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Dispute on Freeway Links Stalls Compromise Talks

Times Staff Writer

Officials from three Orange County cities failed to reach an agreement Thursday with a coalition of homeowner associations on details of proposed links between the planned Eastern Transportation Corridor and the Santa Ana Freeway.

Mayors Jess F. Perez of Orange, Larry Agran of Irvine and Richard B. Edgar of Tustin had hoped to agree with homeowners in time to present their plan next Thursday to the Eastern/Foothill Transportation Corridor Agency--a consortium of 10 cities formed to build a freeway or toll-financed turnpike through the foothills southeast of the Riverside Freeway.

However, after two hours of discussion, the officials failed to reach an agreement with the Eastern Transportation Corridor Homeowners Coalition.

“There remain some areas yet to be worked out,” said Jim Brooks, co-chairman of the coalition, which represents about 25,000 homeowners in North Irvine, Tustin, North Tustin and Orange.

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Several months ago, the homeowner coalition unveiled its own proposal for splitting the planned link with the Santa Ana Freeway into two legs. Under the coalition’s plan, the Eastern Corridor would extend south from the Riverside Freeway at Gypsum Canyon Road and divide into two expressways controlled by tolls south of Santiago Canyon Road.

The mayors’ plan is similar. The eastern leg would connect with the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) at the Laguna Freeway (California 133). But the mayors’ plan would place the western leg parallel to the planned extension of Jamboree Boulevard, instead of aligning directly with Jamboree, and would dump more traffic onto Walnut Avenue south of the Santa Ana Freeway.

Both plans call for the western link to continue south on Jamboree to the Irvine business complex.

Brooks said his coalition’s major concerns involved the location of the western leg’s interchange with the Santa Ana Freeway and whether that leg would have four or six lanes in the segment parallel to Jamboree.

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“It will have some direct impact to the homeowners who live in the area, and we’re very concerned,” Brooks said.

Both the homeowners and officials from the three cities have proposed that the links be toll roads.

Brooks said he doubts that an agreement can be worked out by Thursday.

Edgar described Thursday’s meeting as “very positive.” He said it would be dangerous to set any plan, including the city officials’ proposal, “in granite.”

“The opportunity to make changes in any design will exist for many months,” he said.


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