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Mayor Gordo to Metro: Delays in City’s Highways Sound Wall Installation are ‘Disappointing’

Published on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 | 5:01 am

Mayor Victor Gordo on Monday urged Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to partner with the city in identifying funding opportunities for the Countywide Retrofit Soundwall Program as he expressed disappointment over delays in the installation of sound walls in the city.

Metro is the agency responsible for the delivery of the Countywide Retrofit Soundwall Program, which includes programming of funding, design, and construction. The design plans and specifications for the projects are prepared by California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) under Metro’s leadership.

Metro’s Countywide Retrofit Soundwall Program involves the  construction of prioritized sound walls within the cities of Los Angeles, Arcadia and Pasadena. 

The construction of these sound walls are prioritized and delivered in two phases. Phase I consists of sound walls projects along freeway segments where High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes were constructed without sound walls. Phase II consists of all other retrofit/after-the-fact sound wall locations deemed eligible along various freeways.

Included in the list Metro’s Retrofit Soundwall Phase I projects are approximately one mile of sound wall segments to be constructed along Interstate 210 (1-210) between Raymond Avenue and Wilson Avenue in Pasadena. Included in Metro’s Retrofit Soundwall Phase II is an approximately 4.2 miles of sound walls located on both sides of 1-210 between Orange Grove Boulevard and Arroyo Boulevard in Pasadena. 

Metro’s contractor, C.A. Rasmussen started construction of the sound walls in June of 2023 and they are expected to be completed by 2026.

“We are anticipating all of these stretches to be completed quite some time ago because they are at the top of the decibel list,” said Mayor Victor Gordo. “It’s disappointing that it is taking so long.” 

Gordo expressed dismay that other cities that do not have infrastructure needs are being prioritized over Pasadena that have infrastructure needs. “Other cities are new communities and to have them jumping ahead of us is disappointing.” 

“These freeways were constructed a long time ago and our communities have suffered the impacts of the freeways for quite some time,” added Gordo. “I think Metro should be partnering with us to identify dollars to prioritize some of these neighborhoods that have suffered for so long.”

Metro Project Manager Lourdes Kriste told the City Council the delays are due to difficulty securing funding. 

The cost estimate to complete the remaining Phase I list is between $216.6- $433.2 million while the cost estimate to complete the Phase II list is $688 million to $1.3 billion. 

The 4.2 miles of sound walls to be constructed in Pasadena under Phase II projects cost between $42-$84 million, according to Kriste.

“Everything is costing so much,” Kriste said. “The city can look for grant funding, secure it, earmark it. It really helps get advancement and movement.” 

Metro’s presentation to the City Council was made in response to the request of the City Council last May 8, that Metro and Caltrans attend a future City Council meeting to discuss the sound wall program. 

At the May meeting, members of the City Council mentioned that sound walls are needed as an additive measure to improve quality of life for the city’s residents. 

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