State Route 74 Lower Ortega Highway Widening 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 by widening state route 74 from two to four lanes from calle entradero to 150 ft east of the city county line. The roadway will also be restriped from 150 ft east of the county line to reata road. The county of Orange and OCTA are the sponsoring agencies for this project, which is currently in the approval and environmental phase. 

Background

There are two alternatives being looked at in the environmental document—alternative 2. the other alternative, alternative 1, is a no build alternative.

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 widen 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 ft. lane in each direction, and a 12 ft. painted median at the western portion within the project limits. In addition, a paved 5 ft. and 8 ft. shoulder will be provided on each side of the roadway to accommodate Class II (striped on-road) bicycle facilities. The shoulder will be 8 ft. wide from Avenida Siega to the City/County boundary limits to merge with the completed county portion. 

Depending on which alternative is approved, construction could begin in 2023.

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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To review the environmental document click here. 

Contact the Project Team

For questions, please contact Elizabeth Manzo, Public Information Officer, by email or at (657) 328-6594.