Orange and Irvine Leaders Join Tustin in Backing Freeway Plan

Times Staff Writer

Following the example of the Tustin City Council, the Orange and Irvine city councils Tuesday unanimously approved a plan drafted by mayors of those cities for the proposed Eastern Transportation Corridor.

The approvals, along with Tustin's OK on Monday, clear the way for the Eastern/Foothill Transportation Corridor Agency, a consortium of 10 cities formed to build the thoroughfare, to consider the proposal at its meeting Thursday.

The proposal was drafted by Orange Mayor Jess F. Perez, Irvine Mayor Larry Agran and former Tustin Mayor Richard B. Edgar. The plan calls for the corridor to split into two legs that would both ultimately connect with the Santa Ana Freeway.

The agency will include the mayors' proposal in an environmental impact report required by the state before the road can be included in the state highway system.

The Orange City Council gave unanimous approval to the plan but stipulated that the city would hold "formal or informal" public hearings on the matter.

The Irvine City Council also noted its concerns and called for further negotiations to achieve the following goals:

- The eastern leg, which would connect with the Santa Ana Freeway at the Laguna Freeway (California 133), should be a six-lane expressway.

- The western leg should be a six-lane expressway through Peters Canyon and a four-lane expressway south of the interchange with Jamboree Boulevard.

- The western leg should not be designed for tractor-trailer rigs.

- Only Chapman Avenue and Jamboree and Irvine boulevards should be considered for interchanges of the Santa Ana Freeway on the western leg.

- There should be no interchange in Peters Canyon.

Area homeowners have opposed the mayors' plan to have the western leg connect with Jamboree Road south of the Santa Ana Freeway because they believe that location would cause too much noise in their neighborhood.

The Tustin City Council, in approving the plan earlier this week, indicated that its members prefer the interchange to be south of the freeway because traffic problems would be created if it were north of the freeway.

However, Perez said Orange would be flexible in talks over that issue.

"So long as it doesn't significantly change what is needed to the north, we won't fight it," Perez said.

Times staff writer Doug Brown contributed to this story.

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