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Alameda Corridor (Corridor 22)

Routing

The Alameda Transportation Corridor is one of several urban high priority corridors; this one, located between Long Beach and Los Angeles, California, has been on the books at Caltrans for years as the proposed Industrial Freeway. The proposed California 47 freeway roughly follows the Alameda Transportation Corridor, which essentially follows Alameda Street from the entrance to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach north to the Interstate 10 junction. This street is about midway between the already existing Interstate 110 (Harbor Freeway) and Interstate 710 (Long Beach Freeway) corridors.

However, this high priority corridor is not about building a new freeway; instead, it is about moving freight on the railroad that parallels Alameda Avenue. The 20-mile-long Alameda Corridor will consolidate the operations of the three freight railroads that serve the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach: the Southern Pacific, the Union Pacific, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. With completion of this combined highway and rail project, all three railroads will have direct intermodal access to the port facilities, eliminating the existing need to transfer containers several miles by truck from the marine terminals and the railyards just outside downtown Los Angeles.

Improvements

The Alameda Corridor project, at a cost of $2.4 billion, is a dedicated trainway that follows a reconstructed Alameda Street (California 47 expressway). This trainway features the "Mid-Corridor Trench," which follows a depressed section for ten miles between California 91 in Carson and 25th Street in Los Angeles (built between 1997 and 2002). Over 200 at-grade railroad crossings were eliminated. According to Department of Transportation documents, this will eliminate 90% of the traffic delays; hence, local traffic circulation and congestion should be improved in this corridor as a result of these improvements. These improvements are designed to increase trade volume from 90 million tons to 190 million tons by 2020.

Facilitated by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA, which is a joint powers authority governed by the City of Los Angeles, Port of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach, Port of Long Beach, and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), the first project started in July 1996, when a new railroad bridge was constructed over the Los Angeles River at the corridor's north end. The ACTA secured $400 million in loans to commence this project in June 1996. Specific improvements along the corridor include nearly 50 new bridges and 200 grade separations. Here are some of the key improvements, as identified by the Engineering News-Record Magazine:

  • Northern Connection - $200 million - connects the Alameda Corridor to "the main tracks at the railyards near downtown Los Angeles and requires roadway and rail grade separations, flood control and construction of a $6-million, 300-foot-long, three-track replacement Los Angeles River Bridge."
  • Redondo Junction - $40 million - grade separation project that "will include two overpasses, elevation of Amtrak and Metrolink railroad tracks, and a flyover."
  • Southern Segment - $200 million - connects "to the ports and will require grade separations, road shifting to accommodate the trench, a three-track bridge replacement over Compton Creek and another bridge over Dominguez Channel."
  • Alameda Street Widening - this road parallel to the railroad corridor will be be "widened from four to six lanes with new left-turn pockets." Caltrans does not currently plan to take this street into the state highway system, even though a freeway is still proposed for the Alameda Street corridor. The route was signed as California 47 in 2001.
  • Henry Ford grade separation project - $70 million - provides "rail connection to the port terminus facilities."
  • Alameda Trench - $700 million - this trench will be "10 miles long, 50 ft wide and 30 ft deep. It will carry freight trains through Alameda Street without disrupting traffic, which includes trucks that carry freight between the ports and railyards used by freight railroad companies Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Local cross-streets will be carried over on new bridges. The tracks return to grade level at the southern end as the highways swing overhead."The article further indicates that the "double-track trench, heading straight through working-class, industrial towns south of central Los Angeles, will require moving three million cubic yards of earth."

The Februrary 1998 cover story from the Engineering News-Record Magazine, "$2-billion Alameda Corridor finally breaks ground to unclog traffic at Los Angeles-Long Beach ports" indicates that the corridor is akin to being an artery, and the corridor is built to accommodate the "90-mile 'veins' of railroad track between the ports and the downtown Los Angeles rail hub and eliminate 200 railroad at-grade crossings that currently hold up local traffic on Alameda Street, which the corridor will parallel. Consolidation of three freight routes into the corridor is projected to save about 15,000 hours a day now spent in local traffic, says a study by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA), the biport agency that oversees the project. Trains traveling between the railyards and the ports to the south will be able to move at 40 mph rather than slog along in congestion." As of the 1990s, 20,000 truck trips and 25 trains used the Alameda Corridor per day, but it is expected that this will grow to 49,000 truck trips and almost 100 trains after corridor work is completed in 2001.

Funding

Funding for the Alameda Corridor is varied. In 1997, the "city councils and harbor commissions of Los Angeles and Long Beach approved spending $4 billion over the next 25 years for port and transportation projects, including $2 billion for the Alameda Corridor. The U.S. Transportation Dept. also approved a $400-million loan that is contingent on Congressional appropriations and will come in three installments." In addition, managers with these agencies are also exploring public/private partnerships to fund the project."

Status

The Alameda Corridor is complete as of April 2002, with all grade separations and the parallel Californian 47 expressway complete. The total cost of the project is $2.4 billion, which is within the budget set for the project. An extension to the Alameda Corridor is Corridor 34, Alameda Corridor East/Southwest Passage, from East Los Angeles (which is the northern terminus of Alameda Corridor) through Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, to termini at Barstow in San Bernardino County and Coachella in Riverside County. To the south, improvements are planned on California 47, which is the Port Access Expressway from California 103 south to Interstate 710.

The Alameda Corridor has already resulted in some major economic benefits to the ports at the southern end of the corridor. First, the corridor is able to handle 200 million tons of cargo, which is double the amount fed through the Alameda Corridor prior to the reconstruction activities. According to Engineering News-Record Magazine, annual trade activity is projected to increase from $157 billion to $253 billion, and the project will generate 10,000 construction jobs alone, with nearly 700,000 long-term jobs expected as the ports expand.

Link: Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA): Alameda Corridor Fact Sheet

Port Access Expressway

An elevated, 2.2-mile expressway is planned to replace existing California 47 from the Vincent Thomas Bridge north to California 103 via a new, fixed-span bridge that will replace the seismically deficient Schuyler Heim Bridge. The expressway will have controlled access, with several at-grade intersections and traffic signals removed. This project is jointly funded by Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) and Caltrans.

Link: Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA): California 47, Port Access Expressway

Page Updated November 15, 2005.