State Route 74 Lower Ortega Highway Gap Closure Project

State Route 74, also known as Ortega highway, serves as a key connection between Orange and Riverside counties. Caltrans proposed the improvements in order to relieve existing and future traffic congestion on State Route 74. The project would increase the number of lanes from two to four lanes from Calle Entradero to 150 feet east of the city county line. The roadway will also be restriped from 150 feet east of the county line to Reata road. The County of Orange and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) are the sponsoring agencies for this project. 

Background

Currently, within the project limits SR-74 experiences heavy congestion during the a.m. and p.m. peak hours. The forecasted volumes for the year 2035 are 39,000 vehicles (ADT) and 3,446 vehicles during the peak hour for both traffic directions. There would be considerable delays, and the operating speed would be less than 35 mph. The additional lanes will provide the needed capacity to meet the current and future traffic demand and reduce the travel time.

What is Being Planned?

The project proposes to increase the number of lanes on SR-74 from two lanes to four lanes from Calle Entradero (Post Mile [PM] 1.0) to 150 feet (ft.) east of the City/County boundary (PM 1.9) with restriping from 150 ft. east of the City/County boundary to Reata Road (PM 2.1).

The project will provide one additional 12 foot lane in each direction, and a 12 foot painted median at the western portion within the project limits. In addition, paved shoulders will be provided on each side of the roadway to accommodate Class II (striped on-road) bicycle facilities. The shoulder will be eight feet wide from Avenida Siega to the City/County boundary limits to merge with the completed county portion. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

Watch a before-and-after flyover video of the proposed improvements.

Project Benefits

The purpose of this project is to relieve existing and future traffic congestion and improve the flow of traffic on SR-74. It will accommodate planned growth and development in the surrounding areas, remove a chokepoint, and provide improvements consistent with local planning documents.

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Contact the Project Team

For questions, please contact Public Information Officers: Elizabeth Manzo (Elizabeth.Manzo@dot.ca.gov) and Raquel Ortiz (Raquel.Ortiz@dot.ca.gov) or call (657)328-6000.