El Sereno — Caltrans today officially abandoned a proposed $3.15 billion tunnel to extend the 710 Freeway between El Sereno and Pasadena. Instead, it backed a much less costly $105 million package of improvements to alleviate congestion by adding bus service, synchronizing traffic lights and expanding bike lanes.
The announcement signals that the state highway agency has finally given up on a decades-long effort to complete the freeway. The 710 currently terminates on the border of El Sereno and Alhambra, where it spews traffic into surface streets.
The final environmental impact report that was adopted by Caltrans says that a “lack of funding and the lack of community consensus” meant that the six-mile-long tunnel option “cannot be accomplished successfully within a reasonable period of time.”
In contrast, the alternative proposal that was adopted — known as “Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management” — would improve traffic operations and mobility, accommodate growth and not displace residents
Plus, at $105 million, the alternative that was approved would cost a fraction the $3.15 billion needed to build the tunnel.
The improvements would be spread over a wide area that stretches from Los Angeles and into the San Gabriel Valley. They include:
- Intersection improvements will reduce delay at individual intersections regardless of other local or regional transportation projects.
- Boosting bus service to between 10 and 30 minutes during the peak hours and between 15 and 60 minutes
during the off‐peak period. Some of the bus service enhancements almost double existing
- On‐street bicycle facilities that support access to transit facilities, including the expansion of bicycle parking facilities at existing Metro Gold Line stations.
- Expanded bicycle network will enhance access to both local destinations and the regional transit system.
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