The recently completed University Drive widening project is one of 72 Irvine transportation projects totaling about $90 million.

Advancing $90 million in roadway improvements

by TOM BERG

A mile-long stretch of University Drive near the UC Irvine campus is now six lanes wide.

The $20 million project added a new lane in each direction between MacArthur Boulevard and Campus Drive to improve traffic flow.

It also upgraded traffic signals with video-detection technology and energy-efficient LED lights.

“This was a key project in the city’s overall strategy to get residents moving along,” says Alex Salazar, the city’s capital improvement program administrator. “It’s great to see traffic moving smoothly and openly at this important stretch of road.”

72 projects moving ahead

The University widening project is a major part of Irvine’s 72 key transportation projects totaling about $90 million.

“Transportation is consistently one of the most important priorities for Irvine’s residents,” Salazar says. “We took the opportunity during the past several months to deliver key projects that improve traffic sooner than previously planned.”

The city’s annual street rehabilitation effort smoothed and improved upward of 53 miles of roads within the city. Crews took advantage of fewer cars on the road, working weekends and nights, in order to complete the project two months ahead of schedule.

New vehicle and bicycle detection technology was installed at numerous Irvine intersections five weeks ahead of schedule. The technology decreases traffic congestion and wait times at lights, and is part of the city’s major light coordination strategy. These efforts can reduce wait times by about 16%.

On Campus Drive, the city completed about a mile of street pavement rehabilitation a month ahead of schedule.

Other recent projects include signal-timing improvements on Von Karman, Irvine Center Drive and Irvine Boulevard, synchronization of 40 Caltrans signals, and the impending construction of a pedestrian bridge over SR-133 at the Venta Spur Trail.

“We’re always working to bring new, innovative technologies and projects forward,” Salazar says. “Completing these critical projects ahead of schedule allows us to focus on other projects as well.”

University Drive was widened to six lanes from MacArthur Boulevard to Campus Drive.