Although construction isn't set to start until at least 2013, Fountain Valley is already gearing up for its portion of a $600 million project that would expand the 405 freeway between Euclid street and the I-605 interchange.
There are three potential expansion options on the table. The first would add one general purpose lane in each direction, the second would add two general purpose lanes in each direction, and the third would add one general purpose lane and one toll lane in each direction. All three options include extensive improvements to all three Fountain Valley interchanges.
Ennvironmental studies are still being completed, and once they are, public meetings will be held in Westminster, Costa Mesa and Rossmoor. City officials in Fountain Valley have yet to take an official position on which option the city prefers, but each option has similar benefits for Fountain Valley because increased freeway capacity means fewer drivers flooding the city's arterial streets to avoid being stuck in traffic.
"The big thing for us is capacity and getting the regional traffic through here," Public Works Director Mark Lewis said. "Because the 405 is so capacity-starved, people hop off and use our streets to get through. It's not like traffic's going to go away, but we'll feel a little more ease."
That ease will, of course, come with a price, as the project is expected to take three or four years to complete, and will require that all three of Fountain Valley's freeway overpasses be torn down and rebuilt.
"We're going to feel it," Lewis said. "It's going to be brutal. There will be inconveniences, and people will feel it. The world's not going to end, but people will feel it."