About 430,000 vehicles travel the San Diego Freeway (I-405) every day. By 2030, the volume is expected to increase by nearly 23 percent—threatening to worsen gridlock and commuter delays.
As part of ongoing efforts to increase freeway capacity and improve congestion along I-405, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Caltrans have embarked on a $1.217 Billion project that will add new lanes, update interchanges, and integrate merging lanes near on- and off-ramps.
A subconsultant on the project, Harris & Associates is responsible for a variety of vital tasks, including: completing quality verification on roadway activities in accordance with contract requirements; coordinating field activities with the design-builder and quality verification inspectors; public relations; and traffic control.
The scope of the project, set to finish in 2023, includes the 16 miles of I-405 between the SR-73 freeway in Costa Mesa to the south and I-605 near the L.A. County line to the north. Improvements will include new bike lanes and sidewalks, new regular and Express Lanes, several interchange reconfigurations, and over 18 new, replaced, and widened bridges.
Harris is working closely with partners on the design-build project to:
- Coordinate among the design-builder’s quality control and quality assurance staff for activity inspection and acceptance
- Coordinate traffic control using Caltrans’ Land Closure System
- Schedule California Highway Patrol for traffic closure support
- Review and approve monthly progress payment requests
- Support the program manager with ongoing activities
- Support the stormwater pollution prevention plan, the maintenance inspection, and task order log
- Support environmental and permit compliance activities
A combination of local, state, and federal funds will support the project, while Express Lane tolls will cover Express Lane improvements.
Beyond the Blueprints
Outreach is an important factor for a project of this size. Harris is supporting OCTA’s public relations team during upcoming and ongoing project activities. Innovative communication tactics have included interactive maps showing planned improvements, a project mobile app featuring key milestones, and a partnership with Waze to capture real-time road closures and user-powered reports.
To help minimize disruptions and frustrations, Harris is also focusing on specialized communications with area businesses. To date:
- More than 1,200 businesses have been contacted
- 60% of businesses signed up to receive notifications about the project
- More than 500 employers are willing to share information with customers
- 8 dedicated street team members met one-to-one with business owners