I-5/La Novia Roundabout is ASCE Region 9 Transportation Project of the Year

Michael Baker’s I-5/La Novia Roundabout project has been recognized by ASCE Region 9 as the 2018 Transportation Project of the Year. 

For nearly 20 years, the awkward, offset I-5 freeway off-ramp intersection in the City of San Juan Capistrano was the subject of many alternative improvement concepts, none of which had been realized. The existing stop-sign-controlled intersection was regularly congested and created confusion among commuters, leading to an above average number of traffic incidents.

Through an extensive and collaborative process with numerous project stakeholders, a roundabout intersection was determined to have the highest benefit-to-cost ratio, the least amount of right-of-way, most efficient operation, lowest cost to construct and maintain, and superior safety attributes compared to signalized intersections. Frequent public engagement also helped overcome initial resistance to pave the way for successful project execution.

In partnership with the City and Caltrans, Michael Baker served as the lead highway design and traffic consultant on the project and prepared plans, specifications, estimates and delivered environmental studies and engineering services to support the realignment of the northbound I-5 exit and entrance ramps, Valle Road and La Novia Avenue to eliminate the existing offset, stop-sign-controlled intersection.

The project resulted in the first roundabout on the state highway system in Orange County. Additionally, the I-5/La Novia Roundabout was the first to be formally analyzed and approved through the Intersection Control Evaluation (ICE) process in Caltrans – District 12. The I-5/La Novia ICE documentation that we prepared has been used by Caltrans Headquarters as an example for subsequent ICE processes conducted across the state.

To date, the I-5/La Novia Roundabout project has received the following recognition:

  • 2018 ACEC Engineering Excellence National Recognition Award
  • 2018 ACEC California Engineering Excellence Honor Award
  • 2018 ASCE Orange County Roadway and Highway Project of the Year
  • 2018 Orange County Engineering Council Engineering Achievement Award
  • 2017 APWA Southern California Chapter B.E.S.T. Traffic, Mobility and Beautification Project of the Year (<50,000)