As the Orange County Transportation Authority breaks ground on the $1.9 billion expansion of Interstate 405, David Sadeghi shares some key facts about the project.
The harsh reality of Los Angeles traffic won't be lost on anyone who has attempted to drive more than half a mile in any direction during peak hours. Residents and visitors alike wouldn't be surprised to learn that LA can lay claim to the worst traffic congestion in the world. But Interstate 405, which stretches from southern Orange County to the San Fernando Valley in LA County, is perhaps the most congested of all the region's travel routes.
Thankfully, however, the Orange County Transportation Authority's (OCTA) $1.9 billion I-405 Improvement Project – which Iteris is proud to be involved in – commences construction this spring.
Road users along the 72-mile stretch will no doubt have to suffer additional disruption during the construction period, but the end result might just be one of the best things to happen to Southern Californian commuters in many years.
Here are the five things you should know about the I-405 Improvement Project:
1. The I-405 is the most heavily traveled freeway in the nation
The I-405 freeway currently experiences severe traffic congestion and conditions over the next couple of decades are only expected to worsen. Built in the 1960s, the freeway carries up to 370,000 vehicles per day, making it the most heavily traveled freeway in the nation, with daily congestion in the regular and carpool lanes during rush hour and on weekends.
Traffic along the corridor is expected to grow approximately 35% by 2040, meaning additional lanes and other improvements are needed to improve traffic flow, accommodate growing traffic demand, relieve congestion and improve overall mobility.
This project is critical to accommodate expected employment, population and housing growth in not only Orange County but throughout Southern California.
2. A 16-mile stretch of highway will be improved
OCTA, in co-operation with The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), will improve 16 miles of the I-405 between State Route 73 (SR-73) in Costa Mesa and Interstate 605 (I-605) near the LA County line. The project includes adding one regular lane in each direction between Euclid Street and the I-605, and making improvements to freeway entrances, exits and bridges.
3. New express lanes will allow solo drivers (for a fee)
The project will add the 405 Express Lanes, incorporating the existing carpool lanes and a new lane in each direction between SR-73 and I-605. The 405 Express Lanes will give solo drivers the choice to speed up their commute for a toll and give options for carpoolers to use the lanes for free. When the express lanes open, two-person carpools will pay a toll only during peak hours and carpools of three or more will be free at all times.
4. Travel times are expected to be reduced by more than 75% by 2040
After improvements to the I-405 are complete, current calculations project that it will take 29 minutes to travel during rush hour from SR-73 to I-605 in the general purpose lanes by 2040. That commute can be reduced to 13 minutes if a driver chooses to take the 405 Express Lanes.
5. Construction will start very soon
Weather permitting, construction activities are anticipated to commence in spring 2018 with restriping portions of the freeway and setting up concrete barrier on the outside of the freeway to protect work areas for activities such as tree removals and grading. More significant construction activities, such as the first paving operations and bridge demolition activities, are anticipated to commence in late summer 2018.
About the Author:
David Sadeghi is digital marketing manager at Iteris.