Problems Plague Construction of the Costly Century Freeway

Your series on the Century Freeway is excellent (Part I, Dec. 27-30). As a member of the Federal Urban Mass Transit Advisory Council back in the 1970s, I recall that the freeway cost was estimated at $700 million.

Today its cost is $1.7 billion and that's without the affordable housing, minority program jobs and women's rights which bring the cost to $2.5 billion.

But the other original objective was to provide a better public route, including one for those within the inner city, to provide access to jobs, schools, etc., outside the depressed neighborhoods.

Today, 17 years later and still not built, the delay has caused irreparable damage to not only the public but also to those in Watts, Compton, etc.

The problem is that virtually everyone on this multibillion-dollar project is trying to learn on the job, especially its leaders. Moreover, recruiting underfinanced and inexperienced subcontractors in the highly competitive construction industry is a costly mistake, not only to the general public but also to those who lose their savings.

Adding housing to the freeway program, again with no experienced housing leadership, continues the error.

The Century Freeway still can be built, and with the court-ordered social benefits if a new quasi-public agency with power takes over. As it stands now, if the road to hell were paved with good intentions, it probably was another Century Freeway.


Beverly Hills

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