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Orange County

91 Freeway Flow Study Is Funded

Orange and Riverside counties pay most of the $3.3 million for an 18-month investigation of how to ease the Santa Ana Canyon traffic.

October 15, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Orange and Riverside counties' transportation agencies will each spend $1.5 million to study alternatives for commuters jammed in traffic on the Riverside Freeway.

The money from the Orange County Transportation Authority was approved Tuesday. The agency that runs Orange County's other toll roads will contribute $300,000 toward the $3.3-million, 18-month study.

The goal is to relieve traffic congestion through the Santa Ana Canyon, the main link between Orange and Riverside counties. Alternatives include carving a tunnel through the Santa Ana Mountains from Interstate 15 near Corona to either the Foothill or Eastern toll roads, or building an elevated roadway above existing railway lines through the canyon.

Other relief could include adding lanes, either for general use or carpools, to the Riverside Freeway, or building light-rail or heavy-rail commuter transit. The study is to begin in March. A consultant hasn't been chosen.

Earlier this year, the Orange County Transportation Authority spent $207.5 million to buy the 10 miles of toll lanes down the middle of the Riverside Freeway from Anaheim to the Riverside County line. The sale eliminated a legal clause that had barred improvements along the free lanes of the road.

The Riverside Freeway carries as many as 300,000 vehicles a day, which often travel at less than 30 miles an hour.

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