405 Freeway Expansion - Good For OC, Bad For LA County Border? - Fox 2 News Headlines

405 Freeway Expansion - Good For OC, Bad For LA County Border Areas?

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Long Beach officials are prepared to take legal action against an enormous billion-plus dollar 405 expansion in Orange County if measures aren't taken to prevent what they see as a traffic nightmare for the city.

The Orange County Transportation Authority has approved a project to widen the 405 from Costa Mesa north to the LA County Line. The basic plan in the Cal Trans project would be an additional lane for 16 miles in both directions. There is another plan out there that would create two lanes on each side of the freeway. Both lanes could be general purpose lanes or one could be toll. No decisions have been made.

The final environmental impact report will come out sometime in 2014 with construction beginning in 2015 and completion expected by 2020. The cost would be 1.3 to 1.7 Billion dollars. The money is from Measure M tax dollars approved by voters for this sort of project. It's similar to LA's Measure R.

This would widen the freeway in different ways. It's already a very wide freeway in Costa Mesa and narrows as it heads north to Seal Beach.

Joel Zlotnick with OCTA says this project is needed because this stretch of the 405 is one of the most heavily congested freeways in Orange County. He says some 300,000 vehicle trips are made here each day. By 2040, traffic is expected to have increased 30 to 40%.

Dave Rosemon with the City of Long Beach Engineering Department says this is a "recipe for disaster" because the widening ends at their doorstep. The way it's planned now where the freeway crosses into LA County a huge bottleneck will be created. Drivers may choose to head off the freeway onto surface streets. The four major streets that would be affected are PCH, Willow, 7th and 2nd. Right now, he says those streets carry a half a million cars a day. That traffic would be increased he says.

In response OCTA has been in talks with Long Beach officials and did another study on impact, but there is no resolution on how to mitigate the problem. That said, Long Beach has retained legal counsel. And, at this week's Council meeting the City Attorney said all options are on the table.

This the very beginning of what could be a protracted process, but on July 24th a public hearing will be held at Hill Middle School in Long Beach for residents to question OCTA.

CARMAGEDDON-SOUTH? They think so in Long Beach!

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