California State Route 73
State Route 73 (SR 73) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California, running from the junction with Interstate 5 in San Juan Capistrano north through the San Joaquin Hills to its junction with Interstate 405 in Costa Mesa. The entirety of the route is located in Orange County. From its southern terminus, the first 12 miles (19 km) of the highway are a toll road, which opened in November 1996. This segment of SR 73 is operated by the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency named the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor. The last 3 miles (4.8 km) of the 15-mile (24 km) highway, which opened in 1978, are part of the Corona del Mar Freeway. SR 73's alignment follows an approximately parallel path between the Pacific Coast Highway and the San Diego Freeway. For the three-mile freeway segment, there are no HOV lanes currently, but the medians have been designed with sufficient clearance for their construction should the need arise in the future.
|Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 373|
|Maintained by Caltrans and TCA|
|Length||17.764 mi (28.588 km)|
|Existed||1978 (1996 in current form)–present|
|South end||I-5 in San Juan Capistrano|
|North end||I-405 in Costa Mesa|
State Route 73 begins in northern San Juan Capistrano near the Mission Viejo border at an interchange with Interstate 5. The freeway heads northwest into the city of Laguna Niguel before the tolled portion begins at the Greenfield Drive exit. After passing Greenfield Drive, SR 73 enters into the city of Aliso Viejo before entering Laguna Beach, where SR 73 has an interchange with SR 133. Following this, the road passes through Crystal Cove State Park, where the main toll plazas are located. After leaving the state park, SR 73 straddles the border between Irvine and Newport Beach and provides easy access to University of California, Irvine through the Bison Avenue exit. Following the MacArthur Boulevard exit, the tolled part of the road ends and becomes a freeway. SR 73 continues into Newport Beach, running along the southern boundary of Orange County John Wayne Airport (IATA Airport Code SNA). Entering Costa Mesa, SR 73 interchanges with SR 55 before ending at I-405.
State Route 73 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, and is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.
Most of State Route 73 is a limited-access toll highway designed to reduce congestion within Orange County on the Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) and the San Diego Freeway (Interstates 5, and 405) by providing a direct route through the San Joaquin Hills.
State Route 73 is not a toll road over its entire length. From its northbound terminus heading southbound, the first three miles (4.8 km) of State Route 73 have no tolls and make up the entire Corona Del Mar Freeway. State Route 73's previous alignment had the freeway portion end at MacArthur Boulevard, and the SR 73 designation ran along MacArthur south to meet Route 1 in Corona del Mar. Under the current alignment, heading southbound, State Route 73 becomes a designated toll road immediately after the Jamboree/MacArthur ramp and remains so until its southern terminus at I-5. Though the next ramp heading southbound (Bison Avenue) is part of the toll road, it is toll-free, as is the first ramp heading northbound from the southern terminus (Greenfield Drive).
Design and construction of the highway cost a total of $800 million. The design and construction was overseen by the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agencies, or SJHTCA, an agency formed in 1988 for the express purpose of designing the tollway. In the end, State Route 73 included 10 interchanges, 68 bridges, 725,000 square feet (67,400 m2) of retaining walls, and 32 million cubic yards (24,000,000 m3) of excavation at completion. Construction was divided into four different sections, each with its own management system and quality control. A joint venture led by Kiewit Pacific Co., a subsidiary of Kiewit Corporation, completed this project in 1996.
State Route 73's toll road was the first to be financed with tax-exempt bonds on a stand-alone basis including construction and environmental risk. In 2011, $2.1 billion in debt for the San Joaquin Hills toll roads was restructured, which pushed back the time until the bonds are paid off and the route becomes a state-owned freeway to 2042. In 2014, the debt was again restructured in an attempt to get improved interest rates, improved debt ratings, and in the process save $44 million in debt repayment. This resulted in another 8 years of payments, delaying the pay-off date to 2050. Under this new plan the debt can be paid off earlier than 2050, if ridership and revenue improves.
