Caltrans awards $1 billion for I-710 Corridor projects

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By Alfredo Santana

Contributing Writer

SOUTH GATE The California Transportation Agency has awarded $1.038 billion for a variety of new projects, including emissions control and improved traffic safety, within the Long Beach to East Los Angeles corridor, according to an MTA official.

Michael Cano, executive officer of federal and state policy and programming with the MTA, made the announcement at a meeting of local taskforce and community leaders Monday.

Of that money, $383 million will be allocated to the port of Long Beach to complete a set of clean air tech projects that include zero emission locomotives, tugboats and container handlers, and $158.4 million for a dock to shift truck cargo to rails. 

The California Transportation Commission has also awarded $74.5 million to fund 13 public projects in Cudahy, Downey, Huntington Park, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate, Los Angeles and unincorporated areas, Carson and Signal Hill. 

Also $14.5 million were to be funneled to support initiatives under the Southeast Los Angeles Transit Improvement Projects such as bus stop canopies and benches, lighting and displays for on demand bus arrival times. 

Additionally, an award of $27.8 million will support an alert system available through an app to alert drivers on the Long Beach freeway of crashes and to devise escape routes in the corridor.  

Cano said the results of the corridor’s working groups combined with that of municipalities and local transportation agencies are being noticed in Sacramento, and pledged to push for more resources tied to Measures M and R. 

“We are going to leverage the heck out of them to get more funding,” he said 

At the Monday meeting, the first group of projects aimed at lowering carbon pollution and improving traffic along the I-710 Long Beach to East Los Angeles corridor were vetted for safety issues with a backdrop of new state allocations to fund zero emission initiatives. 

In the first of two meetings scheduled this month, local taskforce and community leaders evaluated projects from a list of 200 seeking funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other public agencies. 

One project calls for upgrades at intersection with the I-91 Artesia freeway and Alondra Boulevard and improvements to traffic’s entry and exits for safety of pedestrians and bike riders. 

The project’s description includes revamping the freeway’s street interchange to reduce vehicles’ weaving and improvements to make room for bike and pedestrian connections across the I-710 and the Los Angeles River channel. 

None of these complex projects will be forwarded to the MTA’s board of directors for approval until they are rigorously vetted by all stakeholders, including traffic experts, assured tech team member John Overman.

“These projects are not going to move forward until they incur a significant amount of assessment,” he said. 

Cano said the evaluation process can be tweaked to incorporate feedback related to broader safety concerns in projects directly involving vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

The other projects picked for safety evaluation were the West Santa Ana Transit Corridor, the Long Beach-East LA Corridor Clean Truck Program, the LA River Path-Central LA, Vocational educational programs, and the Atlantic Complete Street corridor. 

Jessica Medina, manager of equity and race with the MTA, said kicking off safety vetting for the Compton project titled I-710 /Alondra Interchange Improvements & Modifications of SB I-710 to SR-91 Connectors was “a bit confusing” in that coding for each of the seven tools lacked definition.

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