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Opening of San Elijo Road paves way for new San Marcos thoroughfare

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The old traffic-snarled Questhaven Road, a twisting two-lane stagecoach-era road that wound its way through San Marcos and Escondido, is going the way of roadside motels and drive-in restaurants.

In place of the undivided and what some called dangerous road is the much-anticipated four-lane San Elijo Road, a part of which was completed recently in the southern stretches of San Marcos by homebuilder Brookfield Homes.

The completion of the nearly one-mile stretch of San Elijo Road is one of the first major milestones of a massive $100 million infrastructure improvement plan under way by the cities of San Marcos and Carlsbad.

The plan includes major roads and traffic signals that are currently in the works or expected to start soon in these growing North County cities.

A ceremonial grand opening for the new four-lane San Elijo Road, which is expected to carry 30,000 vehicles daily, was held Oct. 23. Officials from San Marcos, as well as developers and residents of nearby communities, gathered to celebrate the completion of this vital portion of San Elijo Road connecting Rancho Santa Fe Road to the San Elijo Hills housing development.

"We want to acknowledge the city of San Marcos and its leadership, who spearheaded and expedited these improvements to San Elijo Road," said David Poole, vice president of planning and land acquisition at Brookfield Homes. "This is an exciting moment in a long anticipated road project that will provide another major link in the city and connect major residential neighborhoods to the city of San Marcos."

Since Brookfield started construction more than two years ago on the estimated $19 million project, underground utilities have been relocated and the winding road has been realigned. This difficult and expensive endeavor caused some construction-related traffic delays, but its recent completion will help move traffic along, Poole said.

As part of the road construction project, Brookfield also is building a portion of Melrose Drive between San Elijo Road and Rancho Santa Fe Road. That 1 1/4-mile stretch, which started construction in 2002 and includes a bridge, is expected to be finished in December.

Future plans call for San Elijo Road to connect with Twin Oaks Valley Road, providing a major north-south link to the rest of San Marcos and easing traffic on Rancho Santa Fe Road. The eventual connection also eases worries by some city officials of inadequate emergency access.

"City officials, business leaders and residents are all looking forward to the completion of this two-phase project, which will create a second route to central San Marcos and state Route 78 from the city's southern reaches," Poole said.

The entire project is scheduled to be complete by 2006, Poole said. With this opening, Brookfield has completed its portion of San Elijo Road. Other developers and property owners will share the costs for construction of San Elijo Road to south Twin Oaks Valley Road.

With headquarters in Del Mar, Brookfield builds homes throughout San Diego and Riverside counties. At Old Creek Ranch in San Marcos, formerly known as University Commons, Brookfield is currently building Mahogany, a new neighborhood of single-family homes. With sales expected to start in early 2005, Mahogany will offer stately two-story homes with approximately 3,090 square feet to 3,875 square feet. Four floor plans will feature four to five bedrooms and 3.5 to four baths. Brookfield will build 156 homes at Mahogany.

For more information about Brookfield Homes and its new home communities, visit www.brookfieldhomes.com or call 800-664-3182.

Percival is president of Scribe Communications

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