L.A. County Set to Build First New Freeway in 25 Years

When the Century Freeway opened in 1993, officials said it would almost certainly be the last of the great Southern California freeways, the final chapter in a romance with fast lanes that began just before World War II.

A motorist drives along 50th Street, north of Palmdale Boulevard in Palmdale, where Caltrans is preparing to build an eight-lane freeway in the undeveloped Mojave Desert. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A motorist drives along 50th Street, north of Palmdale Boulevard in Palmdale, where Caltrans is preparing to build an eight-lane freeway in the undeveloped Mojave Desert. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

It offered a good example of why the ardor faded. The 105 violated environmental laws, displaced more than 25,000 people and left behind a legacy of noise and pollution in some of Los Angeles County’s poorest neighborhoods. After decades of delays and bitter litigation, its price tag rose to $2.2 billion, making it the most expensive roadway ever built in the United States.

(Credit: Chris Keller/ @latimesgraphics)

(Credit: Chris Keller/ @latimesgraphics)

But now, with little fanfare, officials are again laying the groundwork for the construction of a new freeway.

The California Department of Transportation, in cooperation with a joint powers authority, will in June begin buying land to build a 63-mile high desert freeway connecting the Los Angeles County communities of Palmdale and Lancaster with the San Bernardino County communities of Victorville, Apple Valley and Adelanto.

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