Many drivers can now expect a quicker commute as new express lanes open on the 405 Freeway from Costa Mesa to the 605 Freeway.
Orange County Transportation Authority officially opened the lanes Friday morning.
The $2.16 billion project, which began in 2018, added one new lane in each direction as well as express lanes between state Route 73 and the San Gabriel River Freeway. The project also included upgrades to streets and on- and off ramps through the cities effected.
"The first person that used the fast lane this morning was somebody coming from LA to work here in Orange County," said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. "So we wanna make sure that workers and businesses have efficient way to get their people to work and to get customers into their stores so that live is better."
Business owners living in the Vietnamese community just off the 405 have already begun to feel the benefit of extra business hitting their stores.
"Little Saigon, the largest Vietnamese community in the world, is right here off of these exits," said Tam Nguyen, OCTA Vice Chairman. "I've spoken to a number of small business owners and they're saying, 'This is great!'"
Crews also reconstructed 18 bridges, some of which include new sidewalks and bike lanes.
The freeway is used by about 370,000 vehicles each day, making it one of the most traveled in the nation, according to the OCTA. The project will hopefully improve travel times, officials said.
The average cost to use the express lanes currently sits around $3, however, during the busiest times like rush hour, drivers can expect to spend up to $11. Veterans, disabled drivers with designated license plates and carpoolers are able to use the lanes free of charge.
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