I-405 widening in Orange County, Calif., gets underway

Jan. 22, 2018

The $1.9 billion megaproject has been a decade in the making

Construction has begun on a $1.9 billion widening of California’s I-405, the largest project in the history of the Orange County Transportation Authority. The project is expected to run through 2023.

“That corridor is one of the most heavily congested corridors in the nation,” Ryan Chamberlain, director of the Caltrans district that covers Orange County, told the OC Register. “(Driver’s) are sitting in stop-and-go traffic, wasting time looking at tail lights instead of moving to where they need to be.”

The project will add a new lane in each direction for the 16 miles between Euclid Street in Fountain Valley and the I-605 in the Seal Beach area. Existing carpool lanes on that stretch will become express lanes.

Through late winter and spring, crews will be restriping and organizing a traffic management protocol, and by summer demolition and reconstruction of cross bridges will begin, in order for the extra lanes to fit beneath them. At least 18 bridges where city streets cross over the freeway along the corridor will be reconstructed.

About $1.1 billion of the project’s cost will come from Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. The federal government will chip in $45.6 million, while the state will contribute $89.7 million. A low-interest loan for $629 million is to be paid off by revenue from the express lanes.