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When traffic starts to snarl near our homes

February 06, 2005

Bring up the idea of extending a freeway or building a bridge or

widening a road and the sirens are sure to wail.

It is bad enough that we have to deal with traffic on our daily

commutes, even short jaunts to the store and back. But when that

traffic starts to snarl near our homes, well, we start to snarl, too.

That's exactly what will happen if county and city officials begin

studies or talks on the extensions of the Orange (57) or Costa Mesa

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(55) freeways.

The extension of the 57 freeway has long been talked about. The

highway currently ends at the Garden Grove (22) Freeway near the

infamous Orange Crush, where both of those freeways interlock with

the Santa Ana (5) Freeway and cause a clogged up mess at most hours

of the day.

The idea is that extending the 57 would lighten the load on the 55

and make the Orange Crush a little less squeezed.

But extending the 57 all the way to Pacific Coast Highway, most

likely down the path of the Santa Ana River, would disrupt myriad

homes and business in Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa and

Huntington Beach.

Costa Mesa officials are on record as opposing such an expansion

but say they would be amenable to talks of extending the highway to

the San Diego (405) Freeway.

And to top it off, there is also talk that Costa Mesa city

officials would like to see the 55 extend from its current ending at

19th Street.

That's a powder keg we think city officials should stay far away

from.

The hue and cry from Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach to the

north and Newport Beach to the south would be deafening.

It just doesn't seem worth the effort.

Further, extending the 57 to a route similar to the 55 hardly

makes much financial or even congestion-relieving sense.

Instead, we suggest there must be better ideas out there, and

that's exactly what Orange County Transportation Authority officials

are looking for, along with more money to implement those ideas.

So put on your thinking cap and get those ideas rolling. The

future of transportation and the end of gridlock could rest on your

shoulders.

To get involved log on to http://www.octa.net.

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