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It's Official: Work to Extend La Pata Has Begun

The first phase will add four new lanes, extending La Pata Avenue from just south of Vita Montana to Calle Saluda, according to the Orange County Public Works Department.

Twitter photo of the La Pata groundbreaking.
Twitter photo of the La Pata groundbreaking.

Workers broke ground today on a major road project that officials expect will provide south Orange County an alternative to the Santa Ana (5) Freeway.

In December, Orange County supervisors approved the  $72-million La Pata Extension project.

Sukut Construction will do the work in three phases.

The first phase will add four new lanes, extending La Pata Avenue from just south of Vita Montana to Calle Saluda, according to the Orange County Public Works Department.

The second phase will add a lane in each direction of La Pata between Ortega Highway and just south of Vista Montana, according to Public Works officials. The final phase will extend Camino Del Rio to La Pata.

"The La Pata Extension Project is the most significant county roadway improvement remaining in south Orange County," said Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates. "Breaking ground on this project today fulfills a vision that I have pursued passionately. I am pleased to see construction get underway."

The project also will fill a gap between Ortega Highway to the north and Avenida Vista Hermosa to the south, officials said.

--City News Service


jerry collamer April 08, 2014 at 11:33 AM
The completion of La Pata dates back to the late 50's, when there was a RMVC Plan to develop SJC's, and SC's eastern open spaces, on a scale comparable to LA. It didn't happen. Much later OC's toll roads were introduced, to accomplish the same goal - South County build-out. Enter Irvine Company and RMVC's Master Planned Communities for South County. Toll Roads here, are OC's (developers) answer to not getting additional freeways approved (by Sac) thru South County back in the 70's, to develop-out South County. With the toll roads (TCA) we also got Non Compete Clauses, where roads like La Pata could not be completed until 2012, so as not to compete for riders, with the toll roads. TCA's Non-Compete Agreements ended in 2012. That's why we're seeing La Pata being completed now, along with the I-5 improvements in South County. Prior to 2012, TCA had Caltrans in a legislative box. But after 2012, arterials and freeway improvements could begin again. And they have. Completion of La Pata hinged on RMVC getting their new 14,000 home development east of SJC started, which they have. A 25-year development plan. Money from RMVC is partially funding La Pata's construction, as dictated by the county. From the landfill south to SC, there will be little to no additional commercial real estate development along La Pata as most of it is already here aka Vista Hermosa / Target, and at Ave Pico, where malls already exist. At the intersection of La Pata and Antonio Parkway (SJC's side) development is happening, with more coming to SJC's side of the hill. But on SC's side of La Pata, we're built-out. Back in the 50's, La Pata was to be a major highway thru South County, blanketed on both sides with housing for as far as the eye could see. It didn't happen. Finishing La Pata is a blow to TCA. TCA never wanted La Pata finished, because it takes away their excuse to pave thru the San Mateo Watershed. If the toll road had happened, the 34,000 acres of San Mateo Watershed (what RMVC labels The Reserve), would be built-out. Something any sane SC'er never wants to see happen. And it won't happen, because a toll road extension south of Ortega is a dead issue. North of Ortega Hwy, is anyone's guess. If TCA doesn't build the 241 from Oso to Cow Camp Rd, RMVC will build their own road where the toll road would have been. So either way, north of Ortega - to Oso, there will be a big road servicing RMVC's 14,000 home development. There are many unfinished roads in South County, dead ending into open space, because developers change their minds about where to build. Except for I-5, the roads criss-crossing South County are all developer planned, obviously. To learn why roads go where they go, follow the developer's money to the politicians they buy.
Maura Mikulec April 08, 2014 at 01:16 PM
Jerry, what about our trails?!?! I can not envision the Del Rio part, and other parts. I'm concerned about our trails....SJC's and SC's.
jerry collamer April 08, 2014 at 02:11 PM
Maura, I don't know if the Del Rio extension affects any trails. The trails we hike are not affected by La Pata's completion. I suggested to La Pata's head engineer to consider covering a portion of La Pata between Forester Ranch and Talega, creating a wide land-bridge of open space where La Pata's roadway cuts deep below "grade," offering the perfect spot to cover over. My suggestion fell on deaf ears. Trail maps of San Clemente are available. You'll have to research "your" trails, to see if they're affected. Good luck.
Paula Thomas April 10, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Rob h, I've worked in the building industry for over 23 years... in advertising , but thru those years I remember the NIMBY (not in my back yard) folks. They bought their home then complained about future growth, etc. Yes, San Clemente had a slow growth 'clause many years ago, only allowing so many building permits per year. The sleepy little beach community was quaint and maintained it's growth. Mostly due to the Lusk Company some newer home communities were built then in the mid 80's things slowly changed as did the city of San Clemente decision makers. Thus we now have a beautiful Rancho San Clemente and Talega Communities were built and it is time to allow those that bought and invested in the area to have a better road system as well as uncrowded school system. We will not become LA!
PK June 30, 2014 at 11:25 PM
Yay "The building industry" Well pat yourself on the back there. You and all the developer$. "Build it and they will come". That's the key phrase right there isn't it? Hey- instead of some hill with some trees and some animals on it, we have a Walmart, and even a Target! God bless you! "Progre$$"

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