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Metro Anticipates Approving 57/60 Freeway Widening in January, Ahead of Voter-Approved Schedule

Yesterday Metro announced that, in January, the agency's board is expected to approve moving forward with Metro's 57/60 Freeway expansion project, located in Diamond Bar in east L.A. County.

At yesterday's meeting of the Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee, staff announced that the board is scheduled to approve the LOP - the life of project budget - basically a go-ahead to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

Metro 57
Yesterday's Metro 57/60 Freeway widening slide - via Metro presentation (Note: Metro's slide claims that this project includes "bicycle facilities" but SBLA was unable to find any mention of any bicycle components in the project's 2013 environmental documentation)
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Streetsblog profiled the 57/60 widening mega-project earlier this year. Metro and Caltrans note that the intersection of the two freeways creates a “severe bottleneck,” “weaving conflicts,” “truck accidents,” and delays to commuters and freight. Metro and Caltrans assert that the widening project there will result in “Cleaner Air,” “Healthier Local Environment,” and “reducing traffic congestion.”

The 57/60 freeway widening project scope was approved in 2013, with a design tailored to serve the now-defunct NFL Grand Crossing Stadium proposed in the city of Industry.

Metro will help more drivers get to the site of canceled NFL Grand Crossing stadium Rendering of the
Metro will soon help more drivers get to the site of canceled NFL Grand Crossing NFL stadium site - by widening the Grand Avenue bridge shown on the left. Rendering via MEIS
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In 2016 L.A. County Measure M voters approved $205 million for the 57/60 project, with the funds scheduled for a 2025 groundbreaking. Metro is looking accelerate the project ahead of the voter-approved schedule - moving the major construction phase up to 2023. (This at a time when the agency is pushing back schedules on transit and bike capital projects.) Acceleration of the 57/60 project was one of the main reasons behind recent major increases in Metro's highway budget; the agency increased highway program capital spending by 80 percent last year, then an additional 33 percent this year.

The westbound side of the 57/60 interchange was already expanded. What remains is work on the eastbound side, as well as replacing the bridge over the freeway.

The 57/60 interchange project would:

    • add one new eastbound general purpose driving lane
    • add three new flyover on- and off-ramps, including a new elevated offramp through L.A. County’s Diamond Bar Golf Course.
    • widen the existing Grand Avenue bridge over the freeway (currently 72 feet wide, would be 118 feet)

Early construction activities are currently underway, including:

    • a $91 million shrinking of the public golf course, which looses five percent of its area
    • a $16.8 million expansion of Diamond Bar surface streets leading to the freeway

Those pre-construction phases are funded by Metro, but managed by the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. The SGVCOG will also manage the next phase of construction, which they put out to bid in October. According to the COG's notice to bidders, the next construction phase is anticipated to cost $270-275 million.

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