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MTA hears opposition grow louder to 710 Freeway tunnel plan

September 28, 2012 | 10:00 am

Tunnel opponents

The MTA's proposed tunnel that would extend the Long Beach (710) Freeway through Pasadena is facing growing opposition.

Calling the tunnel flawed and outdated, a coalition of local and state officials joined dozens of other tunnel opponents on Thursday to urge the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board to ditch the controversial tunnel.

The proposed extension, which would connect the 710 to the Foothill (210) Freeway, has come under fire on the grounds that it would add to air pollution and traffic. But the 4.5-mile tunnel has earned particularly harsh criticism.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) on Thursday called the tunnel option an “Eisenhower-era” project that would do nothing to alleviate gridlock traffic on arterial surface streets in South Pasadena, Alhambra and other cities that take the brunt of traffic coming off the terminus of the 710 Freeway.

"When this process started we were told it was going to achieve consensus,” Portantino said. “This is consensus that this is a bad project."

The MTA has narrowed the scope of possible routes for closing the so-called "710 gap" to five options — one of them the tunnel. But last month, even the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to oppose the tunnel extension.

MTA officials have maintained that they do not favor one option over another.

An environmental impact report on the freeway extension alternatives is expected to be released in the winter of 2014.

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-- Jason Wells and Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Photo: Glendale City Councilman and MTA board member Ara Najarian calls for the 710 Freeway tunnel extension to be dropped from consideration. Credit: Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press

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