Orange County Branch Newsletter

April 2015

Transportation Technical Group

I-405 Improvement Project

On March 16, 2015,  Mr. Jeff Mills, Program Manager with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), spoke to 65 transportation professionals and university students at UCI’s University Club, about the proposed Interstate 405 (I-405) Improvement project.  This presentation was hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Orange County Transportation Technical Group, as part of their ongoing series presenting topical projects and programs addressing regional transportation needs.
Today, the I-405 is one of the most congested freeways in Orange County, carrying more than 300,000 vehicle trips in some sections each day.  Traffic volumes on the I-405 are expected to increase significantly and the population is expected to grow 11 percent by 2040.  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in cooperation with OCTA, is proposing to widen I-405 between State Route 73 (SR-73) and Interstate 605 (I-605).  The purpose of the proposed improvement is to improve travel conditions for work, recreation, school, and commerce by increasing freeway capacity, improving traffic and interchange operations, and enhancing road safety to meet state and federal standards.
Mr. Mills discussed the project background, purpose and need, project history, and the development of the project alternatives.  Currently, there are 3 build alternatives:  Alternative 1 -Add 1 general purpose lane, Alternative 2 - add 2 general purpose lanes, and Alternative 3 - Add 1 general purpose and 1 median lane to be combined with the existing high-occupancy vehicle lane and operated as express lanes.  Significant project features include 17 or 18 overcrossing structure replacements plus new widened structures, interchange reconfigurations, auxiliary lane improvements, arterial improvements, and drainage improvements.  The project involves multiple city jurisdictions including Westminster, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Costa Mesa, and Seal Beach.  In addition, the project involves over 40 separate utility owners, multiple Orange County Flood Control facilities, Union Pacific Railroad, Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Navy.
Currently, Caltrans has recommended Alternative 3 as the project preferred alternative.  Mr. Mills discussed the potential methods to deliver the project, which include a phased approach or as a single project pending OCTA Board action.
The design build (DB) contract duration is anticipated to be approximately 5 years at a construction cost ranging from $0.9 to $1.2 Billion.  Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017.

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