Motorists frequently experience traffic congestion on the I-5 freeway between SR-55 and SR-57 and research indicates that delays likely will increase. According to recent studies, 390,000 motorists travel this route every day. By 2030, that daily number is expected to rise to 464,000 – an increase of 19 percent.
Fortunately, relief is on the way. Caltrans, in partnership with OCTA, is proposing to add a second carpool lane in each direction to relieve traffic congestion, alleviate bottlenecks and improve traffic operations on this corridor within the cities of Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin. The project also includes removing the I-5/Main Street HOV on- and off-ramps.
Construction Costs: $42.5 million
Current Project Phase
The project is in the environmental review phase. Caltrans is the lead agency and is responsible for approving a proposed preferred alternative; OCTA is the sponsoring agency. The environmental review process is mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In general, the purpose of the environmental review process is to identify the project’s potential environmental impacts, and to develop measures to avoid, minimize and/or mitigate these impacts.
The environmental review is nearly complete. Draft environmental documents were released for public review in August 2014, and a public hearing was held on Sept. 2, 2014. After the public review period closed, responses to comments were prepared, and Caltrans recommended a preferred alternative as a part of the final environmental document, which is anticipated to be approved in spring 2015. All publicly available environmental documents can be found at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist12/I-5HOV/index.htm.
CEQA and NEPA Resources
For more information on CEQA and NEPA, please visit the following websites:
Next up is the Final Design phase, which involves surveying and collecting data on items such as:
- Existing road and bridge conditions;
- Traffic volumes;
- The ratio of cars to trucks and buses;
- Crash statistics;
- Terrain and soil properties;
- Drainage capabilities;
- Utilities that will be affected; and
- Possible future development in the area.
Experts including transportation planners, engineers, environmentalists, landscape architects, geologists and others will use the data to identify trends to determine how best to build the project for improved travel conditions and minimal environmental effects.
Anticipated Project Schedule
As the project moves into the final design and construction phases, we will continue to keep residents, businesses and community leaders informed. We are actively meeting with key groups, homeowners associations and businesses in the area. Please contact us to schedule a presentation or for additional project information.