The daily traffic tie-up at the interchange of the Riverside and Orange freeways will be untangled somewhat starting today. A lane that had been closed for major road improvements is reopening.
Commuters have endured delays at the interchange for the past year as a lane was blocked off to complete road enhancements such as new paving, wider lanes and additional lighting.
"Now, there will be a lot smoother sailing at that intersection," said Rose Orern, a Caltrans spokeswoman.
Completion of the interchange wraps up the toughest part of a $180-million upgrade to ease congestion on the Riverside Freeway, officials said.
The huge project, which began in 1997, also includes adding a carpool lane along an 11 1/2-mile stretch between Orange and Los Angeles counties. All construction is expected to be completed by 2000.
"So far, the construction is moving ahead of schedule," said John Standiford, spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority.
Construction at the Riverside-Orange freeway interchange, for example, was finished two months before the deadline, he said.
The Riverside Freeway project is the latest in a series of massive improvements begun or announced recently.
Earlier this week, an $82-million construction project was announced to free up congestion at the intersection of the San Diego and Corona del Mar freeways in Costa Mesa. And the recent completion of the expansion to the El Toro "Y"--where the San Diego and Santa Ana freeways merge--helped to relieve major congestion in south Orange County.