Who will expand the 405? 3 bidders can submit proposals to OCTA

The Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors approved three ventures Monday to submit proposals for the design and construction of a planned $1.7-billion expansion of the 405 Freeway.

The project includes one new toll lane in both directions along the roughly 15-mile stretch of the 405 between Costa Mesa and Rossmoor, an addition that was hotly contested by some cities in that corridor, including Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach. The plan also includes an additional free general-purpose lane in both directions.

Bidding for the project are OC 405 Partners, Shimmick-Tutor Perini and Skanska-Flatiron. They have until September to submit their final bids, with the OCTA board scheduled to select a winner in November.

Construction could begin in 2017 and end in 2022.

OCTA officials contend the express toll lanes will be self-funded and will benefit all users of the stretch of the 405, which is traveled by more than 370,000 vehicles daily, making it one of the busiest freeways in the nation.

"In 2040, it's expected to take 29 minutes to travel during rush hour from SR-73 to I-605 in the general-purpose lanes," OCTA said in a statement. "That commute can be reduced to 13 minutes if a driver chooses to take the express lanes."

Funding for the expansion effort will come from the county's Measure M, a sales tax used for transportation projects, as well as from state and federal sources.