To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Friday, April 3, 2015

Should really a 710 Freeway tunnel enable trucks and will it be safe?

When the debate more than extending the 710 Freeway is six decades old, a new angle involving carrying out it by tunnel is grabbing most of the air time, even although four choices are becoming examined by Caltrans.For quite a few, just picturing the longest...


 April 2015

Should really a 710 Freeway tunnel enable trucks and will it be safe?

 When the debate more than extending the 710 Freeway is six decades old, a new angle involving carrying out it by tunnel is grabbing most of the air time, even although four choices are becoming examined by Caltrans.

For quite a few, just picturing the longest freeway tunnel in California can be a hard situation. Extending the freeway six.three miles from the terminus at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena, with at least 4.two miles of the freeway totally underground with no exits, is surely a new idea that politicians are trying to wrap their arms about.

During a spirited discussion at a forum Monday evening at Cal State Los Angeles concerning the 710, panelists from 4 Southland cities answered questions from a political scientist about whether a four-to-6 mile freeway tunnel under Alhambra, El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena would be protected, practical and price-effective.

“Tunnels have been about for hundreds of years in Europe,” answered Alhambra City Councilwoman Barbara Messina, who prefers the tunnel. “We went from downtown Paris to the Palace of Versailles in a tunnel. No problem.”

Those opposed to the extension left the audience of more than 200 people with scenarios of fire and death.

“I consider it is really dangerous to be in a tunnel. I would instruct my family members in no way to enter a 5-mile tunnel, specifically one being made use of for trucks. Imagine if you are in that. Imagine the smoke, the fumes, the fire,” said Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian, who opposes the 710 extension.

“You can get killed crossing the street,” Messina shot back. “To say a tunnel is harmful is genuinely extremely, incredibly lame.”

Michael Cacciotti, the council member from South Pasadena, which has successfully fought the surface route extension of the 710 for decades, mentioned a tunnel is a risky, hugely expensive venture. A highway tunnel project in Boston, nicknamed the Large Dig, began out at $two.8 billion but finished at $15 billion, he said, though a tunnel freeway project in Seattle resulted in ground seepage and the tunneling machine receiving stuck underground for years.

On March 6, a 26,625-web page Draft Environmental Influence Report/Environmental Impact Statement on the 710 concluded that constructing a six.3-mile freeway tunnel “would have the largest boost in freeway and arterial functionality” of any alternative, but carries the highest value tag. At a price of $three.1 billion to $5.65 billion, the tunnel would expense extra than a proposed light-rail line, estimated at $2.four billion. Some argue the real price will finish up closer to $ten billion.

Four years ago, Caltrans and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) started studying the environmental impacts of continuing the freeway underground instead of on the surface.
In addition to the tunnel, the EIR examined four other choices: site visitors management solutions, a devoted bus line, a light-rail train or no-develop.

Najarian, also on the Metro board, opposes the tunnel. “The best choice includes a light rail. I don’t think a tunnel will resolve our troubles,” he stated.

A “single bore” double-decker tunnel, which would consist of two northbound lanes on prime of two southbound lanes in a single tunnel, would have minor impacts to land, air, noise and aesthetics compared to the impacts from creating a 7.5-mile light-rail train from East Los Angeles through Alhambra and Pasadena.

The study leaves it up to Caltrans and Metro to choose what to develop. Also, if they pick the tunnel, the question remains whether it would take trucks and cars or prohibit truck traffic.

In a nuanced stand, Duarte City Councilman John Fasana, a single of the panelists and a Metro board member, mentioned trucks really should be prohibited from the tunnel. He would favor to divert truck traffic up the five Freeway or along the 60 Freeway east. He and other folks stated the 710 tunnel would not be appropriate for trucks, in component for the reason that they would have to travel up-grade going northbound.

Najarian agreed, but stated the trucking lobby and port shipping organizations will want access to the new portion of the freeway to move goods from south to north. “It is Metro’s intention that this be a truck-freight corridor,” he stated.

Due to the fact the tunnel is highly-priced, Metro and Caltrans will require to bring in private providers to develop it. That means the tunnel will be a toll road. Najarian stated estimates of the toll could be as high as $14 a single way, a fee shipping corporations can absorb into the expense of performing business enterprise.

“Truckers will be willing to pay it. Your typical soccer mom isn’t going to spend that,” he mentioned.
Messina said Caltrans and the Southern California Association of Governments have already heard from private road builders who would place up capital. Fasana mentioned a public-private partnership is significantly harder to do for rail lines.

He also stated tunnels currently exist beneath Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles, but for subways not automobile visitors. So far, they haven’t been a difficulty.

“Where that gap is, the tunnel is the selection we must look at seriously,” Fasana stated. 𠇋ut we will will need to see no matter if the public-private partnerships materialize.”

Comments on the EIR/EIS are becoming accepted by Caltrans and Metro via July six. Send written comments to: Garrett Damrath, chief environmental planner, Division of Environmental Preparing, California Department of Transportation, District 7, one hundred S. Major St, MS-16A, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Submit comments on-line at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis/comments.php.