I’m Just Sayin’:

Caltrans determined to build 710 extension

May 20, 2010|By Sharon Raghavachary

When I first served on the Crescenta Valley Town Council, I attended one of the early presentations from the California Department of Transportation on the beginning of the State Route 710 Geotechnical Study.

At that time, it seemed inconceivable that a tunnel to connect the 710 Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway was even being considered, and no one in the valley seemed to take the plan seriously. We now know that Caltrans is determined to build this tunnel, no matter what.

The impacts of the tunnel extension on the Crescenta Valley would be overwhelming, while not benefiting overall traffic congestion.

According to an analysis done by La Cañada Flintridge officials of a Southern California Assn. of Governments study, if the tunnel is completed, 75% of surface streets, such as Fair Oaks Boulevard, Fremont Avenue, Los Robles Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard, would still be gridlocked.


It’s expected that the 710 extension would worsen driving conditions in the region, and the feasibility assessment report from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority predicts that the tunnel itself would be gridlocked soon after completion.

La Cañada Flintridge’s analysis also concludes that, if the tunnel is completed by 2030, there would be a more than 25% increase in daily traffic volumes on the 210 Freeway. That would be an additional 30,000 vehicles per day; 2,500 would be trucks, and there would be 850 more trucks in the nighttime peak hour. The percentage of trucks will increase from 11% to more than 20% and, because portions of freeway will operate at a failing Level of Service, traffic will be forced onto local streets.

Besides the impact of greatly increased traffic, air quality is a major concern. The 210 Freeway cuts through the heart of residential neighborhoods in the valley and more than 30 schools — preschool through high school — are clustered along the route.

A USC California Children’s Health Study stated that there is “emerging scientific consensus that residential or school proximity to major traffic corridors is associated with respiratory impairment in children and in adults,” and residential proximity to freeways is associated with increased rates of asthma.

A group of pollutants is associated with slower growth in lung function, which is a strong predictor of “debilitating lung disease and mortality in later life,” according to the study.

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