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What the death of the 710 freeway extension means for the future of transportation in Southern California

File: I-710/60 Freeway Interchange, Los Angeles CA
File: I-710/60 Freeway Interchange, Los Angeles CA
Joe Wolf via Flickr

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This week marked the end of a battle that has divided local communities for longer than most of us have been alive. And it was all about a freeway.

A freeway extension to be precise. 

One that would connect the 210 and 710 freeways along a route through the San Gabriel Valley. The controversy developed and brewed over the course of 60 years. Houses along the planned accessway were condemned. As years went by, the plan morphed from a traditional freeway into a tunnel.

But on Wednesday, Metro put a stake in its heart – voting unanimously to pull its support from the project. That didn't just put the cap on an epic transportation struggle, it marks the end of an era in Los Angeles - the age of freeway construction.

And that brings us to Martin Wachs. He's a professor emeritus at UCLA. He's spent his life studying transportation, and he's been following the fight over the 710 since he moved here back in 1971. He spoke to A Martinez about the failed expansion and the future of freeways in Los Angeles.

"I think we are at the end of the freeway building era but not the freeway using era," says Wachs. "We will of course amend freeways - widen lanes, replaces overpasses [and] open shoulders for traffic." 

To listen the full segment, click the blue play button above.