A regional transportation agency on Monday approved a $2.5-million study as a first step toward adding an eastbound lane to alleviate congestion on the Riverside Freeway through the Santa Ana Canyon.
The auxiliary lane will increase from four to five the number of lanes along a five-mile stretch from the highway's intersection with the Foothill-Eastern toll road to the Corona Expressway near Prado Dam.
Orange County Transportation Authority board members said they were funding the environmental impact report as part of a continuing effort to alleviate traffic on the Riverside Freeway. The stretch through the canyon is considered one of its worst chokepoints.
The freeway is regarded as one of the most congested corridors in Southern California.
In addition, the project includes widening existing lanes, shoulders and the median. Construction is expected to begin in 2007. Cost is estimated at nearly $35 million.