Metro is conducting soil tests in Alhambra and neighboring areas in March and April as part of its study of the 710 Freeway and the various alternatives for closing the 710 gap. The initial soil testing — which consists of ground-level measurement, geotechnical boring through soil and rock, and vibration testing — started Monday in Alhambra and concludes Friday.
In recent months, Metro and Caltrans have hosted a series of engagement workshops on the 710 Freeway project, including three open house workshops regarding the five alternative options for closing the 710 Freeway gap between Alhambra and Pasadena.
The workshops — which took place in Pasadena, San Marino, and at Cal State LA — provided the public with the opportunity to meet with the technical staff and discuss the five proposed options for closing the gap, said Helen Ortiz Gilstrap, communications manager for Metro. The alternatives include “no build,” traffic management solutions, bus light rail, and an underground freeway tunnel.
According to Metro, the options proposed will “accommodate north-south travel demands” in the San Gabriel Valley and areas of Los Angeles, reduce regional traffic and congestion, minimize environmental hazards, and improve “regional freeway and transit networks.”
Many residents of El Sereno, South Pasadena, Pasadena, and neighboring cities have expressed their concern over the construction of a possible tunnel, one of the options to close the 710 gap – citing problems such as increased congestion, trucks, or the addition of a possible toll fee, which would discourage individuals from using a tunnel.
Alhambra, San Marino, Monterey Park, and, most recently, Rosemead have all expressed their support for the extension of the 710 Freeway. In an e-mail interview, Congresswoman Judy Chu told Alhambra Source that she also supports a solution to the 710 gap and the completion of Metro’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which will assess the impact of different extension alternatives and be released in 2014.
Despite Alhambra City Council’s support of a tunnel, some residents question that the proposed solution, which is estimated to cost around $5.4 billion dollars if constructed, would be a feasible idea.
During a November 2012 Alhambra City Council meeting, residents debated the prospects of the tunnel and 710 extension. After transportation officials from Metro and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) presented the options, various residents came to the podium to make impassioned pleas against the tunnel.
One resident argued that the construction of a tunnel between the 10 and 210 freeways would not solve any of “San Gabriel’s issues” and would only increase street traffic in the San Gabriel Valley.
“We’ve got 50,000 [cars] right now getting off on Valley Boulevard,” the resident said. “If you get another 190,000 cars trying to get into this tunnel and you got to pay a toll, guess where they’re going to go? In the streets in the San Gabriel Valley.”
A decision won’t be made until the EIR, required by the California Environmental Quality Act, and the Environmental Impact Statement, required by the National Environmental Protection Act, are released in 2014.