After what has been about a five-year push to ensure the review of Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) I-405 Freeway improvement project includes its impact on Long Beach, the city announced today that it has reached a $13 million settlement agreement with OCTA and California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) for multiple corridor safety and traffic mitigation improvements.
OCTA has proposed a 16-mile stretch of the I-405 freeway from State Route 73 in Orange County to Interstate 605 in Long Beach be widened.
“While this project is not in Long Beach, it has the potential to impact the city,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “We are thankful that the City Attorney negotiated a settlement that will result in some major traffic and infrastructure improvements in East Long Beach.”
The city filed the litigation in 2015 that alleged the proposed I-405 widening project could cause “serious traffic impacts in Long Beach and that CalTrans and OCTA had failed to properly analyze or mitigate these impacts in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project,” according to the release.
The improvements provided for in the settlement agreement will “adequately address” the traffic and safety issues posed by the widening project.
“It was necessary for Long Beach to take steps to account for the potential increase in traffic that may result during the widening of the I-405,” City Attorney Charles Parkin said in a statement. “We believe that the improvements included in this agreement will address the traffic and safety issues posed by the project.”
Under the agreement, the city will receive a robust package of traffic mitigation projects valued at just over $13 million, according to the release. Long Beach will serve as the implementing agency for most of the projects, meaning the city will be primarily responsible for constructing the traffic improvements using funds supplied by OCTA or CalTrans.
“It’s great to hear that a settlement has been reached. It’s important that we make sure our roadways here in Long Beach are cared for when major projects like this can affect them,” Councilmember Suzie Price said in a statement.
The $13 million in incoming funds, that are contingent on OCTA and CalTrans proceeding with their plans to widen the I-405, will be used to enhance sections of Willow Street, Los Coyotes Diagonal and Bellflower Boulevard, as well as parts of State Route 22 (SR-22)/Studebaker Road, 7th Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
Each location was selected based on traffic studies and data that showed impact from the project on those specific areas, according to the city. The improvements will proceed once the settlement funds from OCTA and CalTrans have been received.