(57) Freeway from the Garden Grove (22) Freeway to Coast Highway
along the Santa Ana River channel. While local officials are
skeptical that an extension from the San Diego (405) Freeway to the
coast would ever be built, they're still wary of the plan.
Costa Mesa is the only city to agree that an extension of the 57
Freeway is even worth studying, but city officials would not support
building beyond the 405 Freeway, City Manager Allan Roeder said.
The proposed extension might require multi-level interchanges to
connect it to the 405 Freeway, which would cause problems for the
nearby Mesa Verde neighborhood, he said.
Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor is straightforward in his
opposition to the idea.
"I most definitely do not want to see the 57 go south of the 405,"
he said. "That would have such a negative impact on the quality of
life of Costa Mesa residents, and I don't think they'd put up with
Neither, apparently, would residents of neighboring cities.
Huntington Beach officials have come out against the plan to bring
the 57 Freeway into their city, because they think it will dump
unwanted traffic on them while also making it easier for people to
leave the city to shop.
Opposition also would come from Newport Beach, though it is not
included in the transportation authority's project-study area, and
none of the traffic improvements would be built there.
Newport also resisted an earlier plan to extend the 55 Freeway to
Coast Highway, an idea that may get new traction.
Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell, who chairs the
transportation authority's board, said he wants to move forward with
an in-depth study of the possible transportation fixes. That study
should include an extension of the 55 Freeway because Costa Mesa
officials want it considered, Campbell said.
Other elements of the transportation authority's plans include
widening the 55 Freeway, which would probably worsen congestion at
the freeway's existing end at 19th Street and Newport Boulevard.
The transportation authority is collecting public input on its
proposals, and the board will vote in March whether to proceed with a
year-long detailed study that would yield a comprehensive plan.
But what kind of improvements can be built will also hinge on
funding, and to that end the board is considering a ballot proposal
to extend Measure M, the half-cent sales tax that expires in 2011.
Local officials know better than to expect much state or federal
funding, Campbell said.
"[The studies] may come up with the best engineering solutions in
the world, but right now there's no money to do it," Campbell said.
"I think Orange County's going to have to take matters into their own
hands with an extension of Measure M."
For more information, visit http://www.octa.net online.
* ALICIA ROBINSON covers government and politics. She may be
reached at (714) 966-4626 or by e-mail at alicia.robinson