Staff recommends alternative 5C for 710 Corridor Project

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Metro staff are recommending Alternative 5C for the I-710 Corridor Project, which would add an additional lane in each direction of the I-710 freeway between Long Beach and the SR-60 freeway, upgrade interchanges and construct other improvement projects to improve traffic flow and improve traffic safety.

The Metro Board of Directors will consider approving 5C as the “locally preferred alternative” for the project at their next full meeting on March 1. The Board’s Ad Hoc Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee and Planning and Programming Committee will discuss the item at their meetings on Wednesday.

You can listen to the meetings live online — links will appear on this page. The project’s Draft Recirculated Environmental Impact/SEIS report is here. The report explains the project and its impacts in fine detail.

As commuters and residents know, the 710 is the primary north-south freeway connecting the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the rest of the region, including the railroad yards where freight is loaded on trains and shipped across the U.S. In addition to trucks —  which make up about 30 percent of the traffic on the 710 south of the 60 — the 710 also carries very heavy auto traffic.

Getting to this point has been a long-time coming: the formal studies for this project began in 2008. The studies eventually whittled their way to two alternatives: Alternative 5C (cost: $6 billion) and the more expensive Alternative 7 (cost: $10+ billion), which would have added a separate clean truck corridor adjacent to the 710.

Alternative 5C will include improvements at the junctions with the 405 (including truck by-pass lanes), the 91 and the 5 freeways. Every local interchange will also be upgraded. The idea is twofold: reduce conflicts between autos and trucks and reduce conflicts between traffic entering and exiting the 710 (known as “weaving”).

Both alternatives include provisions for encouraging use of clean technology trucks by setting a minimum target of $100 million in funding to individual owner-operators and privately-owned truck fleets to subsidize the purchase of heavy-duty clean trucks to be used in the 710 corridor. The project also includes upgrades to transit, sidewalks and bike paths in communities near the freeway. 

Metro is also working with the Gateway Cities Council of Governments on the I-710 Livability Initiative, which includes planning efforts for improving transportation options, L.A. River/watershed management, streetscape enhancements, parks/open space, public art and health along the corridor.

Caltrans is the lead agency on the I-710 Corridor environmental study and is the owner-operator of the freeway.  Alternative 5C is expected to cost $6 billion; Measure M and other funding sources will supply about $1.3 billion in the coming years. Although not fully funded, there is money available for “early action projects.” Caltrans, Metro, the Gateway Cities Council of Governments and cities along the 710 are set to meet this spring to determine which early projects to pursue. About 109 homes and 158 businesses would need to be acquired to make way for the project, according to the DEIR/SEIS. 

As would be expected of a project this size, it’s getting a fair amount of media coverage. Here is an article published in the Los Angeles Times today.

Update: Board Member Janice Hahn introduced a motion at the Ad Hoc Congestion Committee to raise the amount invested in clean zero emission trucks to $200 million and to add a lane for zero emission vehicles to 19 miles of the freeway.


13 replies

  1. So we’re talking in the ballpark of $200 million PER LANE MILE??!?!?! How is this cost-effective?

    • The much reported numbers that say that traffic is worse suffered from bad data selection. The first data point was during the recession, when driving had dropped overall (noticeably during various times of day in that corridor.) The second data point was after a healthy recovery, after total traffic was increased. If the first data point had been taken from 2006 and not 2008, it would have looked different. Also, the much bandied about number only looked at peak rush hour times. I drive the pass northbound pre-rush hour and immediately noticed the benefit of the improvements (even as the sections were opened before the whole was completed). The main tie-up now on the northbound side is traffic merging at the last minute to get to the 10. I have driven the 405 on and off peak for quite some time and can say that the improvements did help.

  2. Wouldn’t $6 billion be better spent to move the freight train loading facilities to Long Beach or San Pedro? That could potentially move more trucks off the road.