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.

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