Tustin's City Council Approves Route Plan for Eastern Corridor

Times Staff Writer

After settling minor disputes with neighboring Orange and Irvine, the Tustin City Council on Monday unanimously approved a route for the proposed Eastern Transportation Corridor.

The Tustin council's action came after last week's approval of the route by the city councils of Irvine and Orange. The plan was devised by Orange Mayor Jess F. Perez, Irvine Mayor Larry Agran and former Tustin Mayor Richard B. Edgar.

The approval is essentially a tightening of an agreement that the three cities reached in February, when the cities approved the same basic design but cited some minor wording changes that needed to be worked out between themselves and area homeowners.

Approval by the Tustin council clears the way for the cities to present the plan at the May 12 meeting of 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.

Two Toll Expressways

Under the proposed route, the Eastern Corridor would extend south from the Riverside Freeway at Gypsum Canyon Road and divide into two toll expressways south of Santiago Canyon Road.

The eastern leg would connect with the Santa Ana Freeway at the Laguna Freeway, and the western leg would run parallel to and then merge with the planned extension of Jamboree Road.

While the agreement has received the approval of the Eastern Transportation Corridor Homeowner's Coalition--which represents 25,000 homeowners in North Irvine, Tustin, North Tustin and Orange--it has drawn fire from the Tustin Hills Homeowners Coalition, a group of about 1,000 homeowners from Cowan Heights and Lemon Heights. Members of that group said a part of the plan that would have the western leg traverse Peters Canyon would bring too much noise into their area.

'Echo Chamber'

"We're in an echo chamber there," said Frank Cate, a member of the Tustin Hills coalition. "We're going to be under intense sound from the day that's put in there."

Cate also said members of his coalition had not been properly told of talks about the planned route--a point with which city officials sharply disagreed.

"It (the planning) has been very open," Edgar said. "We have made sure that the press has had availability to everything we've discussed, and there have been numerous articles in the paper."

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