interchange from the air (copy)

A bird's eye view of the new carpool connectors between the 605 and 405 freeways. With that project done, Caltrans is looking at a 405 expansion in Orange County.

Preliminary estimates of express lane toll revenue on an expanded Interstate 405 were presented this week to the Orange County Transportation Authority’s board, including several options for pricing.

The express lanes are expected to be part of the next phase of expanding the 405 from the exchange with Interstate 605 at the Los Angeles County border south to Jamboree Road and John Wayne Airport. In addition to the new express lane, the carpool lane will be added to the toll package, and another traffic lane will be added from Euclid Street in Fountain Valley to the 605.

Long Beach officials say the project has provided minimal mitigation to the city, where the expanded freeway will dump traffic on streets and freeways with no plans for expansion. Those protests are still pending.

According to the report released this week, the design-build contractor award is slated for this November, with a notice to proceed issued in the spring of 2017. Financing hasn’t been finalized, and the revenue from tolls is expected to help pay for the project.

Several options were presented to the OCTA board, ranging from free or a 50% discount for all vehicles with more than three passengers (HOV+3) to a full toll all the time for all vehicles with two passengers or less (HOV+2).

Estimates of use in 2025, the first full year the entire toll system is expected to be complete, range from nearly 30 million trips in the express lanes in the least expensive scenario (generating about $28,754,000) to less than 23 million trips and $56,439,000 in revenue for the most restrictive toll policy.

No decisions were made at Monday’s meeting. For more information, go to www.octa.net under the projects and programs tab.

Information also is available by calling (888) 400-8994 or emailing 405project@octa.net.

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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