The $328 million West Connectors project, one of the largest construction projects in Orange County, will directly connect carpool lanes on freeway 405, 605 and 22.
The project will be split into two phases. The first phase will rebuild the Valley View Street Bridge and reconstruct the southbound 405 to the eastbound 22 connector.
The second phase will provide direct carpool lane connections between the freeway 405 and 605 and reconstruct freeway connections.
“Today is about jobs . . . high-paying jobs created as a result of this public investment,” Will Kempton, chief executive officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) told the Orange County Register, Santa Ana, Calif., at the groundbreaking ceremony.
OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik said more than 5,000 jobs will be created.
“This project in fact does represent everything that President Obama envisioned when he signed off on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA],” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “A lot of what we’re looking to do is to create jobs.”
ARRA is contributing $50 million to the project.
To be completed in 2014, the project is set to begin in August with lane closures scheduled at the end of this year.
“The West County Connector project closes the carpool lane gap along the most heavily traveled areas in the county,” Kempton told the Orange County Register.
After construction, the 327,000 daily commuters will be able to get from freeway to freeway without weaving through general lanes.