SR-57 Project Kickoff with 50s Style Moves

We celebrate a major transportation milestone -- widening the northbound lanes of the Orange Freeway (SR-57) and getting thousands of Southern Californians back to work.

Here is a music slideshow featuring the kickoff ceremony of the 57 freeway decked out with the 50s theme with labor joining elected officials and Lucy Dunn, CEO and president of the Orange County Business Council.

OCTA board members, city officials and Caltrans representatives gathered Wednesday to kick off the Orange Freeway (SR-57) construction project that will help decrease traffic congestion and create more than 5,000 jobs.

The kickoff ceremony at the El Torito parking lot in Brea featured Lucy Dunn, a member of the California Transportation Commission and president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, dressed as a "1950s gal" in her poodle skirt and saddle shoes, riding in a 1957 Bel Air Convertible with Jim Adams, a business representative from the Los Angeles / Orange County Building Trades Council.

In a show of unity between business and labor, approximately 30 construction workers walked alongside the classic car driven by James Clark, Crevier BMW general manager.

“What a great ride on the back of a ‘beaut’ of a commute,” Dunn said. “It’s not every day that I get to play a 50s gal. But it’s about honoring our rich and colorful past in Orange County with a back-to-the-future mentality. I joined many of you here two years ago when we launched our "Ready to Work" program — labor and management together — to highlight the fact that here in Orange County, we had shovel-ready projects. I’m thrilled to return here at this very spot overlooking the 57 Freeway to report that we’re ready to roll with another construction project in Orange County.”

The construction project is the first to begin under the Measure M2 Early Action Plan and will add a northbound lane on SR-57 from north of the Riverside Freeway (SR-91) near Orangethorpe Avenue in Placentia to Lambert Road in Brea.

Traffic engineers estimate that 144,000 to 158,000 vehicles use the freeway every day. “OCTA is looking forward to bringing much-needed traffic relief to the thousands of commuters and locals who use this stretch of the freeway on a daily basis,” OCTA Chairman Jerry Amante, also the mayor of Tustin, told the gathering of approximately 100 people.

This $102-million project, with an expected completion date in summer 2014, is the first of two taking place on SR-57. In summer 2011, construction will begin on the second segment, which will add a 3-mile northbound lane between Katella Avenue and Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim.

At the end of the ceremony, Dunn presented OCTA CEO Will Kempton with a clear box containing a pair of his old running shoes with the inscription, “Celebrating one year of hitting the ground running,” to recognize the CEO’s first year at OCTA and his contribution to enhancing the transportation system in Orange County.

All attendees who filled out the feedback survey strongly agreed that the kickoff event was an effective way to highlight the importance of the Orange Freeway (SR-57) construction.