Long Beach sets aside $5 million for freeway study
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted last week to appropriate $5 million toward the cost of an environmental impact study for a proposed $5.5 billion overhaul of the congestion-plagued Long Beach Freeway (Interstate 710). The freeway is a key cargo corridor, upon which a huge percentage of the 13.1 million TEUs that arrived at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles traveled in 2004.
The vote also endorsed the creation of a multijurisdictional entity to develop the environmental impact study. The study would examine design alternatives and evaluate benefits and impacts of widening the 50-year-old freeway to 14 lanes from the existing six to 10 lanes, including a four-lane truck component that would separate passenger cars from container-hauling trucks.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is spearheading the I-710 project, estimates that the environmental study will cost $30 million and take three to four years to complete. In addition to the contribution from the Port of Long Beach, the MTA is seeking $5 million each from the state Department of Transportation, Southern California Association of Governments, and the Port of Los Angeles.
The MTA also is seeking $1 million from the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, a coalition of cities that lie along the I-710 corridor, and is applying for a $4 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration.