• Los Angeles

The I-405 Improvement Project and the Future of Orange County

The Interstate 405 Improvement Project has officially kicked off.

Construction has begun to widen the San Diego freeway and ease congestion between Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles County line, restriping portions of the freeway and setting up concrete barriers for tree removals and grading. Paving operations and bridge demolition activities are slated to begin later this year.

The I-405 project will add one regular lane in each direction and two express lanes, creating one new express lane and converting the existing carpool lane. Improvements are scheduled to take place on the exit ramps and overhead bridges as well, furthering a smoother navigation across the interstate.

According to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), it approved a $629 million federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan, the final financing needed in order to secure the $1.9 billion expenditure. As a result, Orange County taxpayers are estimated to save $300 million in interest costs. The remaining funding for the project stems from a combination of local, state, and federal funding, as well as the tolls drivers will incur when utilizing the 405 Express Lanes. Orange County’s Measure M, a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, allocates $1.1 billion towards the project, while federal and state funds contribute a collective $135.3 million.

By the time the construction is completed in 2024, it is projected that a 16-mile commute will be reduced to a 29-minute drive for over 370,000 daily commuters. By 2040, we might be in flying cars or get beamed up by Scotty.

How may the improvements affect commercial real estate in the area?

“The next six years of construction are going to be challenging, but for residents, businesses and employees already in the area, the improved travel time on the 405 should be a positive long-term gain,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Eric Paulsen, Managing Principal for Orange County and the Inland Empire. “For those who are currently based elsewhere, the reduced drive times should make commuting to Orange County a continuing, if not more, viable option for relocation here.”

For more information, click here to view the I-405 Improvement Project infographic by Cushman & Wakefield Research.

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