Los Angeles County is getting set to build its first new freeway in 25 years
The last freeway to be built in the Los Angeles County was the Century Freeway (Interstate 105) in 1993, which officials claimed would more than likely be the last of the great Southern California freeways. It appears that Southern California will get a new freeway because the California Department of Transportation, in cooperation with a joint powers authority, will begin buying land starting in June to build a 63-mile high desert freeway connecting the Los Angeles County communities of Lancaster and Palmdale with the San Bernardino County communities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, and Victorville. Officials claim that the $8 billion project, which will be constructed north of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, would relieve anticipated traffic congestion in the fast-growing region. The new freeway would create a link between State Route 14 and Interstate 15 and reduce gridlock on Los Angeles-area roads including the 210, 10 and 60 freeways. Ryan McEachron, coordinator of the joint powers authority, stated,
This is an exciting, high-priority project. Some would argue we need it immediately, given the traffic congestion on existing freeways, which is only going to get worse.
The environmental impact report has already been approved and right of way agents will begin acquiring land this spring with $274 million generated by Measure M, which is the sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2016 to build transportation projects over the next 40 years. However, critics argue that the project would induce sprawl, traffic congestion and air pollution. A lawsuit was filed by Climate Resolve in Los Angeles Superior Court that challenges the validity of corridor’s environmental impact report and the lawsuit is expected to go to trial later this year. Another obstacle for the planned freeway is San Bernardino County’s ability to pay for its stretch of right of way, which must be 500 feet wide in order to accommodate the freeway and rail, which hasn’t been settled. We will have to wait and see if the new freeway actually gets built entirely or in phases as funding becomes available.