Trolley project construction forces overnight I-5 closures

SAN DIEGO -- Crews building the Mid-Coast Trolley project will shut down portions of Interstate 5 in the coming weeks as they erect columns to support the expansion of the trolley's blue line from Old Town to University Town Center.

The steel foundations for the columns can only be moved by large equipment that require a lot of room to move. And the only way to accommodate this is to shut down the freeway for entire nights at a time.

On Tuesday evening and into Wednesday's morning commute, the southbound lanes of I-5 will be closed from state Route 52 to La Jolla Village Drive. The same type of work will require additional closures as more columns are erected in the coming weeks.

Even after this is done, the project will be far from over. Four of the 11 miles of new trolley line are elevated and require countless support structures, most of them through University City and the University of California, San Diego campus.

"It's really going to be a fantastic addition to the trolley system, taking people off the freeways," said John Haggerty, director of rail for the San Diego Association of Governments.

The construction is expected to be complete in 2021.