First bridge on I-405 project opens in Orange County, California


Slater Avenue bridge in Fountain Valley, the first bridge under the $1.9bn (£1.5bn) I-405 Improvement Project has been inaugurated in Orange County, California.

The Slater Avenue bridge was fully demolished last September and was reconstructed in less than a year. It is the first of the 18 bridges to be built, widened ore replaced, as part of the I-405 Improvement Project, which is expected to decrease travel time on I-405 between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles County line.

The freeway is estimated to be used by more than 370,000 vehicles per day.

Considered to be the largest highway project under construction the state, it will include one regular lane in each direction and along with adding a second lane in the centre of the freeway, which, combined with the existing carpool lanes, will create the 405 Express Lanes.

The 405 Express Lanes have been modelled after Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) 91 Express Lanes, solo drivers will now be able to pay a toll to speed up their commute. Initially, the toll policy will allow all three-person carpools to use the 405 Express lanes for free at all times and two-person carpools pay a toll only during rush hour.

The 25km segment of the I-405 is claimed to be one of the most heavily travelled stretches of highway in the country and drivers regularly face severe congestion on regular and carpool lanes.

The I-405 Improvement Project is expected to be completed in 2023 and it is being funded by a combination of local, state and federal funds, including $629m (£516.2m) federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan. The federal loan will taxpayers save nearly $300m (£246m) compared to traditional financing methods.

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) serves 3.1 million residents across 34 cities, through planning, funding and implementing transit and capital projects. OCTA covers freeways and express lanes, bus and rail transit, rideshare, commuter rail and active transportation.


Image: Slater Avenue bridge on I-405 Freeway in Fountain Valley, California. Photo: Courtesy of Orange County Transportation Authority.

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