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Toll Road Opening Must Be Stopped

We have to get an injunction against the insane idea of opening the San Joaquin Hills toll road in July.

Right now the southbound traffic on Laguna Canyon Road in the evening backs up at rush hour more than 3 1/2 miles to El Toro Road. The average delay is 20 minutes in additional travel time with delays approaching 35 minutes on some days. The backup can stretch all the way back to the strawberry fields. I know this. I have to drive it every day.

And now the jerks want to increase the demand on that southbound sector by opening the toll road!

I imagine the traffic consultants for this project are the same ones that issued a negative declaration for the Aliso Viejo Project, which ultimately resulted in this debacle in the first place.

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The impact on everyone in Laguna has been horrible. I figure over the last couple of years I have had to wait in traffic on Laguna Canyon Road a cumulative time of more than 150 hours. That is the equivalent of 19 work days--a 3 1/2-week vacation. This is an additional tax on my life from some incompetent planners and supervisors.

Even the current traffic engineers recognize that if the lanes were opened right now, the backup on Laguna Canyon Road would be horrific. I quote your June 19 article (“No Free Ride on New Tollway”) that said congestion “would occur . . . resulting in a severe backup” at Laguna Canyon Road. The problem could extend all the way down to Coast Highway, the engineers said.

According to the article, the engineers (Austin-Foust of Santa Ana) admit northbound traffic would be tempted to use the toll road as a shortcut to Laguna Canyon Road north to the San Diego Freeway.

What makes them think it will be any different when the northbound lanes are opened, whatever time of year it is. The Spectrum, which is a major work destination, is right at the end of Laguna Canyon Road!

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An agency spokeswoman said the real value will be “when we can open it up completely” and be able to get from “Laguna Hills to John Wayne Airport in 15 minutes.”

What does this mean, the commuters won’t get off at Laguna Canyon Road to hit the Spectrum? The real demand will be for commuting, at peak rush hours, just like it is for every other major road in the area, not for going to the airport!

Nothing is being done to mitigate the traffic on Laguna Canyon Road. Adding more demand to that overly used road is stupid, or conspiratorially wicked.

We need to get an injunction to stop this proposed event. If we don’t, we will all pay for it more dearly every evening.

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I demand that the Laguna Canyon and El Toro offramps not be available until Laguna Canyon Road is widened. It is pure insanity to dump a freeway onto a single-lane country road.

BOB HEITEL

Laguna Beach

* The Transportation Corridor Agencies are attempting to pull a fast one on Laguna Niguel residents.

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Your article says the TCA intends to open the southerly portion of the San Joaquin Hills corridor in late July without completing the connector from Interstate 5 northbound by dumping up to 11,000 cars per day through the Rancho Niguel and Rolling Hills neighborhoods of Laguna Niguel.

It is not our fault their facilities are not complete. Why should our well-being be sacrificed to the greed of TCA and its contractor? If they can’t provide a fully functional, integrated facility, then they shouldn’t be allowed to open the corridor!

CURT SUTLIFF

Laguna Niguel

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