A major stretch of southbound Interstate 5 will close Friday evening and remain blocked through the weekend to make way for a bridge repair project, prompting warnings for motorists to avoid the area and for people traveling to the airport to plan ahead and leave early.
The southbound freeway will be closed at Interstate 8 through the downtown and Balboa Park areas beginning at 9 p.m. Friday and continuing through 5 a.m. Monday so Caltrans crews can repair the bridge deck over state Route 163.
Southbound motorists will be diverted onto the eastbound 8 Freeway, then south on either SR-163 or Interstate 805, depending on the driver's destination.
At least one lane of southbound I-5 will remain accessible from on- ramps south of I-8 for limited local and airport traffic, according to Caltrans San Diego.
Drivers headed to San Diego International Airport were advised to take SR-163 south and follow signs to the airport.
The airport authority advised travelers to allow more than two hours before their flight departs to account for potential traffic congestion and delays and to take the airport's free all-electric shuttle from the Old Town Transit Center, or use the MTS 992 bus from the Santa Fe Transit Station.
(Photo reporting partner 10News)