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Larry Kramer, San Juan Capistrano
A response to Mark Speros’ letter to the editor titled, “Where did the Ortega Congestion Go?”
Mr. Speros’ comment that the congestion “at the chokepoint” goes away when school is out proves that Rancho Mission Viejo does not cause the congestion. I think we have been saying that for a long time.
His implication that the congestion will not reoccur when school begins and La Pata is finished this fall would be nice if it occurs. Does he have some study to show that is what will happen or is he just saying it to support his position? Some could argue that it may be worse as people from San Clemente use it to go to the I-5 via Ortega Highway when the I-5 is crowded or Pico and Hermosa are backed up. He also misses the main point that the widening is being done to support traffic increases over the next 30 years. Is he only concerned with the immediate present?
As far as being in a hurry to get this project moving, remember that even under the best of circumstances, it would not have been completed before 2020. One reason the Council was urged to reconsider their decision is that we have spent about $4.5 million on the project already and OCTA may want their money back if the city does not reverse its position.
His alternate route from Antonio to the 73 toll road is not an OCTA project. It was rejected years ago as being both impractical and too expensive. Comparing rough numbers, the chokepoint removal would cost about $30 million while Speros’ alternative is estimated to cost about $900 million. There are no plans for this project. The undeveloped land he refers to consists of hills requiring expensive tunneling and wetlands requiring mitigation. He also indicated that the cost of the project is going up. Of course, if it is further delayed, it will cost even more. Welcome to the wonderful world of inflation.
I urge you to call and write your City Council members and OCTA and urge them to move forward on this needed safety improvement.