Council Seeks Hook-Ramp, Wider Off Ramp

As part of Caltrans’ 110 Freeway Study

THE CITY OF SOUTH PASADENA has submitted a legal Notice of Preparation, reminding Caltrans about a project that “will make it safer and more efficient for motorists to get on and off the freeway,” explained South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez, explaining that city officials want the 110 northbound exit on the 110 Freeway widened from two to four lanes and a hook ramp taking vehicles down State Street to link up with southbound freeway traffic.

City Council members approved a comment letter last week from the City of South Pasadena to Caltrans to move forward with a study of the 110 Freeway between Sunset north to Glen Arm in Pasadena.

Caltrans has indicated it is conducting what’s called a Safety and Efficiency Study of the eightmile stretch of the 110, and the City of South Pasadena has submitted a formal response to Notice of Preparation “reminding them that we have a project that will make it safer and more efficient for motorists to get on and off the freeway,” explained South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez. “I’m referring to the 110 hook-ramp project. We have received some positive feedback from Caltrans. They have agreed to help us update the construction plans and will help us fund the $2.5 million we believe we are short to start the project. They have also pledged to help us find the additional dollars needed to complete the hook-ramp.”

The first phase of the project calls for widening the off-ramp northbound on the 110 Freeway at Fair Oaks Avenue. “That would eliminate the backup on the freeway for northbound traffic,” said Gonzalez. “When the cars heading for the off-ramp are backed up into the travel lanes, it causes a dangerous condition.”

The City of South Pasadena has also long talked about forcing northbound traffic on Fair Oaks Avenue to turn right on State Street and pick up a hook-ramp that will ultimately put cars southbound onto the 110 Freeway via a hookramp.

Since the Caltrans study will feature a safety and efficiency element, Gonzalez stressed that it is important for the transportation agency to include South Pasadena’s off-ramp and hookramp project in it.

“We feel they should since our project is within the footprint of their study,” said Gonzalez, new designs for the off-ramp portion must be completed, putting the city short approximately $2.5 million. “Caltrans has agreed to help us pay for that part. In addition, we’re about $5 million short to complete the hook-ramp. They have pledged to work closely with us to help identify those dollars.”

The bottom line, noted Gonzalez, “we’re pleased with the coordination we have with Caltrans and a much more improved relationship. We look forward to them commencing the study and making sure our project is included when it moves forward.”

The 110 project will include improvements, including guardrail replacements, concrete barriers, new safety lighting and the removal of approximately three mile of curbs and raised islands along the 110 Freeway.

Gonzalez said the Caltrans study is designed to improve safety and efficiencies of the freeway that opened to motorists in 1940. “They want to improve safety and operation in an attempt to reduce accident rates,” said Gonzalez.

Complaints have been raised for years by motorists stuck in traffic at the 110 interchange on Fair Oaks Avenue, especially during commute hours.

“Inclusion of the SR-110/Fair Oaks Avenue off-ramp/Hookramp Project would be consistent with the purpose and intent of the SR- 110 Safety Enhancement Project and should be taken into consideration in the EIR analysis,” wrote Margaret Lin, a principal management analyst for the City of South Pasadena.

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