The OC Go freeway program includes 30 project segments that will remedy traffic chokepoints and relieve congestion on Orange County freeways. To date, 13 freeway segments have been completed and four more were under construction during 2021.
I-405 Improvement Project
This $2 billion project will improve 16 miles of the I‐405 in both directions between SR-73 and I-605 through the cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Westminster. The project will add one general purpose lane in each direction between Euclid Street and I-605 and make improvements to freeway entrances, exits and bridges. Also, the project will add the 405 Express Lanes, incorporating the existing carpool lanes and a new lane in each direction between SR-73 and I-605. The general purpose lane portion of the project is funded by OC Go with a combination of local, state and federal funds. The 405 Express Lanes are separately funded and will be paid for by those who choose to pay a toll and use them.
During 2021, OCTA continued significant work on replacing and reconstructing street crossings with wider bridges along the project corridor. The Talbert Avenue (April 2021), Edwards Street (September 2021) and Edinger Avenue (December 2021) bridges fully opened to traffic. These are one-stage bridges, which means they were closed to traffic during reconstruction. In addition, the Magnolia Street bridge was fully completed and opened to traffic in May 2021. This was the first two-stage bridge to be completed, which means that traffic was maintained on the remaining portion of the bridge while one half of the new bridge was reconstructed. Of the 18 total bridge replacements, 11 bridges are under construction and seven have been completed.
As of December 2021, the project was nearly 70 percent complete and is anticipated to be finished in 2023.
I-5 (SR-73 to El Toro Road) Widening Project
From SR-73 to El Toro Road, OCTA and Caltrans are working together to implement the I-5 Widening Project to address traffic volume, which is anticipated to increase 25 percent by 2045.
Located adjacent to the cities of Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo, the $577 million freeway improvement project is being built in three segments and includes numerous roadway, structural and operational improvements. Construction on all three segments is underway, with the first segment anticipated to be completed in 2023.
Every trip begins with a local street or road. Keeping them in good shape is an important component of OC Go.
In 2021, OCTA distributed $61.1 million in OC Go Local Fair Share funds to cities and the County of Orange to preserve existing streets and roads and to provide other transportation improvements based on the priorities and infrastructure needs determined by local jurisdictions. In addition, the OCTA Board of Directors approved more than $20.1 million for nine projects through the Regional Capacity Program, which funds intersection improvements and other street improvement projects to help reduce congestion.
Driving through multiple cities stopping at red lights can be frustrating and time consuming. OC Go helps synchronize traffic lights across the county to improve the drive quality.
To date, the Regional Traffic Signal Synchronization Program has optimized signal timing throughout Orange County on 3,265 signalized intersections along 838 miles of roadway. It also funds the infrastructure that coordinates the traffic signal systems and the communications pathways needed for future data sharing and connections. Currently, there are 26 projects planned or in progress.
During 2021, OCTA implemented five projects that synchronized 66 signals along 262 miles. The corridors include:
- Brookhurst Street (Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Westminster)
- Imperial Highway/SR-90 (Brea, La Habra, Fullerton, Placentia, Yorba Linda)
- Magnolia Street (Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton, Westminster)
- Main Street (Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana)
- Los Alisos Boulevard Route (Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita)
In May 2021, the OCTA Board of Directors also approved nearly $8.5 million to fund three new synchronization projects:
- Alton Parkway (Irvine, Lake Forest)
- First Street/Bolsa Avenue (Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, County of Orange)
- Portola Parkway/Santa Margarita Parkway (Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita)
As a result of this program, Orange County drivers experience less stop-and-go traffic. This allows them to save money on gas and reduce emissions and greenhouse gases. To date, the program has resulted in:
- 94 traffic signal synchronization corridor projects implemented
- $140.8 million in overall funding awarded by OCTA Board of Directors, including $25.5 million in leveraged external funding
- 12% average travel time savings
- 28% reduction in stops
- 14% average speed improvement
Currently under construction, this public transit option is designed to move residents, employees and visitors through the heart of the county and will be the first modern streetcar in California.
OC Streetcar’s 4.15-mile route will connect to existing rail and bus routes in Orange County and beyond, including the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center that serves Metrolink and Amtrak travelers throughout Southern California.
Major construction activities continued in 2021 with the construction of the Santa Ana River and Westminster Avenue bridges, embedded track, the Maintenance and Storage Facility and utility relocation. In addition, the Fairview Street and Fifth Street grade crossings were completed. Other project activities in 2021 included continued production of the eight vehicles.
Three programs work together to provide efficient, cost-effective transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities.
The Senior Mobility Program fills the gap between local fixed-route buses and ACCESS service by providing transportation services to seniors in 32 cities in Orange County. OCTA and the participating cities contribute to the program. The Senior Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Program supplements existing countywide transportation for non-emergency medical trips. The Fare Stabilization Program reduces fares for bus and ACCESS paratransit rides for seniors and persons with disabilities. In 2021, more than $11.5 million was provided for these programs under OC Go.
Each day, commuters and other travelers use convenient Metrolink trains to get to work or other destinations within Orange County or the adjoining counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.
Orange County has 12 Metrolink stations served by three lines – Orange County (OC) Line, Inland Empire Orange County (IEOC) Line, and 91/Perris Valley (91/PV) Line. Metrolink service relies on an operating subsidy, which OCTA funds through OC Go. As a result of the pandemic and related stay-at-home orders issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Metrolink ridership was impacted, resulting in some service reduction. To protect riders and Metrolink employees, Metrolink enhanced safety protocols by:
- Cleaning and disinfection of trains with an electrostatic sprayer throughout the day
- Deep cleaning trains twice a day
- Installing new state-of-the-art antimicrobial air filters on all trains
- Developing a digital tool to gauge train capacity
OC Go also provides funding for rail line and station improvements. In 2021, construction began at the Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station to add a second main track and passenger platform, extend the existing passenger platform and install various amenities to improve the passenger experience.
The Environmental Cleanup Program (ECP) uses OC Go funds for local projects that clean transportation-related pollutants from Orange County’s waterways.
In August 2021, the OCTA Board of Directors approved $2.7 million to fund ten water quality improvement projects. Since 2011, nearly $58 million has been awarded for 221 projects from all 34 cities and the County of Orange. Through these projects, it is estimated that the equivalent of nearly 105 football fields one foot deep in trash has been captured.