405 Freeway's new express lanes open in Orange County as part of $2.16 billion project

Jaysha Patel Image
Friday, December 1, 2023
405 Freeway's new express lanes open in Orange County
Orange County Transportation Authority officials are celebrating the opening of express lanes on the stretch of 405 from Costa Mesa to the 605 Freeway.

After nearly six years of construction, express lanes opened Friday on the 405 Freeway between Costa Mesa and south Los Angeles County, promoting a faster ride for people willing to pay the toll.

The $2.16 billion project, which began in 2018, added one new lane in each direction as well as express lanes between state Route 73 and 605 Freeway, a first for Orange County freeways. The project also included upgrades to streets and on- and off-ramps through the cities affected. Crews also reconstructed 18 bridges, some of which include new sidewalks and bike lanes.

The freeway is used by about 370,000 vehicles each day, making it one of the most-traveled in the nation, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority. The project will improve travel times, officials said.

The lanes will utilize electronic tolling to keep traffic flowing and there will be no cash payments or toll booths. FasTrak transponders will be required for customers to use the express lanes.

For drivers who already have an existing transponder and active account from any toll agency in California, there's nothing more needed to use the new lanes, according to the Transportation Authority.

The toll will vary depending on congestion and the time of day. Carpools with two people can use the lanes for free during non-peak hours for the next three years, but tolls will be required during peak hours.

City News Service contributed to this report.