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Portantino secures $5.5M in state budget to help La Cañada residents dodge decibels

Looking east over the Foothill (210) Freeway from the La Canada Boulevard overpass in La Canada Flin
Trucks move westbound along the Foothill (210) Freeway, known for creating unwanted traffic noise to thousands of surrounding homes. Last Thursday, state Sen. Anthony Portantino announced he’d secured $5.5 million in funding in the 2019-20 state budget for more walls.
(Tim Berger / La Cañada Valley Sun)

The $214.8-billion budget passed by California lawmakers last week contains one good piece of news for La Cañada Flintridge — the city has been selected to receive another $5.5 million to build sound walls along the Foothill (210) Freeway.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), who spearheaded the effort by requesting the funding on the city’s behalf, said he was pleased to assist the city in its efforts to fund wall segments in parts of town where homeowners frequently complain about traffic noise and debris.

Further, Portantino said he hopes to use the $5.5 million to help secure matching funds through the California Transportation Commission that would double the total amount of new money for La Cañada sound walls.

“If we can leverage this for a total of $11 million, that will accommodate the most high-priority areas,” Portantino said Friday. “That will take care of where the most need is — that’s my priority.”

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The budget assignment is the most recent move by the La Cañada senator to advocate for sound walls. Last year, the city received $12 million in funding from the CTC and Metropolitan Transportation Authority with Portantino’s help.

City leaders are now planning to use that money to design and build two segments along the Hampton Road overpass (estimated at $8.7 million) and another south of the freeway, from Alta Canyada Drive to La Cañada Boulevard ($2.8 million).

Public Works Director Pat DeChellis said design is anticipated to begin this summer. Once those three segments are completed, the city will have 16 walls remaining on its wish list, whose combined estimated cost has been placed at roughly $30 million.

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Brown said Friday city officials will have to revisit the list of locations previously identified as needing sound walls to decide where the latest round of funding would best be applied.

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Factors such as cost, feasibility and number of nearby residents affected will have to be considered. Still, the latest application of funds, especially if matched, brings La Cañada a big step closer on the long journey toward residential quietude.

“This is by far the biggest hurdle, so it’s exciting to have that moving forward,” Brown said. “And it’s purely due to Anthony’s persistence.”

Mayor Len Pieroni shared his appreciation for the senator’s efforts in a statement issued June 13 by Portantino’s office.

“It makes a difference to have our former mayor in the state Senate, and we are very grateful to Anthony for once again answering our call for help,” the mayor said.

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