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Proposed 710 Plan Could Make the Freeway 10 Lanes Wide

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The Source reports that Caltrans has released the draft environmental impact review for the I-710 Corridor Project, which does not (repeat does not) include any tunneling or extending the 710 of any variety, so just stay calm (for now). The study does propose "to improve Interstate 710 (I-710, also known as the Long Beach Freeway) in Los Angeles County between Ocean Blvd. and State Route 60 (SR-60)." Just so we're completely clear: the 60 crosses the 710 quite a bit south of where the 710 ends, so you don't have to worry about any tunnels. According to the draft EIR, the current study piggybacks on the work of the 2005 I-710 Major Corridor Study, which addressed the 710's noxious health outcomes "related to high levels of diesel particulate emissions, traffic congestion, high truck volumes, high accident rates, and many design features in need of modernization." The high truck volumes are caused by freight moving from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific rail yards in Commerce and Vernon. Moreover, "Combined port activity in the Study Area is expected to increase from the handling of 14 million annual twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2008 to approximately 43 million annual TEUs in 2035."

To resolve the problems created by all that gnarly traffic, the 2005 study "identified a community-based Locally Preferred Strategy consisting of ten general purpose lanes next to four separated freight-movement lanes." Which brings us to the current EIR. According to the report, "Major elements addressed in the Draft EIR/EIS include widening the I-710 freeway up to ten general purpose lanes (five lanes in each direction)." The DEIR also looks at options for "modernizing and reconfiguring the I-405, SR-91 and a portion of the I-5 interchanges with the I-710; modernizing and reconfiguring most local arterial interchanges along the I-710; and looking at a provision of a separate four-lane freight corridor to be used by conventional or zero-emission trucks" (more on that very cool option here).

The first public hearing on the project was held today in Downey, but Long Beach and Commerce will also get their chance to air out their concerns later this week.
· I-710 Corridor Project draft EIR/EIS statement released [The Source]
· The 710 Could Become the World's First Electric eHighway [Curbed LA]
· I-710 CORRIDOR PROJECT [Caltrans District 7]