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    Work on popular OC freeway ramp about to be completed
    • July 5, 2024

    Q. Dear Honk: Could you explain what they are doing with the transition road from the southbound 55 Freeway onto the 73? What was once a smooth, seemingly good road was taken from two lanes to one a long time ago. Workers are clearly undergoing some major project there, and it is now a traffic pinch point. Rarely do you see active work in process. What is the goal of this project? Will it return to two lanes? When do they anticipate completion?

    – Cindy Talbott, Newport Beach

    A. To some in Honkland that ramp is as popular as a Piccolo Pete.

    Readers have asked about the project for years, and Honk finally brings good tidings:

    “The project is expected to be completed by the end of August,” Caltrans spokesman Nathan Abler said in an email. “Once the project is completed, both lanes of the connector will be open.”

    Work began on it in late 2021, with a target completion date of late last year.

    “Caltrans is replacing the steel outside barrier with a concrete barrier, bringing the connector to current safety standards,” Abler said.

    But trouble brewed.

    In February 2023, Caltrans wasn’t happy with a contractor’s work and gave it the heave-ho and then had to go through the process of hiring another one.

    Much of the work has been done at night.

    “Upon completion, the project (calls) for the roadway to provide a smooth driving experience,” said Sheilah Fortenberry, a Caltrans spokeswoman.

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    HONKIN’ UPDATE: Go, residents of Honkland, go!

    Some electronic message boards have been changed along the 405 Express Lanes in Orange County after Honk readers raised issues about them in the ol’ column.

    Destinations are listed on the overhead signs telling drivers how much it costs to exit at certain points.

    Huntington Beach’s Vic Leipzig noticed that if motorists left the northbound tollway for the 405 Freeway at the “Magnolia” exit, they bypassed the 405’s off-ramp for Magnolia Street.

    So “Magnolia” on signs was recently changed to “Beach Blvd.”

    Also going northbound, signs referred to “I-405” as a destination – but what did that mean?

    Drivers were already on the 405 Express Lanes, in the median of the 405 Freeway, for goodness sakes. Honk reader Mike Wick of Lake Forest pointed this out.

    “I-405” was supposed to tell motorists that is where the express lanes ended and they spilled out back onto the freeway itself.

    It now says “Palo Verde,” referring to the next freeway off-ramp one could take after the express lanes drivers end up on the freeway.

    “We heard from Honk readers, we heard from others, that these signs (to some) didn’t make sense,” said Joel Zlotnik, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, which runs the 405 Express Lanes. “(So) we have changed a couple of the sign destinations.”

    All along, he said, officials had expected tweaks would need to be made to the 405 Express Lanes after the tollway opened on Dec. 1.

    To ask Honk questions, reach him at [email protected]. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

    ​ Orange County Register 

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