The tolled portion of SR 73 (beginning after Greenfield Drive in the northbound direction, and starting after the Bison Avenue exit in the southbound direction) employs a barrier toll system, where drivers are charged flat-rate tolls based on what particular toll booths they pass through. Since May 13, 2014, the road has been using an all-electronic, open road tolling system, and on October 2, 2019, the license plate tolling program, under the brand name "ExpressAccount", was discontinued. Drivers may still pay using the FasTrak electronic toll collection system, via a one time payment online, or in person at Transportation Corridor Agencies's customer service center in Irvine. Those using Fastrak are charged a lower toll than those using the other two methods. Drivers must pay within 5 days after their trip on the toll road or they will be assessed a toll violation.
Drivers who drive the entire tolled segment of SR 73 will only encounter one gantry, the Catalina View Mainline toll gantry. As of July 2019[update], the gantry uses a congestion pricing scheme based on the time of day for FasTrak users, while non-FasTrak drivers must pay the maximum toll for peak weekday hours ($8.65 for the standard two-axle car), regardless of the day and time. Tolls are also collected at a flat rate at the northbound exits and southbound entrances of La Paz Road ($2.50), Aliso Creek Road ($3.11), and SR 133 ($3.76); and at the southbound exits and northbound entrances of Newport Coast Drive ($3.50) and Bonita Canyon Drive ($2.12).
The entire route is in Orange County.
|San Juan Capistrano–Mission Viejo line||0.00||0.00||—||I-5 south (San Diego Freeway) – San Diego||Southern terminus; exit 85A on I-5 north|
|Laguna Niguel–Laguna Hills line||1.79||2.88||2||Greenfield Drive||Southern end of toll road|
|Aliso Viejo||2.91||4.68||3||Moulton Parkway||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|3.40||5.47||3||La Paz Road||Tolled northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|4.72||7.60||4||Aliso Creek Road||Tolled northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|5.25||8.45||5||Pacific Park Drive / Glenwood Drive||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Aliso Viejo–Laguna Beach line||6.35–|
|6||SR 133 (Laguna Canyon Road) / El Toro Road (CR S18)||Tolled northbound exit and southbound entrance; signed as exit 7 southbound|
|San Joaquin Hills||8.70||14.00||Catalina View Mainline toll gantry|
|Irvine–Newport Beach line||11.46||18.44||11||Newport Coast Drive||Tolled southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|12.00||19.31||12||Bonita Canyon Drive||Tolled southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|14.00||22.53||14||MacArthur Boulevard north – John Wayne Airport||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; northern end of toll road|
|14A||MacArthur Boulevard south – Newport Beach||Southbound exit and northbound entrance; former routing of SR 73 south|
|Newport Beach||14.35||23.09||14B||University Drive||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|15.01||24.16||15||Jamboree Road||No northbound exit|
|Birch Street||Northbound exit only|
|15.53||24.99||16||Irvine Avenue / Campus Drive||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|17A||SR 55 north (Costa Mesa Freeway)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; exit 5A on SR 55|
|17B||SR 55 south (Costa Mesa Freeway)||Signed as exit 17A southbound; exit 5A on SR 55|
|17.23||27.73||17C||Bear Street||Signed as exit 17B southbound|
|18B||Fairview Road||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|—||Harbor Boulevard||Closed; now part of I-405 exit 11; was northbound exit only|
|18A||I-405 north (San Diego Freeway) – Long Beach||Northern terminus; exit 10 on I-405 south|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
- Orange County Street Atlas (Map). Thomas Brothers. 2008.
- "Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Division 1". California Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: Los Angeles, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- http://www.newportcoastdrive.com Exhibit 30. page 4. "On October 17, 1988, the County and city members of the TCA amended the Joint Powers Agreement to exercise the power authorized by the legislature to impose and collect tolls on the Corridor"
- TheTollRoads.com Press Release May 2011
- "Reuters, S&P Improves Debt Rating to Investment Grade". October 8, 2014. Archived from the original on May 24, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
- TheTollRoads.com Press Release Oct 2014
- "All Electronic Tolling". Transportation Corridor Agencies. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- "ExpressAccount". Transportation Corridor Agencies. October 2, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
- "Ways to Pay Tolls". Transportation Corridor Agencies. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
- "The Toll Roads Rate Card" (PDF). Transportation Corridor Agencies. July 1, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
- "State Route 73 Freeway Interchanges" (PDF). California Numbered Exit Uniform System. California Department of Transportation. September 28, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
- California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
- California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to California State Route 73.|