Why there are still no signs of the President Barack H. Obama Highway

EAGLE ROCK — Last summer the state legislature approved naming a stretch of the 134 Freeway in honor of Barack Obama. But motorists traveling on the 134 through Eagle Rock and Pasadena are probably not aware they are driving on the President Barack H. Obama Highway because there are no signs saying so.  And there won’t be any signs until private sponsorships are raised to pay for them.

Under government highway sign guidelines, it’s up to State Sen. Anthony Portantino, who  sponsored the Obama Highway legislation, to secure private donations and sponsorships to pay for the signs, according to Caltrans.

“Senator Anthony Portantino’s office is still working on sponsorship for the signs,” said Caltrans spokesman Tim Weisberg. “No date has been set for the roadside signs to be installed.”

The plan had been place two ground mounted signs saying “President Barack H. Obama Highway” in each direction of the 134 between the 2 Freeway on the west and the 210 Freeway on the east, Weisberg said.

Initial estimates to make and install two roadside signs were about $5,000, according to Weisberg. The process typically takes a few months to complete.

There had been proposals from Portantino’s office to place overhead signs — instead of those along the side of the road– at the westbound 210/134 split as you are leaving Pasadena and near the eastbound 134 and 2 freeways as you enter Eagle Rock. “But they are not likely to move forward with this plan,” Weisberg said.

The Eastsider has contacted Portantino’s office to find out where the sponsorships stand.

Portantino said his resolution was inspired by community activists who suggested the idea after the City of Pasadena installed a commemorative plaque in honor of Obama on the apartment building where he lived while attending Occidental College in Eagle Rock between 1979 and 1981.

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