Superfund, Fault Lines, Groundwater All in the Way…Let’s Dig a Tunnel!

Screen_shot_2009_11_18_at_8.41.40_AM.pngMap of fault lines and recent earthquakes in Southern California. Map: USGS.gov

I wonder if it’s still too soon to criticize the concept of digging a tunnel to connect the 710 Tunnel to the I-210.

To the absolute surprise of nobody that’s ever dealt with a freeway agency, a study completed by Caltrans gives the green light, at least scientifically speaking, for California to have its very own big dig.  A geological study of the area determined that digging the tunnel is scientifically possible, although it does not give a recommendation on what of the five routes studied would be the best place to bury our taxpayer dollars in the ground.

The Times gives an overview of the problems with each zone. For example:

Zone 4 (San Marino/Pasadena): Active faults that cross the zone are the Raymond and Alhambra Wash faults.

There is one Superfund site in the southwestern end of the zone.

There are also six other sites with various levels of soil contamination.

Add in some public opposition and you have a challenge!  There’s nothing that transportation agencies like more than dealing with a challenge!  So the project is an unpopular, environmental disaster that’s going to require tunneling around some fault lines and super fund sites.  That’s why we employ traffic engineers who know how to move cars.

Public hearings will be held early next year before the report is finalized.  Hopefully we’ll get the word from Caltrans that it’s ok to start criticizing the project sometime before then.

  • Anonymous

    The expense and challenge of building a tunnel is exactly why the I-710 gap closure should be built as a surface freeway.

  • nobody

    Really, they should just make an alternative that ends this around Huntington Drive. A lot of the congestion in the area would vanish if they did so. No use wasting the money to connect the 710 all the way to the 210, when the same benefits could be obtained by connecting to a more suitable road for the volumes on that freeway.

  • Watch KABCTV Channel 7 tongiht at 5:30pm & at 11pm
    They may be reporting on this subject!

  • Another Angeleno

    This “No We Can’t” attitude emerges only when a proposal offers to move cars more efficiently. I have yet to see any rational opposition to the 710 tunnel. Note the same people fighting the 710 tunnel support tunneling twice as many miles under Wilshire for a subway — I support that too, by the way… we need a comprehensive approach: mass transit AND more freeway capacity to meet future demand.

  • Sam

    It’s true. Scare tactics delayed the Wilshire Subway a couple of decades and here we go again, deja vu, with this blog post. Some things never change.

  • There are better ways to opposing the 710 project than resorting to fear tactics. We don’t like it when it’s done to transit projects, so we shouldn’t do it to freeway projects.

  • John F. Conroy

    Build a “flyover” like the Harbor Freeway downtown. Two lanes each way, and leave room for a Gold line connection. NO on or off ramps in South Pasadena. Over 30 years of NIMBY-ism is quite enough, thank you.

  • limit

    Multi modal solutions are key. However, I would also like to see additional options such as a cut and cover middle ground.

  • Build it. I’m a big mass transit supporter, too, but this isn’t like other freeway expansion projects. This completes a gap that’s caused problems for more than four decades. It’s not a matter of “golly, this freeway’s crowded; let’s make it bigger.” It’s a matter of improving connectivity and diverting traffic away from surface streets and downtown L.A.

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