Drivers who use the 91 freeway in Long Beach should expect more traffic congestion for the next few years if two projects Los Angeles County Metro has planned move forward.

The transit agency is looking to widen the 91 Freeway eastbound from Atlantic Avenue to Cherry Avenue and westbound from Shoemaker Avenue to Alondra Boulevard.

The Metro board’s Construction Committee this week recommended spending $65.1 million to hire Arcadis U.S. to manage construction of the projects. The full board is expected to vote on the contract on Sept. 28.

Funding will come from sales tax revenue from the county’s Measures R and M, according to a staff report. Construction will be paid for with Measure R and state grant dollars.

The eastbound project in North Long Beach will include a new auxiliary lane from the southbound 710 Freeway to the eastbound 91 to improve safety and reduce traffic during peak hours by making it easier to merge onto the freeway.

The proposed improvements of about 3 miles on the westbound freeway in Artesia and Cerritos include a three-lane exit from the 91 to 605 freeways, more distance for merging, fixing on-ramps and simplifying the exit at Alondra Boulevard and northbound 605.

No homes or businesses will be displaced, according to the staff report, but these sections of freeway are located in already pollution-burdened neighborhoods. Because the projects would disproportionately impact communities of color, the report says, Metro will create a community outreach program to update people on how construction will affect them.

On Friday, a Metro spokesperson was unable to say when construction will begin, but according to information on Metro’s website, the eastbound project is expected to finish in 2025 and the westbound project should be done in 2026.

The Metro board will meet on Thursday, Sept. 28. You can watch the meeting here and sign up for public comments by phone here up to five minutes before the meeting starts. Sign-ups and agenda items will be available at least 72 hours before the meeting.

Maison Tran is a fellow at the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected].