The City of Long Beach has reached a $13 million settlement agreement with Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for various corridor safety and traffic mitigation improvements related to the Interstate 405 (I-405) Freeway improvement project in Orange County. OCTA has proposed widening of a 16-mile stretch of the I-405 freeway from State Route 73 in Orange County to Interstate 605 in Long Beach.
“While this project is not in Long Beach, it has the potential to impact the city,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “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 litigation, which was filed by the City of Long Beach in July of 2015, alleged that the proposed I-405 widening project would 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. The traffic improvements provided for in the City’s settlement agreement will adequately address the traffic and safety issues posed by the 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,” said City Attorney Charles Parkin. “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. For most of the projects, Long Beach will serve as the implementing agency, which means 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,” said Councilmember Suzie Price.
The $13 million in incoming funds will be used to enhance portions of Willow Street, Los Coyotes Diagonal, and Bellflower Boulevard, as well as portions of State Route 22 (SR-22)/Studebaker Road, 7th Street, and Pacific Coast Highway. The specific locations were selected based on traffic studies and data showing impact from the project on those specific locations.
“This settlement is of tremendous importance to our residents as it will improve our corridors that could be affected by the I-405 project,” said Councilmember Daryl Supernaw.
“Making sure that our streets are safe is a priority,” said Councilmember Stacy Mungo. “As a result of this settlement, more traffic improvements will be made, which will have a positive impact on our community.”
The $13 million in funding is contingent on OCTA and Caltrans proceeding with their I-405 widening plans. The Long Beach corridor improvements will proceed once the settlement funds from OCTA and Caltrans have been received.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 170 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.