SR 241/91 Express Lanes Connector Project Moving Forward
IRVINE, Calif. - October 10, 2019
The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies Board approved an agreement today (called a “Term Sheet”) that is the first step in constructing a tolled connector between the 241 Toll Road and the 91 Express Lanes, in partnership with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
The Term Sheet sets the stage for much-needed traffic relief as soon as possible, while ensuring the project integrates smoothly – and supports – other projects planned in both Orange and Riverside counties. The Term Sheet is scheduled to be considered by the OCTA board later this month and the RCTC board will consider the item in November. Caltrans District 12 in Orange County and District 8 in Riverside County have agreed to the path forward for the project.
“We are so happy to announce that all of our agencies, along with both Caltrans Districts 12 and 8, have joined together to make the 241/91 Express Connector a reality,” said Christina Shea, Chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency Board of Directors. “The project will benefit drivers throughout Southern California, regardless of whether they’re taking toll or free roads.”
Pending OCTA and RCTC board approvals, this lays the groundwork for investing approximately $600 million in near-term traffic relief solutions, including:
- A direct connector from the eastbound 91 Express Lanes to the northbound I-15 in Riverside County.
- The State Route (SR) 91 Corridor Operations Project (COP), which adds a westbound general-purpose lane between Green River Road and SR-241.
- SR-91/SR-71 Interchange Improvements, which includes a new two-lane direct connector from eastbound SR-91 to northbound SR-71 and realigns the existing Green River Road to connect to northbound SR-71 and eastbound SR-91.
- The SR-241 / 91 Express Lanes Connector
“As the mayor of Orange and a board member for both OCTA and TCA, my focus has been on improving commutes, enhancing safety and reducing congestion on both SR-91 and SR-241,” said Mark Murphy, F/ETCA board member. “Thanks to all these agencies, including Caltrans and RCTC, we can accomplish all three goals through our collaborative efforts in Orange and Riverside counties.”
The Term Sheet is a result of several months of discussions on appropriate timing of the 241/91 Express Connector project and to ensure that the agencies could maximize effectiveness in project delivery and operations, while minimizing impacts to commuters during construction. This overarching framework now allows the agencies to work on more detailed agreements, including specifics on funding, construction, operations and use of excess toll revenue.
“The planned improvements on the SR-91 and the SR-241 will bring relief to the hardworking commuters in my District. I am proud to have helped broker a deal with OCTA and other transportation agencies on this long, overdue project. Easing traffic in this congested area will enhance the quality of life for the people living in Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Orange and for all of Orange County,” said Third District Supervisor Don Wagner.
Spelled out in the term sheet, TCA will fund the 241/91 Express Connector, Caltrans will construct the project, and OCTA and RCTC will operate the connector to integrate it into the 91 Express Lanes system. Construction of the tolled connector would begin in 2023, following completion of the 91 Express Lanes / I-15 Connector and the SR-91 COP projects.
The 241/91 Express Connector will provide commuters the convenience and reliability of additional travel choices by allowing them to utilize either the available managed lanes on the 91 Express Lanes and 241 Toll Road or the general-purpose lanes, depending upon where they live and work.
Together, all of these projects are an effort to keep pace with the imbalance between housing in the Inland Empire and jobs in Orange County and to encourage ridesharing and public transportation as a way to reduce congestion. Workers commuting into Orange County each morning and returning home to the Inland Empire every night will benefit from having increased options, including the flexibility to choose to drive on the Toll Roads and the 91 Express Lanes.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s 67-mile public toll road system. Fifty-one miles of the system are complete, including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. TCA continues to meet the region’s growing need for congestion-free transportation alternatives.