L.A. officials propose tunnel to connect freeways

| 8/11/2005

They might want to give Boston a call first.

Officials in Los Angeles have proposed a deep solution to a freeway argument that has been going on for years: dig a tunnel.

Transportation planners have been trying for decades to connect the Foothill Freeway in Pasadena with the Long Beach Freeway in Alhambra, but they have been hampered in their efforts by a group of residents who don’t want the freeway running through their back yards.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the idea of tunneling the five-mile freeway extension beneath the homes is beginning to gain support.

Earlier this month, Congress approved $2.4 million to study the feasibility of building the tunnel, which would cost an estimated $2 billion. By contrast, Boston’s Big Dig project, which includes the 2.6-mile-long Ted Williams Tunnel, has cost $14.6 billion – so far. Ongoing battles with leaks continue to add costs to that project.

But even if the feasibility study finds that it’s, well, feasible, the California tunnel would still be years away. Environmental impact reports, engineering plans and financing would have to be worked out first.