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YORBA LINDA : City Requests Funds for Imperial Project

The city has requested nearly $1 million from the Orange County Transportation Authority to pay for preliminary engineering and design work for the proposed Imperial Highway widening project, despite concerns about the project.

The funds, which were authorized in advance by the OCTA, will be used to pay for $200,000 in engineering costs already incurred as well as future design work on the highway.

OCTA has proposed turning Imperial into a “smart street,” between the Los Angeles/Orange County line and Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim. The term smart street is used to designate improvements made to major thoroughfares to improve traffic flow, including increasing the number of lanes, traffic light synchronization, intersection widening and parking restrictions.

Funding for the project would be administered by OCTA out of Measure M funds, a half-cent sales tax approved for road improvements, but Yorba Linda would be responsible for designing and overseeing the project between Rose Drive and Santa Ana Canyon.

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Several members of the City Council have expressed a number of concerns about OCTA’s proposal. Those concerns include OCTA’s decision to not conduct an Environmental Impact Review of the project and the failure to address the bottleneck at Imperial and Esperanza Road caused by the increasing number of trains using the tracks just south of Esperanza.

Residents and business owners have also objected to the plan. Of particular concern to many are plans to erect sound walls ranging from six to 16 feet high.

But City Engineer Roy Stephenson said the project may not have to include sound walls, which were included in OCTA’s preliminary design because they may be required by CalTrans.

“That requirement is not set in concrete as far as I’m concerned,” Stephenson said. “We have some latitude on that.”

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