COUNTYWIDE : Funds Allocated for Beach 'Super Street'

The Orange County Transportation Commission on Thursday approved spending more than $14 million to help transform Beach Boulevard into a "super street," upgrade 39 other thoroughfares and build freeway sound barriers.

The commission voted unanimously to spend $6.4 million to help expand a 10-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard between Huntington Beach and Anaheim by adding a lane in each direction and making other improvements.

The money will also provide turn pockets, improvements in synchronization of traffic signals, and bus turnouts on the boulevard. The improvements, to be made during coming months, are designed to speed the flow of traffic along the key north-south artery.

Beach Boulevard is the first of several busy thoroughfares in Orange County marked for improvements under the Transportation Commission's super streets program, which is designed to upgrade key existing roads as an alternative to paying for expensive new freeway construction.

Aside from the improvements along Beach Boulevard, the commission voted to spend $500,000 on freeway sound walls and allocated $7.7 million for various road projects across the county.

None of the sites for the sound walls have been selected yet, but 27 cities will receive money to improve streets. Irvine received the largest allocation, with more than $930,000 going for a stretch of Red Hill Avenue between Main Street and Barranca Parkway.

The cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, La Habra, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ana received money for two projects each, and the county received funds for half a dozen projects in unincorporated areas.

The projects were selected by an advisory committee made up of representatives from cities, the county and the state.

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