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Caltrans > Local Sites > D12 Internet > OC Construction Projects > SR-55 Improvement Project >
SR-55 Backbround and History

SR-55 Background and History

Built in 1931, State Route 55 was once called Route 43 and started at Highway 1 in Newport Beach. From Newport Beach it followed the path of SR-55-through Newport, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Orange and Anaheim, and continued eastward on what is now SR-91 into Riverside County to link with Route 215. In 1959, it received its official designation as State Route 55 and became the Newport Freeway.

As the only North-South corridor traversing Orange County, it quickly became an important gateway to shopping and recreation along the coast. But by 1999--the year that construction began on the latest project--there were 264,000 average daily trips on the SR-55.

To date, the SR-55 has been put through a three-year facelift, at a total cost of $118 million. Now there is a continuous high-occupancy vehicle (HOV), or carpool, lane that links commuters with HOV lanes on the SR-91, the I-5, and (soon) the I-405. In most places, these HOV lanes are barrier-divided from the rest of the highway, and have their own separate onramps and offramps, connecting to HOV lanes on other highways and surface streets.

Once construction nears completion, we will begin to see a significant improvement during most hours of the day. All of these enhancements mean that Orange County's communities and economy can continue to grow and prosper.

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Project Background & History
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SR-55 Frequently Asked Questions

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