7th St. Bridge Soon To Be Closed For A Year; Campus ImpactedPublished: February 1, 2011
The 7th Street Bridge portion of a freeway construction project known as the West County Connectors (WCC) project is scheduled to begin in late February or early March, and the biggest impact for the CSULB community will be the closure of that bridge for a year.
The university is working closely with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to coordinate the dissemination of information, including maps and detours, to minimize the impact of the project and will announce the exact date of the closure when it is known. Among other ongoing communications efforts, the university will post a link on its homepage with the latest information on the project and its impacts.
Under the purview of the OCTA in partnership with the California Department of Transportation, the project was initiated to link carpool lanes (also known as high occupancy vehicle or HOV lanes) on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) with those on the Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22) and San Gabriel Freeway (I-605). The project traverses Garden Grove, Westminster, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Rossmoor, according to the OCTA.
The project will include the demolition of the bridge and construction of a new, longer bridge. Because of the existing bridge’s layout, limited dimensions and the need to construct the carpool lanes on the I-405 freeway underneath, the bridge must be replaced in its entirety and cannot be reconstructed one half at a time.
Over the last 24 months, the OCTA has met with municipalities, companies, businesses and others with large numbers of employees (including CSULB) and community organizations in an effort to “get the word out” about the project and discuss alternative routes for those affected by the upcoming construction.
For those commuting to CSULB, alternative routes include exiting Seal Beach Boulevard from the northbound I-405, heading south to Westminster Boulevard and proceeding to Studebaker Road to reconnect with 7th Street; or staying on the northbound I-405 freeway and exiting at Palo Verde Avenue or Bellflower Boulevard and heading south.
In addition to the construction of two direct carpool lane connectors, the WCC project will add a second carpool lane in each direction of the 405 between the 22 and 605 freeways. The project also includes the reconstruction of the Valley View Street and Seal Beach Boulevard bridges and on- and off-ramps as well as the construction of sound walls and retaining walls at various locations.
In addition to an easier commute, OCTA officials believe the project will help make the freeways safer by eliminating carpool users’ need to weave across general purpose lanes to switch to and from the carpool lanes.