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Interstate 710 Descriptions


The southern terminus of the freeway presently signed as Interstate 710 is at Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. From there, the Long Beach Freeway follows the course of the Los Angeles River to Atlantic Boulevard in the city of Bell. 710 then travels roughly due north, east of Downtown Los Angeles, to its current northern terminus at Valley Boulevard (just north of Interstate 10) in Alhambra, just east of the Los Angeles community of El Sereno.

Near its southern terminus, 710 actually separates into three spur freeways. The first spur carries the Long Beach Freeway designation heading toward Downtown Long Beach and becomes Shoreline Drive after the 6th and 9th Street exits, while the Interstate 710 designation continues on N. Harbor Scenic Drive up to an interchange with Ocean Boulevard. The second spur heads down S. Harbor Scenic Drive after the interchange to the eastern piers of the Port of Long Beach and the Queen Mary. The third spur heads west down Ocean Boulevard, which carries the Interstate 710 designation over Gerald Desmond Bridge onto Terminal Island, where the interstate designation eventually terminates.

There is however a part of the 710 in Pasadena that is constructed to freeway standards, extending from California Boulevard north to the Foothill (I-210)/Ventura (Hwy 134) freeway interchange. But the route designation on this freeway stub is unsigned, and is instead marked if it were merely freeway entrance and exit ramps to and from 210.


1930 to 1965

Legislative Route 167 was defined in 1933 to run from San Pedro east to Long Beach and north to Monterey Park. An extension was added in 1947, taking it north to Pasadena. State Route 15 was signed in 1934 along the section of Legislative Route 167 from Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 3, later U.S. Route 101 Alternate, now State Route 1) in Long Beach north to Garvey Avenue (U.S. Route 99, replaced by Interstate 10) in Monterey Park. The original pre-freeway alignment ran along Los Robles Avenue (Pasadena) and Atlantic Boulevard.The freeway replacement of SR 15/LR 167 was built from 1953 to 1965. The whole route of LR 167, including the proposed extensions west to San Pedro and north to Pasadena, was renumbered State Route 7 in the 1964 after it was decommissioned from portions of San Diego Freeway which is now Interstate 405 state highway renumbering, as the number 15 conflicted with Interstate 15. In 1965 the route was truncated to State Route 1 in Long Beach; the part from SR 1 south and west to State Route 47 was deleted, and the rest from SR 47 west to State Route 11 (now Interstate 110) became part of SR 47.

1965 to present

The section of Long Beach Freeway was built from 1954 to 1975. The Long Beach Freeway was approved as a chargeable interstate in September 1983, and the Long Beach Freeway changed out the SR 7 signs with Interstate 710 in 1984. It was added shortly after the Harbor Freeway went up changing out the SR 11 signs with Interstate 110 in 1981. The short stub in Pasadena was built in 1975, along with the adjacent sections of Interstate 210 and State Route 134.

The section from SR 1 south and west to SR 47 was re-added to the legislative definition at some point. The existing freeway from SR 1 south to Ocean Boulevard was taken over by the state on August 25, 2000 in a trade with the City of Long Beach for former State Route 103 north of SR 1. The rest of the defined route, west on Ocean Boulevard to SR 47, is still locally maintained.


I-710 Corridor Project

The explosive growth of cargo volumes handled at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has added an enormous amount of truck traffic to the Long Beach Freeway, since it is the most direct route between the port complex and the railyards in Vernon and East Los Angeles, as well as the Pomona and San Bernardino freeways that connect Los Angeles to railyards in San Bernardino and Colton. The freeway's pavement has been badly damaged as a result, since it was not designed to carry nearly as large of a load of truck traffic. It has also become a major source of air pollution, emanating from diesel-fueled trucks idling in rush hour traffic congestion and giving cities along its route some of the worst air quality in already smoggy Southern California. In response, an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report is currently being conducted to analyze possible significant improvements to I-710 between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and the Pomona Freeway (SR-60).

