By Karen Brainard
State Route 67 is scheduled to be widened to four lanes between 2021 and 2030, a planner for San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) told the Ramona Community Planning Group at its June 2 meeting.
Heather Adamson, senior regional planner for SANDAG, said the project is estimated to cost $570 million.
In her presentation on SANDAG’s Draft 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), Adamson told those at the meeting that the Route 67 widening project has moved up in ranking — from number 17 to number eight, among 46 highway projects slated for the San Diego region.
Once the widening project is completed, the highway will consist of four lanes along the 16-mile stretch from Mapleview Drive in Lakeside to Dye Road in Ramona.
Adamson said the Route 67 project will be phased in segments that will be determined as they get closer to the construction period.
“I don’t know if we’d start at Mapleview and work our way up or start from Ramona and work our way down,” she said.
When planning group members asked for more specific timing of the project, Adamson said, “Typically we estimate that a construction project will take about six years, depending on design all the way through finished construction.”
Assuming the project would take about three years of actual construction, Adamson said breaking ground would probably occur around 2025.
According to Adamson, SANDAG re-studies the RTP every four years. Planning group member Carl Hickman asked whether the possibility exists that the Route 67 project could drop in ranking.
Adamson said they re-rank projects based on a number of criteria and Route 67 moved up in ranking because evacuation routes and safety considerations were added to the criteria.
“We didn’t consider that last time,” she said.
Adamson added that the ranking could drop depending on evaluation criteria, but she said she highly doubts that the project would be pushed past 2030 based on the support for it.
“The project ranking isn’t everything,” she said. “There’s a lot of political direction that we get as well.”
The $570 million price tag, Adamson said, is based on 2010 dollars and would be equivalent to about $781 million by the year 2030.
Adamson explained the revenue sources: “The $570 million is to be paid out of the regional highway money with the assumption that at least half of it would come from the local sales tax and then half of it would come from either state or federal matching funds. But the assumption is not to use local street and road money for the highway 67 widening.”
Route 67 is only one part of SANDAG’s large 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, which is considered a blueprint for the development of the San Diego region’s transportation system during the next 40 years.
The draft 2050 RTP is designed to maximize transit enhancements, provide express lanes, integrate biking and walking, and promote programs to manage demand and increase efficiency. Also included is the Sustainable Communities Strategy, which seeks to guide the use of land, development of housing and the planning of transportation.
Adamson said the RTP is estimated to cost just under $200 billion, which would equate to $112 billion in 2010 dollars.
The plan would use existing and reasonably expected funding, with most of the money coming from local sources, such as TransNet, the local half-cent sales tax for transportation projects. State and federal money would contribute about 40 percent of the cost.
About $37 billion, or 20 percent of the funding, is targeted for local street improvements, she noted.
Hickman said that means 80 percent of the money will go toward transit, highway, bicycle and toll road projects.
“This is planning on steroids,” he said. “This is massive planning at a huge detail scale. It’s enormous.”
With SANDAG setting up public workshops and hearings around the county to receive input about the draft 2050 Regional Transportation Plan, Hickman asked what SANDAG expects to glean from the workshops.
Adamson said all public comments and ideas will go back to the SANDAG board for consideration.
The closest workshop for Ramonans to attend, she said, will be held Thursday, June 9, at the Sonrise Community Church, 8805 North Magnolia Ave. in Santee.
Information on the draft 2050 RTP is also available on two websites: www.Envision2050sd.com and www.sandag.org.