ORANGE COUNTY – Orange County transportation officials are scheduled to vote Friday on a plan to add toll lanes to a 14-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway in Orange County, a $1.47-billion proposal that would involve reconstructing overpasses and eliminating carpool lanes.
Adding toll routes to the freeway — dismissed as “Lexus lanes” by one city mayor — is one of three proposed alternatives for helping untangle the highway congestion from Costa Mesa to the county line in Seal Beach.
The most controversial of the alternatives would add a single general-purpose lane and a toll lane in each direction. The existing carpool lanes on each side of the highway would also be converted to toll lanes. The other alternatives would add general purpose lanes but no pay-to-drive lanes.
The toll lanes would be similar to those recently added to the 110 and 10 freeways in Los Angeles, and Orange County has an extensive network of toll roads that span much of the county.
Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer described the toll roads as “Lexus lanes” at one public meeting and suggested that it could pave the way for more toll roads in Orange County, such as on the 5 Freeway.
Under congestion-based pricing, tolls rise during peak crunch times and fall during the hours when traffic typically thins out.