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$3B-$6B Tunnel Proposed In Contested 710 Freeway Extension

EAST LOS ANGELES ( — It is clear much still needs to be discussed as to how to close the gap between Alhambra and South Pasadena.

One of the longest-running freeway debates in the city's history continued Monday evening as sharp differences were stated and argued at an official forum.

Four local officials with differing opinions sat on the panel of the debate over whether to extend the 710 freeway all the way to South Pasadena.

The forum held at Cal State Los Angeles was announced after an environmental-impact report suggested a tunnel should be dug to extend the freeway.

Among those who argued against the idea of a tunnel to extend the freeway was South Pasadena Councilman Michael Cacciotti, who believes a light-rail and bus system would be more appropriate.

"With the same amount of money, you can build, essentially, a massive system, and there's many more benefits from a light-rail system," Cacciotti said.

Others, including Alhambra Councilwoman Barbara Messina, believe the light-rail system would be insufficient.

"The light-rail that (Councilman Cacciotti) is promoting does nothing to solve the problems," Messina said. "(The tunnel) is the only alternative that makes sense, and it solves all of the problems that the environmental impact report has to address, (such as) mobility, air quality and congestion. The other alternatives do not meet those needs."

Report estimates suggest the tunnel would take roughly five years to construct at a cost of $3 billion to $6 billion. The tunnel would connect the 710 freeway to the 210 and 134 freeway interchange in Pasadena.

The report ultimately considered five options:

  • Transporation systems/traffic management
  • Bus and rail
  • Light rail
  • Freeway tunnel
  • No construction

Additional arguments against the tunnel suggest such a project is outdated.

Two more public debates are scheduled for April on the issue.

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