Ground was broken Thursday on a $581 million project intended to ease congestion on the 5 Freeway between the 73 Freeway and El Toro Road in south Orange County.
The project on 6.5 miles of the freeway will add a lane in each direction and extend a second carpool lane and efforts. It will cover the freeway along Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest and San Juan Capistrano.
Funding for the project will mostly come from Measure M, the half-cent sales tax increase approved in 1990 and renewed in 2006 earmarked for transportation improvements. Some of the funding will also come from state and federal grants.
Officials expect the work to be completed by 2025.
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Part of the project includes improvements and widening of several streets around the freeway, including La Paz Road in Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills, and Avery Parkway in Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel. Workers will also widen the overpass at Los Aliso Boulevard in Lake Forest and Laguna Hills.
"I'm excited to see this highly anticipated project get under way and I'm looking forward to it bringing much-needed congestion relief to all those who travel on the I-5 through South County," said La Habra Councilman Tim Shaw, the chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors.
"This will allow Orange County residents and workers to spend less time in their cars and more time doing the important things in life."