Orange County Transportation Authority


San Diego Freeway (I-405) Improvement Project

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The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in cooperation with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), is proposing to widen the San Diego Freeway (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. The I-405 Improvement Project is partially funded by Measure M Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.

Notice of Determination & Record of Decision Now Available
Caltrans, as assigned by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has prepared a joint Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project. Caltrans is the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). OCTA is the responsible agency and the project sponsor. 

The Notice of Determination (NOD) was filed with the State Clearinghouse on June 17, 2015 in compliance with Section 21108 and 21152 of the Public Resources Code. The NOD approves Alternative 3 as the Selected Alternative, the alternative to move forward for design and construction. This is in accordance of CEQA, which is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.

The NOD is available online at:

The Record of Decision (ROD) was developed pursuant to 40 CFR 1505.2 and 23 CFR 771. 127. The ROD has been signed by the Caltrans District 12 Director on May 15, 2015 and approves Alternative 3 as the Selected Alternative, the alternative to move forward for design and construction. This is in accordance with NEPA, which requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.

The ROD is available online at:

OCTA Board Voted to Lead Full I-405 Project
The Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors will maintain local control of the I-405 Improvement Project after voting on April 27, 2015 to take the lead on implementing both the general-purpose lane promised in Measure M and the express lanes, which will speed up travel for everyone in the corridor. The board’s vote means that OCTA will take the lead on implementing the I-405 Express Lanes project between SR-73 and I-605 in addition to adding one general-purpose lane in each direction from Euclid Street to I-605.

OCTA staff will return to the board with a draft I-405 Express Lanes toll policy, a financing plan, and a traffic and revenue study will be performed to help determine how the I-405 Express Lanes will operate. In addition, the board’s action will result in any excess toll revenue remaining in the I-405 corridor to be spent on local transportation improvement projects. The Board’s action comes after Caltrans was able to secure $82 million to begin implementation of the express lanes. The express lanes had previously been planned as a second phase of the project after OCTA added one regular lane in each direction, as promised to voters in Measure M.

The Measure M project, being constructed in cooperation with Caltrans, will be funded by a combination of local, state and federal funds, with the express lane portion of the project financed and paid for by those who choose to pay a toll and use the I-405 Express Lanes.

The I-405 Express Lanes will be two lanes in each direction and the intent is that carpools of two or more will remain free for a minimum of three years, pending the results of a comprehensive traffic and revenue study. Adding the I-405 Express Lanes benefits all people who use the I-405. In 2040, it’s expected to take 29 minutes to travel during rush hour from SR-73 to I-605 in the general-purpose lanes. That commute can be reduced to 13 minutes if a driver chooses to take the Express Lanes. Without the Express Lanes, the commute in the general-purpose lanes would nearly double and take almost an hour to travel the same stretch.

Caltrans’ Preferred Alternative Recommendation
On July 24, 2014, Caltrans recommended Alternative 3 as the Preferred Alternative. Alternative 3 includes Measure M2 (M2) Project K as approved by the voters, which adds one general purpose (GP) lane in each direction on the I-405 from Euclid Street to the I-605 interchange and adds an express lane in each direction on I-405 from SR-73 to SR-22. The express lane would be combined with the existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and these would be converted to express lanes providing two express lanes in each direction on I-405 between SR-73 and I-605. The westbound HOV connector from SR-22 to I-405 would also be operated as a express lane.

I-405 Schedule
There are several short-term and long-term steps that will be taken by OCTA staff, many of which require Board action.



Board Action

Record of Decision

May 2015


Authorization to acquire ROW

May 2015


Award construction management contract

May 2015


Amend consultant agreements

Mid 2015


Obtain CTC approval of Project

Late 2015


Shortlist DB teams and release DB draft request for proposals (RFP)

Late 2015


Develop toll policy options



Develop investment grade T&R study



Develop financing plan, including pursuing TIFIA loan



Develop operating toll agreement with state



Release DB RFP

Early 2016


DB award

Late 2016


Secure financing



DB notice to proceed

Early 2017


Design and build Project




Christina Byrne

Project Contact

Christina Byrne
Manager of Community Outreach
(714) 560-5717