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Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, has introduced legislation that would prohibit the construction of a tunnel to extend the 710 Freeway and establish a 6.2-mile link between Alhambra and Pasadena.

“With billions of state dollars at stake and no hard evidence pointing to traffic relief for the San Gabriel Valley, it is clear that building a freeway tunnel is not a prudent option,” Holden said, calling a tunnel “`a misguided and obsolete solution.”

Holden’s Assembly Bill 287 creates the I-710 Gap Corridor Transit Zone Advisory Committee, which would include representatives from Alhambra, Los Angeles, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Caltrans, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and select members of the California Legislature.

The committee will review a wide range of mass transit options for the 6.2 mile gap between Alhambra and Pasadena, which currently are linked only by surface streets, “and recommend a viable, community-supported solution to the Department of Transportation.

“The bill specifically prohibits the Department of Transportation from constructing a freeway tunnel between the I-210 and I-10 freeways,” said a statement from Holden’s office.

“As our state and cities integrate smart growth, new technologies and transit-oriented development into our evolving transportation infrastructure, large freeway projects like the State Route 710 Tunnel are no longer necessary or environmentally sustainable.” Holden said.

Establishing a 710 Freeway extension is a controversy that has spanned decades. Last year, Caltrans began the process of selling off hundreds of houses acquired on land that was meant to be used for an overland 710 Freeway extension.

Caltrans began in the 1950s and 1960s buying empty lots, houses and apartments along the planned route of the 710 Freeway extension between Pasadena and Alhambra. The project was popular in Alhambra but hated in South Pasadena, whose residents feared their city would be hopelessly carved up and where many properties, some of it regarded as historic, would have had to be razed.

—City News Service

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