Caltrans, OCTA to Host Public Hearing on Proposed I-405 Widening
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The Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans will host a public hearing tomorrow to gather comments on the draft environmental document for the planned widening of I–405 between I-5 and SR-55 through Irvine.
The hearing is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. at University Community Park in Irvine.
The alternatives being considered for the 8.5-mile project include a “no-build” option that would keep the freeway as it is, options to add either one or two regular travel lanes in each direction, adding “auxiliary” lanes–which are used at merges, for example, basically to widen the road–or making various operational improvements. Depending on which concept is approved, the total cost to complete the project could range between $225 and $245 million.
OCTA and Caltrans are responding to their own projections that traffic will grow 24 percent by 2050, and they still seem to believe that the way to help “offset” increased traffic congestion is by adding more capacity. The EIR under review claims that the proposed project will not have a significant impact on the environment, despite study after study that shows that increasing highway capacity increases driving, and thus emissions.
The environmental phase of the project is funded by a state grant and Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. The I–405 South improvement project is part of OCTA’s Measure M freeway improvement program. Because the planned improvements are in existing regional transportation plans, they will not be subject to proposed new rules which, in future, will require projects to account for increased vehicle miles traveled under CEQA.
Comments gathered from the public will be included and responded to in the final environmental document. Comments must be submitted by December 15, either in person at the meeting, by email here, or mailed to Scott Shelley, Caltrans District 12, Division of Environmental Analysis, 1750 E. 4th Street, Suite 100, Santa Ana, CA 92705.
The entire document is available at the Caltrans website.