TCA third laning on 241TR opened, 4th laning of 73 SJ Hills TR ongoing
By Peter Samuel
Transportation Corridors Agencies who run The Toll Roads in Orange County California celebrated the opening of a third lane each direction at the 241 or Foothill/Eastern Toll Road this week. For about 6km (4 miles) each direction third lanes have been added in the median of the far northern end of the 241 right up to the connector ramps of the interchange with the CA91 freeway.
The widening includes extra highway speed toll lanes through the Windy Ridge Toll Plaza, which now has three open road toll (ORT) lanes each direction.
Two sets of concrete box girder style wildlife bridges over canyons were widened as part of the project, which cost $9.8m. (see pictures nearby)
The third lanes simplify traffic flow at the interchange and the toll point, reducing the lane changes and merges needed, improving safety and making for smoother driving. Windy Ridge Toll Plaza handles about 50k motorists weekdays.
In an associated $59m project Caltrans is building a 10km (6 mile) long 7th lane eastbound on the 91 Freeway from the CA241 tollroad off-ramp to CA71 in Riverside County. The two projects will help smooth the evening flow of traffic from southern Orange County to Riverside County and the socalled Inland Empire via the 91 and the 241.
73 4th laning
Closer to the coast work is under way on 4th laning 10km (6 miles) of the CA73 Jan Joaquin Hills or 73 Toll Road northbound in the median.
This project to ease the morning commute to Irvine and Los Angeles involves three bridge widenings.
The work will make the tollroad a 7-laner but a 4th laning of the southbound roadway is likely before long.
Stimulus funds (ARRA) are being used by Caltrans to resurface the whole length of the 73TR from the I-5 connection at the south to Bonita Canyon/Ford Rd at the north. This work involves grinding the surface of the existing asphalt pavement to allow a bond with the new overlay plus restriping.
Stim-$s are also being used on the 7th laning of CA91. Toll revenues are funding the TCA widening projects.