ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority has been awarded $140 million in competitive state transportation funding, a major boost to help build the State Route 55 Improvement Project between I-5 and I-405 in central Orange County.
The funding comes from the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which awarded $115 million from the SB1 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program and $25 million from the SBI Local Partnership Competitive Program.
“We are very thankful to the CTC and Caltrans for recognizing the importance of the SR-55 improvement project for Orange County and for the support of so many local elected officials and partners to help OCTA move forward with these vital improvements,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove.
The SR-55 Improvement Project is a critical part of fulfilling the promise of Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax – overwhelming renewed by voters in 2006 – to make improvements to freeways, streets and public transit.
SR-55 is a vital north-to-south freeway that links central Orange County to the coastal region. More than 260,000 vehicles use that stretch of SR-55 every day, and that number is expected to grow to nearly 275,000 vehicles by 2040.
The freeway is also an important route for commercial traffic with an estimated 17,000 daily truck trips. The improvements are expected to save up to 1,500 hours in daily truck travel time, helping improve air quality, as well.
The SR-55 project will add a regular lane and a carpool lane in each direction between I-5 near Santa Ana and Tustin and I-405 near Irvine and Costa Mesa. It will also add auxiliary lanes to help traffic smoothly enter and exit the freeway. The improvements will increase access to job centers, healthcare and educational facilities, South Coast Plaza and John Wayne Airport, among other important destinations for the region.
The project is estimated to cost $474 million with additional funds coming from Measure M, also known as OC Go, and other state and federal funding. It has completed the design phase and construction is expected to begin in 2022. Improvements are estimated to be finished in 2026.
For more information, visit: www.octa.net/sr55.