ORANGE (CBSLA) — Human remains believed to be of Native American descent put a halt to the 405 Freeway widening project in Orange County.

The bones were found on Sept. 25 by construction workers who were excavating as part of the I-405 Improvement Project, according to Eric Carpenter of the Orange County Transportation Authority.

The discovery put a halt to construction, Carpenter said. Officials suspect the bones are human and of Native American descent, and are consulting with an archeologist and the county coroner.

OCTA is consulting with the California Native American Heritage Commission on how to proceed.

“The commission determines a most likely descendant from a local Native American tribe,” Carpenter said. “OCTA and its partners recognize the cultural sensitivity of the issue and will work with all the parties involved to ensure appropriate and respectful procedures are followed.”

(credit: OCTA)

It’s not clear if the discovery will affect when construction is completed. But other construction work continues to move forward on the 16-mile project between Costa Mesa and the county line.

Law prohibits OCTA officials from disclosing the location or description of a grave or sacred place and officials are also concerned that revealing the location where the bones were found might encourage others to explore the area, Carpenter said.

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