Preliminary phase plans for improvements to the 55 Freeway between the 5 and 91 have been introduced to the public, via presentations to city councils and a community meeting held Oct. 16.
The improvements include adding another lane in both directions between the 5 and the 22, lengthening the Lincoln off-ramp and adding capacity to the 4th St. and Katella off-ramps. The work will be done within the existing footprint of the freeway. Additional lanes will be added by reducing the size of the inside shoulder. The park and ride facility will be relocated off of Tustin St. north of Lincoln.
The completion date is an estimated 2035, although it could be sooner if funding is secured.
The phase currently under review is an environmental assessment, slated to be completed in early 2020. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) used funds collected from the county’s Measure M one-half-cent sales tax to finance this phase. The agency’s goal is to have the improvement project “shelf-ready” when funds become available. The projected $200 million cost is expected to be paid with state and/or federal funds, although a specific source has not been identified. Projects that have cleared the environmental hurdle get priority when transportation funding is distributed.
The expansion is needed because current traffic volume, 257,000 vehicles per day, is expected to increase to 281,000 per day by 2055. With the slated improvements, however, the 55 will be able to handle 297,000 vehicles per day in 2055.
55 Freeway improvements moving ahead in the slow lane
Planned 55 Freeway improvements include a longer off-ramp for traffic exiting to Lincoln and Tustin.