The South Pasadena Gap


The planned segment from Alhambra to Pasadena through South Pasadena has been subject to legal battles and has not been built yet. Because of these disputes, the freeway's northern terminus has been Valley Boulevard since the 1960s. However, a short unsigned freeway does exist in Pasadena, heading south from the interchange of Interstate 210 and State Route 134 to California Boulevard.

As a result of the route's incomplete condition, freeway signs are inconsistent in their identification of the northbound Long Beach Freeway's destination, with some indicating Pasadena as a control city and others identifying Valley Boulevard as the freeway's terminus. For example, approaching I-710 from State Route 60 (Pomona Freeway) in East Los Angeles, westbound traffic is given Valley Boulevard as the destination for northbound I-710, while eastbound traffic is given a destination of Pasadena. Even signs at the interchange with Interstate 105 show Pasadena as the destination for northbound I-710.

This signage suggests that Caltrans still fully expected to extend I-710 to Pasadena at that time, decades after the original proposals for the route through South Pasadena were defeated. Currently, traffic headed for Pasadena on I-710 is redirected to Interstate 10 (San Bernardino Freeway) eastbound by signs at the interchange between the two routes in Monterey Park. These signs identify both Pasadena and San Bernardino as control cities for the eastbound San Bernardino Freeway, although it does not actually pass through Pasadena. Rather, traffic destined for the city is directed to take State Route 19 (Rosemead Boulevard) northbound from its junction with I-10 (about 6 miles (9.7 km) east of the Long Beach Freeway) to reach Pasadena. In reality, however, most traffic from northbound I-710 is forced onto Fremont Avenue in Alhambra and South Pasadena, and the Pasadena Freeway (State Route 110).

The failure to complete the Long Beach Freeway—combined with the failure to complete the Glendale Freeway, which would have provided another alternate route to downtown Los Angeles—has contributed to severe traffic congestion in northeastern Los Angeles and the northwestern San Gabriel Valley. As a result of the gap through South Pasadena, there are no completed north–south freeways in the twelve-mile-long heavily populated area between Interstate 5 (Golden State Freeway) and Interstate 605 (San Gabriel River Freeway). Pro- and anti-710 lobbies have heavily debated whether finishing I-710 would alleviate any of the San Gabriel Valley's traffic congestion, or merely displace it from surface streets to the freeway.

Historic plans

The original plans for the unbuilt segment through South Pasadena had the freeway run parallel to Atlantic Boulevard in Alhambra and Los Robles Avenue in San Marino and Pasadena. However, opposition to this route by the people of Alhambra and San Marino resulted in an alternate routing that skirted Alhambra to the west and bisected South Pasadena. Subsequent opposition to the rerouted project by residents of South Pasadena and the Los Angeles district of El Sereno, and the resulting litigation, have prevented Caltrans from completing the northernmost leg of the route.

Current plans

Currently, Caltrans is researching the possibility of using advanced tunneling technologies to build the Long Beach Freeway under South Pasadena without disturbing the residential neighborhoods on the surface, similar to other tunnels through similarly sensitive cities like Versailles in France. The proposed twin 4.5-mile-long tunnels would be the longest in the United States, but are small compared with others around the world.

South Pasadena's government has grudgingly conceded that it may assent to such a project. However, it is unclear whether this option would be financially feasible. Caltrans has indicated that the South Pasadena real estate that it owns along the original 710 right-of-way, which has appreciated several hundred percent in real terms since its acquisition in the mid-1960s, would currently command a sufficiently high price to pay for the state's share of the tunnel.

Between January and May 2009, Caltrans conducted soil samples for the tunneling project in the Pasadena area.

If the segment is eventually completed, the Long Beach Freeway and the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) would form a continuous route around Los Angeles from Long Beach northwards through Pasadena, beyond the Verdugo Mountains via the Crescenta Valley, across the sparsely populated hills in Sunland-Tujunga and finally joining Interstate 5 at Newhall Pass at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley. Interstate 210 from Newhall Pass to Pasadena was expanded to eight lanes in anticipation of this.


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