Long Beach Freeway options discussed for relieving gridlock

| 5/3/2002

Adding elevated truck lanes, truck-only connector ramps and truck bypass lanes were among 12 suggestions discussed April 30 by a coalition of government agencies to deal with the congested Long Beach Freeway, according the Los Angeles Times. Truck tolls were listed as a way to finance alternatives.

A committee of local officials is scheduled to narrow options to five by June before choosing the final plan next spring. Ultimately, the selected alternative likely would need funding approval by a state or regional transit agency.

The 710 freeway was designed in the 1950s, assuming big rigs would represent only 5 percent of traffic. But today, trucks account for 13 percent of the freeway's traffic between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with one estimate figuring truck traffic will triple by 2020 because of increased trade with Pacific Rim nations.

Alternatives selected by the committee include:

· Adding two elevated truck lanes in each direction along the median;
· Encouraging ports and truckdrivers to shift schedules to keep trucks off the freeway during peak driving times;
· Improving freeway interchanges and add truck-only connector ramps in some locations;
· Eliminating cloverleaf-shaped ramps to make navigating curves truck-friendly;
· Building special truck bypass lanes allowing truckers to avoid congestion at the interchanges with the San Diego, Artesia and Century freeways.

Another consideration is to do nothing beyond pavement and median improvements already underway.