The rush-hour traffic on the Costa Mesa Freeway heading toward Riverside on Friday nights is legend. The “rush hour” sometimes extends late into the evening, in part because it is used by weekend travelers leaving town. Nevertheless, Caltrans officials plan to close all but one northbound lane of the freeway on the next two Friday nights for repaving and restriping.
In both cases, the near-total northbound closure between Dyer Road and Edinger Avenue will begin at 10 p.m. and continue until early the next morning, officials said.
California Department of Transportation officials believe that the traffic will not be as bad at 10 p.m. as it might be an hour or two earlier, but they acknowledge that traffic will probably still back up.
“We did this a few weeks ago with the southbound lanes and it wasn’t too bad,” Caltrans project engineer Brent Felker said Monday. “We hope we’ll have a good experience on the northbound side, but things don’t always go as smoothly as they’re supposed to.”
In addition to the Friday night closures, Felker said, one lane will be closed Monday through Thursday nights next week from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Part of the work involves raising the height of the pavement one or two lanes at a time. As a result, Felker said, motorists should use special caution when changing lanes during construction because the road will be uneven.
Felker said motorists can take an alternative route: Dyer Road east to Red Hill Avenue, Red Hill north to Edinger Avenue, returning to the freeway on Edinger.
The work is part of the $19.3-million widening of the freeway north from Dyer Road to I-5 in preparation for the $86.4-million reconstruction of the I-5 and Costa Mesa Freeway interchange, which is scheduled for completion in 1994.