An informal survey of Patch users showed the I-5/Avenida Pico interchange to be one of the most problematic intersections for motorists to navigate--but a big project to improve the crossroads is in the design phases.
"Was a passenger in a car that was rear ended while we were exiting the freeway at Pico-North in the right lane," . "This lane is confusing to many. Also constantly watch folks run the red light. NEVER jump out into that intersection when the light changes!"
Commenter Christine Lampert also criticized the design and signage of the I-5/Pico interchange.
"Driving past the high school on Pico toward the ocean, the recently remodeled left turn lane onto the freeway is only for entering the freeway, but there is no sign stating this until it's too late to merge to the right," she said.
"The solution would be to place a sign back by the high school that states the left lane is 'left turn only onto freeway -- no through traffic,'" Lampert continued. "Also, this can be painted on the road far enough back so that drivers have time to move over. I have seen people stuck in the left turn lane time after time. They make desperate last minute merges to the right and it is dangerous."
City Engineer Bill Cameron said earlier this month the plans for improving the intersections are well underway; environmental documents have been approved, and engineers are designing the final plans.
Cameron said the project could go out to bid as early as late next year or the first half of 2014. The government must acquire two pieces of land to build the new interchange, however, which could cause hangups in the process, Cameron said.
The and west of the I-5 will have to be acquired and demolished. The and and on the other side of the freeway will stay put, though they were under consideration for demolition early in the planning process.
The Pico interchange project is part of a larger plan by the California Department of Transportation to widen six miles of the I-5 from San Juan Capistrano to San Clemente and add carpool lanes--the larger $275-million project is set to start construction at around the same time as the Pico interchange, according the the Orange County Register.