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Metro and Caltrans Quietly Canceled 110 Freeway Expansion Project

The 110 Freeway Adams Terminus Improvement Project would have extended a 2000+foot long ramp from below 28th Street to Figueroa Street near USC

Caltrans planned 110 Freeway flyover off-ramp next to St. John’s Cathedral. Image via Caltrans MND document

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Metro and Caltrans have canceled a large-scale new flyover offramp planned for the 110 freeway near downtown Los Angeles.

The 110 Adams Terminus Improvement Project would have extended a 2000+foot long ramp from below 28th Street to Figueroa Street.

This week Metro shared news of the project cancellation via a "board box" letter - a mostly internal communication that Twitter's Metro document sleuth @numble shared.

According to the Metro letter, a lawsuit against Caltrans and Metro forced them to do full environmental impact studies. The agencies had prepared a MND (mitigated negative declaration) with FONSI (finding of no significant impact) in 2018, but the lawsuit challenged that, forcing Metro to do a full EIR (Environmental Impact Report).

Upon further study, Caltrans and Metro found the new elevated structure would have "significant environmental and community impacts," leading them to select the no-build alternative - effectively canceling the project.

The 2018 lawsuit was brought by the West Adams Heritage Association, the Adams Dockweiler Heritage Organizing Committee, and Friends of St. John's Cathedral.

The plaintiff's attorney Amy Minteer summarizes the case, "Our overarching arguments were that the flyover would have adverse impacts on the surrounding historic resources, in particular St. John’s Cathedral, that it would divide and severely impact the existing University Park community, would conflict with the city’s My Figueroa Plan, and would also have aesthetic, traffic, GHG [greenhouse gas], and urban decay impacts."

Minteer notes that Caltrans proposed the flyover in the 1980s. It met with controversy at the time, and in the early '90s, Caltrans decided against the project. Then, zombie-like, the project came back to life just over a decade ago. According to Minteer, Caltrans then stated it would do an EIR for the project, but prepared the MND/FONSI instead.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018. The following year, Caltrans and Metro agreed to a settlement in which they committed to a full EIR. The agencies kicked off scoping meetings in 2021. Those EIR studies led to Metro and Caltrans' decision not to build the project

West Adams Heritage Association Vice President Jean Frost told Streetsblog, "It took years of organizing, reaching out, getting expert opinion, and coordinating a campaign against a terrible idea that ought not to have gained traction."

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