern Orange County include:
Lack of north-south connectivity of the arterial roadway system
No arterial highways connecting the County and the City of San Juan Capistrano to the City of San Clemente (limiting motorists to the I-5 Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway to travel to or from the city)
Existing and projected increased congestion on the I-5
Currently, there is no parallel north-south route to the I-5, in case of emergencies
Limited transit service
Can you give me a description of the Camino Del Rio Extension?
The Camino Del Rio extension is a project planned by the City of San Clemente.
Can you give me a description of the La Pata Gap Closure project?
The project will provide additional mobility options between San Clemente and the communities to the west including San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Los Flores and Rancho Santa Margarita.
The La Pata Avenue Gap Closure's northern point starts just 900 feet south of Ortega Highway at its intersection with Antonio Parkway and La Pata Avenue (a current project will provide improvements from the Ortega/La Pata intersection to 900 feet south of the intersection). From this point, La Pata Avenue continues south as an existing three lane paved roadway through unincorporated territory, just east of the City of San Juan Capistrano. Two new lanes will be added to this section of roadway, for a total of five lanes. This roughly 1.8-mile existing section of La Pata Avenue ends at the County's Prima Deshecha Landfill site. From that point, a new four-lane La Pata Avenue would extend south just east of the existing Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric power-line corridor.
The project remains east of the power-line facilities as it enters San Clemente's northern City limits. As the project nears the Talega residential development, the roadway curves west away from the Talega development as it crosses the power-line corridor. Shortly after it crosses the power-line corridor, it turns south to connect with existing La Pata Avenue at Calle Saluda in San Clemente. A new meandering eight foot wide multi-purpose trail is planned for the eastern side of La Pata between Calle Saluda and Vista Montana. Existing trail connections will be maintained.
What are the next steps and timelines?
The current schedule is as follows:
The current project design efforts are expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The County is concurrently proceeding with completing the Federal environmental documentation that would enable receipt of any federal funding should it become available.
Construction is anticipated to begin Spring/Summer 2013, dependent upon funding availability.
Construction is anticipated to be complete in early 2015
What is the relationship with the La Pata Gap Closure and the Foothill Transportation Corridor-South (FTC-South)?
There is no direct relationship between the FTC-South and La Pata Gap Closure. These facilities serve different travel needs. The FTC south primarily serves regional traffic while the La Pata Avenue project will primarily serve traffic between the local communities.
How would construction be funded?
The project construction costs are estimated at roughly $70 million. Construction of the project is dependent on the availability of funds. The proposed funding is anticipated to come from a variety of sources including local, regional and developer funding. As part of Rancho Mission Viejo's development and the Talega development plans, some developer funding is obligated to the project. The current funding plan is
City/Developer Fees……………………….$10 million
County /Developer Fees…………………...$25 million
State (CMIA) funds……………………….$15 million
Orange County Renewed Measure M……..$10 million*
*The County has secured $10 million from Measure M and is seeking an additional $10 million allocation during the next call for project scheduled for the later part of 2012.
There are a number of ways you can receive information on the project. You can contact the County Project Manager, Mr. Harry Persaud via e-mail, regular mail or by phone through the information provided below. Information is also available on the following web sites, which are periodically updated with important information.
Harry Persaud - Project Manager
County of Orange
300 North Flower, 5th Flr Santa Ana, CA. 92703-5000