Talks on L.B. Freeway Route Held

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South Pasadena officials and Caltrans representatives have met to discuss alternatives to a state plan to complete the Long Beach Freeway through the middle of the city, but no agreements have been reached, participants said this week.

Both sides dismissed reports that Caltrans had agreed to a city-proposed compromise route that would bypass downtown, cut to the west and follow the city’s western boundary line to the Arroyo Seco, the dry riverbed south of the Rose Bowl. Such a route is specifically prohibited by a 1975 act of the Legislature.

“We have opened lines of communication,” said City Manager John Bernardi. “We have ended the ‘Cold War,’ if you will, but certainly no decisions have been reached.”


Support From Torres

Bernardi added that the proposal for a westerly route has the support of state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles). Torres will introduce legislation to permit construction of the freeway in the Arroyo Seco, Bernardi said.

A Caltrans spokesman confirmed that agency officials from Sacramento were participating in the talks with South Pasadena Mayor James Woollacott, Councilman Sam Knowles and Bernardi. The spokesman said various westerly routes have been addressed in the state’s environmental impact statement on the project, now being reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration.

The city’s latest proposal, however, was not addressed in the report. “It’s kind of a brand-new thing,” said senior environmental planner Cleave Govan.