Beyond the 710 believes that the proposed 710 Tunnel would not only devastate communities, it would be a massive waste of money that could be much better spent on different projects. It is a poor and expensive solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist. Caltrans’ and Metro’s own studies show that the billions of dollars would not appreciably improve anyone’s commute, and would further congestion on already overloaded freeways.
[TBM stands for Tunnel Boring Machine]
Additional Reasons Why the Tunnel is a Bad Idea
- The SR-710 North Extension is not being built for commuters. It's intended as part of a goods movement system that ties into the Expansion of the I-710 Freeway and the High Desert Corridor. (1)
- These 4.9 mile tunnels will not have exits or onramps, further demonstrating that it is not designed for local commuters, but pass-through traffic from the Ports.
- The SR-710 North Extension (tunnel(s) would connect the lower I-710 Freeway with the already heavily congested I-210 Freeway which will lead to gridlock conditions for everyone. (2)
- Cost - Government sources have quoted project cost ranges between $1 - $14 billion to build the tunnel. The current figures being used by LACMTA is $5.425 billion and SCAG is $5.636 billion. The smaller "Big Dig" tunnel, (only 3.5-mile long) was estimated to cost $2.8 billion in 1982 dollars. However, the Boston Globe has estimated that the project will ultimately cost $24 billion, including interest, and that it will not be paid off until 2038. (3)
- To pay for the huge construction and upkeep costs (lacking in current estimates), a public-private partnership must be forged. These investors need to make a profit from this deal and tolls will be charged. Tolls create diversion traffic. (4) Drivers unwilling to pay the "average" fees of $5.64 for cars and $15.23 for cargo trucks (5) will likely take the "short cut" through local neighborhood streets.
- InfraConsult, a financial consultant, provided a forecast volume of 190,000 annual average daily traffic in the SR-710 North Tunnel for the year 2030 to which a diversion rate of 35% has been applied.(4) It is possible that a public-private partnership for the 710 tunnel(s) will fail like other toll roads because the forecasts were based on FLAWED traffic projections (6) and traffic volumes may be much lower than expected.(7)
- The risk of being killed in a traffic accident occurring in a tunnel is twice as high as on open stretches of motorways. (8)
- Roadway tunnels are inherently dangerous. If a fire occurs, there is no easy way out of a tunnel, especially for those with limited mobility. (9)
- Vehicle exhaust cannot be properly filtered and will lead to health issues not only for the drivers who use the tunnel (10) but also for the surrounding communities where the exhaust is vented. (11)