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No Trick: 22 Freeway Link to the 5 to Close

Connector shuts down for a year at midnight on Halloween as part of a widening project.

October 29, 2005|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

Midway through a $495-million widening project on the Garden Grove Freeway, contractors are planning to close a major connector to the southbound Santa Ana Freeway.

The closure begins at midnight Monday and will continue for a year. The roadwork is expected to compound traffic woes through "the Orange Crush," the tangle of interchanges where the Santa Ana, Orange and Garden Grove freeways meet.

The widening job will most directly affect motorists traveling eastbound on the Garden Grove Freeway, said an Orange County Transportation Authority spokesman.

To reach the Santa Ana Freeway, motorists can continue east on the Garden Grove Freeway to the Costa Mesa Freeway, then go south to the Santa Ana Freeway connector in Tustin.

Workers have to close the connector from the eastbound Garden Grove Freeway to the southbound Santa Ana Freeway so it can be demolished.

A new connector will be built and a bridge that spans the Santa Ana Freeway widened, said Mary Ann Wootton, a spokeswoman for Watsonville, Calif.-based Granite Construction Co., the project's main contractor.

The overall project will add carpool and auxiliary lanes in each direction along the 12-mile stretch of the Garden Grove Freeway. Other work includes improved on- and offramps, sound walls, new lighting and landscaping.

The Garden Grove Freeway has had no major improvements since it was built in the mid-1960s, said Michael Litschi, an Orange County Transportation Authority spokesman. Since then, the county's population has grown from 700,000 to more than 3 million residents.

The freeway work will help accommodate the 200,000 motorists who travel the freeway daily. That number is expected to reach 250,000 by 2020, the transportation authority estimates.

Litschi said the project would help speed traffic and remove bottlenecks.

Project funding is coming from Measure M, a half-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax for county transportation projects, and state and federal sources.

Workers broke ground in September 2004.

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