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Alhambra Street Banners Highlight Effort To 'Close The Gap' On 710 Freeway

ALHAMBRA ( — "How Do You Spell Relief?"

That's just one of the slogans featured on several newly-installed banners in the city of Alhambra to support a 55-year effort to complete a proposed tunnel that will connect the 710 Freeway at Valley Boulevard to the 134 and 210 Freeways in Pasadena.

KNX 1070's Jan Stevens reports the banners will be displayed along Fremont and Valley Boulevards and will extend north along the main corridor of Alhambra.

Alhambra Street Banners Highlight Effort To 'Close The Gap' On 710 Freeway

Metro and Caltrans officials announced last month an environmental impact report (EIR) for the State Route 710 North Study will be released for public comment in February 2015.

City Councilwoman Barbara Messina and other supporters of the project say once it's completed, the 710 tunnel will slash traffic clogging local streets by 61 percent, reduce 80,000 daily cut-through trips and create an estimated 43,000 jobs.

In order to drum up public support for the controversial project, several banners with phrases including "Complete the 710 Freeway" and "Dig It…The 710 Tunnel" will go up starting Tuesday.

Messina said 40 years after the then-$6 million project was introduced - funding which ultimately was used for the Diamond Lane project - the cost has skyrocketed to $5 billion.

"There are five alternatives that are being studied, but of the five only one has financing, and that's the tunnel," she said.

But opponents like the No 710 Action Committee argue that vehicle exhaust produced by the increased traffic flow cannot be properly filtered and will lead to health issues not only for the drivers who use the tunnel, but also for the surrounding communities where the exhaust is vented.

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