Metro Planning Committee Approves $294 Million for 57/60 Freeway Widening
This morning the Metro board Planning and Programming Committee approved $293.6 million for the next phase of expanding the 57/60 Freeway in the east San Gabriel Valley city of Diamond Bar. The item goes to next week’s full Metro board meeting for final approval.
The project adds one more eastbound lane to the 57/60 confluence. It also adds new and widened on- and off-ramps, and widens streets leading to the freeway.
The Metro staff report notes that the 57/60 project is a partnership with Caltrans and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG).
Metro has recently emphasized that the 57/60 widening is a “multimodal” project, including in the staff report and in a later presentation this morning delivered by Ernesto Chaves, Metro’s Executive Officer for Complete Streets and Highways. The staff report states that the project is consistent with “a holistic and multimodal approach to highway planning.” The reality is that the project includes a short stretch – about 600 feet – of isolated bikeway and sidewalk improvements – compared to more than 8 miles of new lane miles for driving. Per Metro, the short new bike lanes (which do not appear anywhere on Metro’s project website) are only on the Grand Avenue Bridge, so they fail to even connect to nearby bike lanes on Golden Springs Drive – only about 500 feet away down Grand Avenue (which the the 57/60 project is widening by about 20 feet – so more than enough room for new bike lanes, if multi-modal was the priority there).
Not counting two early project phases (completed about a half decade ago – on the north side of the confluence), the current 57/60 mega-project budget now totals $401.4 million. Two early phases are currently under construction: a $91 million reconfiguration (shrinking) of the county’s Diamond Bar Golf Course, and a $16.8 million widening of Grand Avenue and Golden Springs Drive. Not long after today’s committee approval of the “final” $293.6 million, Chaves expressed concern about potential cost overruns, noting “volatility of material costs may result in higher construction costs.”
If approved by the Metro board, construction (managed by the SGVCOG) is anticipated to get underway this Spring. Metro’s project page forecasts an opening date from 2026-2028.