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Drivers on Interstate 15 may have noticed new trees popping up, as Caltrans is now landscaping the first-opened section of its $1.3 billion I-15 Express Lanes project with a variety of drought-tolerant and native species.

Plantings of Canary Island pines, California pepper trees, and Chinese flame trees began within the past three months along Carmel Mountain Ranch interchanges and on/off ramps. The stretch from Camino del Norte to Rancho Bernardo Road is also being prepped for landscaping, with olive trees planned for the Rancho Bernardo Road loop ramp.

The Chinese flame trees, deciduous and with red-spotted flowers, were selected for Carmel Mountain because they have been in that community for over 25 years, said Stephen Warren, the project’s landscape architect.

The project’s middle segment -- Highway 56 to Centre City Parkway -- has a landscaping budget of over $6.4 million, which pays for plants, hydroseed mixes, mulches, rock, irrigation, labor and more, according to Stacy Keck, a Caltrans spokeswoman.

Other water-wise flora planned for use include: Torrey pines, California sagebrush, California buckwheat, lemonade berry, and Indian Hawthorn.

At the loop ramp near Lake Hodges, which begins landscaping in mid-2010, water-loving plants such as California sycamores and black cottonwood will be used to blend in with the riparian environment, but will be planted strategically to minimize watering.

Landscaping plans for the north (Centre City Parkway to Highway 78) and south (Highway 163 to 56) segments of the project are not yet complete, although the approximate landscaping budgets will be $8 million and $10 million, respectively.

When completed in 2012, the I-15 project will introduce a 20-mile, four-lane express lane facility stretching from Highways 163 to 78. The project began in November 2003. The first portion opened in September 2008.

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Comments

Sibley Sept. 8, 2009 @ 4:59 a.m.

Hi ,

Thanks for writing such an interesting article. It’s really good to know about the real estate and home decoration and renovation in detail. A beautifully groomed lawn and garden are in the dreams of most homeowners and whether their property is spacious or a postage stamp, getting that look they desire is going to require a big investment of time and labor intensive work, so a good alternative is hiring a reliable San Diego Landscaping company. San Diego landscaping company will not only give you more free time and save you from back injury but a well manicured yard can also raise the value of your home.

The landscaping business is a large one and continues to grow, though having your property professionally landscaped can be costly. Anyone with a pickup truck, a few shrubs and a lawn mower can claim to be a landscaping company so you need to use caution.

Thanks, - Sibley

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investor1 Sept. 15, 2009 @ 3:14 a.m.

Drought tolerant ? Look at the picture see the iceplant ? Is it native ? This is the most water guzzling plantings I have every seen . Why dont you go out thier when the sprinklers are on its like a rainshower and most of them have been on during the day.

Lets try colored gravel around the pine trees and drip on the trees . We live in a desert. This is typical no one seems to adjust the contracts to the areas conditions. Pure waste and maintenace nightmare. Las vegas has it right your doing seventy mph down the freeway do you stop to checkout the landscaping ? Do you hire landscapers to work on a freeway and put thier lives at risk to take care of sprinklers and iceplant ? or do you add a dryscape design that satisfies the erosion requirements and looks good and saves lives.

Actions speak louder than words IF there is a water shortage CALTRANS needs to tell the FEDS to stop the waste of water I would rather they landscape the parks instead of the freeways you can at least stop and enjoy it and have lunch with your families safely.

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