County officials are extending the deadline to comment on the proposed San Diego (405) Freeway expansion project even as Seal Beach residents and city leaders gear up to fight the proposal.
The Orange County Transportation Authority is now giving people until July 17 to comment on the draft environmental report for the project, which would expand the freeway between the 73 toll road and the San Gabriel (605) Freeway by adding lanes or toll roads.
Last week, more than 200 people gathered at a community meeting in College Park East to discuss ways to fight the project, which would push the freeway closer to their homes.
“Everybody is in agreement that they are against portions of the project,” said Sean Crumby, Seal Beach’s assistant city manager. “It will take away part of their roadway (Almond Avenue), and it will move the utilities further in the neighborhood.”
The proposed freeway improvements include adding a lane in each direction, adding two lanes in each direction, adding a general-purpose lane and a toll lane in each direction that would be managed together with the existing carpool lane, or a no-build alternative. The expansion would put the freeway soundwall farther into Almond Avenue, which flanks the College Park East neighborhood.
The 405 is one of the busiest freeways anywhere, with sections handling upward of 300,000 vehicles per day. Caltrans and the OCTA estimate traffic volume will increase about 35 percent by 2040.
“The purpose [of the project] is for commuters throughout Southern California,
The city’s goal isn’t to stop the project but to steer the county into other options that wouldn’t push the freeway farther into the College Park East neighborhood, he added. Toward that end, the city has hired consultants to comment on the environmental report and to work toward viable alternatives.
“The city of Seal Beach is preparing comments to represent our residents, but it is crucial that residents participate in the process and submit individual comments on the project,” Crumby said in a written statement to residents.
The city has scheduled a second community meeting to discuss the city’s options in dealing with the proposal for 7 p.m. on June 26 at the North Seal Beach Community Center at 3333 St. Cloud Drive.
The EIR is available for review at Seal Beach City Hall, the Mary Wilson Library, the Los Alamitos/Rossmoor Library, or on the OCTA website at www.octa.net/405improvement. The presentation and comment forms are available on the city of Seal Beach website as well at www.sealbeachca.gov.
Members of the public can submit comments on the environmental report to Smita Deshpande, Caltrans District 12, at 2201 Dupont Drive, Suite 200, Irvine, 92612, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.