Connect Three: The West County Connectors Project
Caltrans and OCTA build new HOV connectors for a smoother ride
The high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV) system continues to grow in Districts 7 and 12. The West County Connectors project was initiated by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Caltrans to create a seamless link between HOV lanes on the San Diego Freeway (I-405), the Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22), and the San Gabriel Freeway (I-605).
This project will greatly affect both Los Angeles and Orange county communities by improving the flow of traffic. Additionally, the continuous flow of HOV traffic reduces the amount of vehicles in the mixed-flow lanes which in-turn will reduce congestion and the possibility of accidents. Therefore, carpoolers headed to or from Los Angeles county communities should experience improved commute times and an easier ride.
On the District 7 side the project will eventually traverse, the city of Long Beach, and on District 12’s side Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Garden Grove, and Westminster.
There should be little disruption to traffic during construction. Caltrans and OCTA plan on staging the demolition of connector roads in an effort to minimize the affects to traffic. A traffic management plan which includes the synchronization of street signals should help keep the flow of traffic continuous.
The WCC project entails the construction of two HOV connectors, an additional HOV lane in each direction on I-405 between SR-22 and I-605, construction of soundwalls and retaining walls, and enhanced landscaping. Construction is expected to start on the SR-22/I-405 segment this summer and the I-405/I-605 segment will begin fall 2010.
Atkinson Construction of Foothill, California has been awarded the contract for the SR-22/I-405 Interchange segment. The I-405/I-605 Interchange segment has yet to be awarded.
As the project continues, the westbound SR-22 (7th Street bridge)/northbound I-405 connector will be closed this winter for 12 months. The Seal Beach Boulevard and Valley View Street bridges will be reconstructed but will not be entirely closed to the public, except during demolition.
“This project is a win-win for Los Angeles and Orange counties,” said Miles. “With the collaboration of resources, knowledge, and talent, Caltrans and OCTA have created a project that will improve mobility for motorists in Los Angeles and Orange counties.”
“We are looking forward to seeing this vital transportation project get under way to bring relief to drivers in Orange County and provide much-needed jobs for the construction sector,” said OCTA Chairman Jerry Amante, who is also the Mayor of Tustin. “Creating employment opportunities through infrastructure projects like the West County Connectors is a critical component in rebuilding our economy,” he said.
This $400 million project is funded is by $50 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $150 million from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality fund, and $200 million from the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account.
“This project will stimulate and strengthen the county’s economy and reduce traffic congestion for our commuters who use these freeways each day. The investment in transportation infrastructure is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy,” said District 12 Director Cindy Quon.