Road Study Decision Is Delayed

Orange County transit officials Monday postponed a decision on whether to accelerate studies for a highway over or along the Santa Ana River between the Orange Crush interchange and the San Diego Freeway.

The Orange County Transportation Authority wants to determine the feasibility of extending the Orange Freeway for 11 miles over or along one of the county's main flood-control channels. Supervisor Chris Norby wants to halve the 3-year study time by hiring additional staff and consultants.

OCTA board members said they delayed a decision because of a pending lawsuit brought against Caltrans by American Transportation Development, an Arizona-based company that wants to build a toll road on the route.

The firm is contesting an earlier decision by Caltrans to cancel the company's state franchise agreement for failing to meet a 10-year deadline to start construction. The project is one of four privately run toll roads approved more than a decade ago by the Legislature.

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