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405 Toll Lane Vote

405 Toll Lane Vote

ORANGE (CNS) - Orange County Transportation Authority Board members  voted today to add a new lane in each direction to the San Diego (405) Freeway  between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles County line in Seal Beach, avoiding the  issue of toll lanes that has drawn outcries from several north county cities.

The OCTA board voted 12-4 to add a new lane in both directions from  Euclid Street to the San Gabriel (605) Freeway, with board members Todd  Spitzer, Matt Harper, John Moorlach and Gary Miller dissenting. Board member  Janet Nguyen abstained, and colleague Patricia Bates was absent.

The vote reaffirms the board's decision in October 2012 to add two free  lanes at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion paid for by Measure M, a half-cent  sales tax approved by voters for transportation improvements.

The stretch of highway is the busiest in the country, handling up to  about 379,000 vehicles on busy days, based on a 2011 survey.

Caltrans officials have been pressuring OCTA leaders to add toll lanes  to the San Diego Freeway, because carpool lane traffic is too slow during peak  hours. Caltrans has the final say in whether toll lanes are added to the  freeway.

Part of the pressure was coming from federal officials who have  threatened to withdraw funding in any state where the average speed in those  lanes dips below 45 mph at least 90 percent of the time.

Tolls from the Corona del Mar (73) Freeway in Costa Mesa to the San  Gabriel (605) Freeway were estimated at $5 southbound and $6 northbound.

An environmental report on the free lanes is expected to be done by  summer, with construction beginning in 2015, said OCTA spokesman Ted Nguyen.  Construction is expected to be done by 2020, he said.

 

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