When I think of transportation solutions I think of the 1960’s cartoon show “The Jetsons” and their zippy little space cars and “Star Trek’s” transporter. These ideas owe just as much to reality as the current views on extending the Long Beach freeway. I often read comments from outraged commuters painting a 1950’s fantasy of a wide open 12 lane ribbon of asphalt gliding the commuter northward or southward to their cozy homes.
Please understand that this is not the project being considered by MTA/Caltrans. That project is long gone and maybe it really never even existed.
What is under consideration is a foreign owned tax payer funded toll tunnel. With a projected toll of $5-$15 per trip it is assumed that it would mainly utilized by commercial trucks moving goods to and from the port. The tunnel, with fewer lanes than the connecting freeways will create bottlenecks and gridlock in both directions which will increase the traffic on surface streets in the area as drivers search for alternate routes.
The freeway will be constructed over at least a 10 year period with construction ongoing 24 hours a day 7 days a week as semi truckloads of the removed earth travel the local roads.
There has never been an accurate estimate of the cost. The differences between estimates are in the tens of billions of dollars before over-runs. This kind of expenditure sucks the funds from more practical local transportation projects.
The boring machine proposed to dig the tunnel has never been used before and does not even exist. The closest comparison is Big Bertha which has currently broken down beneath Seattle with no repair in sight.
The concentrated exhaust emissions from the tunnel are far more dangerous that from an open freeway (and even those are a killer.) The proposed system to scrub the tunnel emissions does not exist and if it were designed and built it may be too expensive and difficult to maintain to be included.
And this is only the beginning of a list of the problems.
If we are going to dream, please let’s make it a happy dream and not a nightmare.