Wednesday, September 16, 2009

710 Tunnel GO AWAY!!

We don't want it. STOP IT. Please write Arnold and ask him to veto SB 545!!

I rarely rant. But rant I will, now.

Currently, the 710 and 210 are nowhere near each other. The original plans to connect the two were adopted in 1959. The extension would displace families, homes and businesses along its route. Alhambra, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and most notably South Pasadena. Not to mention the irrevocable environmental impact it would have on mature landscape, soil, air, underground springs/aquifers, etc., and destruction of historic architecture, neighborhood landmarks and streetscapes. The project had been stopped and stymied by various injunctions and lawsuits, with the charge led by S. Pas.

Then, in 2002 CalTrans determined that tunnels connecting the 6.2 mile gap would be the best alternative to any of the previously proposed above grade construction. This would minimize above ground impact on homes and businesses. Nevermind the necessary gas venting, hauling away of soil, pumping away of groundwater...and that the area seems to be teeming with faultlines. Various studies have been launched since this new idea. A limited survey done by the MTA on a proposal for a shorter, 4.5 mile multilane tunnel to link MOST of the route would cost at LEAST $3 billion and take 11 years to build. Last time I checked, government projects were RARELY on budget or on time. And if this estimate of a SHORTER tunnel will be at least THREE BILLION DOLLARS and ELEVEN years...consider the more probable reality of a LONGER tunnel.

The latest study is the Geotechnical Survey/Study. It is costing 7.1 million dollars and is set to conclude by the end of 2009. It is part of a larger 2-year, $11.5 million feasibility survey. What does 7.1 million dollars get you? "Route-neutrality" to ensure all possible routes are looked at, even the most preposterous, such as running alongside an existing freeway. And a handful of drilled earth samples in 5 identified route zones, interpretation of existing geological data, and results that 3 out of the 5 possible route zones are contaminated so tunneling is not recommended in those areas (zones 1, 4, 5). Well, S. Pas (zone 3) successfully blocked the freeway from existing in their city. That leaves zone 2, my little neighborhood.

If completed, this would be the biggest and longest freeway tunnel in the Western Hemisphere. Seriously folks? The magnitude of this project doesn't seem to daunt any of the CalTrans or MTA officials during the current budget crisis. According to the Boston Globe, the Big Dig in Boston resulted in a paltry 3.5 mile tunnel and all told will cost $22 BILLION and will not be paid off until the year 2038. Why are we even considering spending this much money on a project that none of the city constituents want? Let's see, the state budget passed this summer included $15 billion in service cuts. $8.1 billion of which were in education. Hm...Yeah. A tunnel seems so much better.

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  1. Fantastic post - I'll be sending along to friends and family.

  2. Thanks so much! It was pretty crazy how few of neighbors actually knew about this. Spread the word!!