Individuals that work in Orange County or Northern San Diego County, coming from the Inland Empire, are one of the populations who travel frequently on Ortega Highway. As congestion on the narrow highway continues, plans have been made to help alleviate traffic. Recently, there was an improvement project on the 5 Freeway and Ortega Highway interchange to help redirect traffic throughout the area. However, with the new development of 14,000 homes in Rancho Mission Viejo, new concerns regarding growing traffic on Ortega Highway has led transportation planners to consider new alternatives to alleviate congestion.
Those options include: widening I-5 from San Juan Creek Road to Avenida Pico, as well as general operational improvements on Ortega Highway near the 5 Freeway and the Orange County line.
The Orange County Public Works Department is also currently concluding a $127-million-dollar project connecting Ortega Highway and San Juan Capistrano through Calle Saluda to Avenido Pico, in San Clemente’s Talega community. This project is known as the La Pata Avenue Extension and Gap Closure, and is now open.