Function and Design Co-Exist, Build NCC

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The successful Caltrans and SANDAG North Coast Corridor (NCC) program has been advancing critical projects along San Diego’s north-south coastal corridor since its landmark, unanimous adoption by the California Coastal Commission in 2014. Build NCC – the first phase of NCC construction – is a $870 million project that includes $195 million in funding from Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, and comprises unique enhancement features that combine both function and design to reflect the natural beauty of the North Coast Corridor. 

Enhancing transportation without detracting from the region’s iconic charm is one of the primary goals of the North Coast Corridor program. In fact, improvements include distinct design elements and features – for example, the patterns that emulate waves on the retaining walls of the new San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge is a prime example. These features are an intentional part of a broad and comprehensive set of design guidelines for the North Coast Corridor. 

The San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge is an excellent example of how function and structural design can co-exist. The retaining walls on the future San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge have textured sandstone and contoured retaining walls that are designed to look like the scenic coastal bluffs that are quintessentially north coastal San Diego County.


Additionally, the scenic I-5 Vista Point overlook in Encinitas will be redesigned in the shape of a squid, a direct nod to the project’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean. By using earth tones and varying surface textures, the design features allow project components to blend into the environment, illustrating the comprehensive design thought and approach throughout the North Coast Corridor. 

You can review the North Coast Corridor Design Guidelines at

About Build NCC

Build NCC is a collaborative effort between the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, and the United States Department of Transportation. The first phase of construction is in the cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad as part of the North Coast Corridor Program. Build NCC includes extending the existing carpool lane on I-5 in each direction from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to State Route 78, double tracking the rail line and replacing the highway and rail bridges at the San Elijo Lagoon, restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, and constructing nearly seven miles of new bike and pedestrian trails. Construction on Build NCC began in early 2017 and will be complete by 2022.

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