POMONA -- Residents will have an opportunity tonight to hear about the work the city and a Los Angeles County transportation agency are carrying out with the goal of speeding up plans to widen the 71 Freeway between the 60 and 10 freeways.
The community meeting will include the participation of representatives of the city's Department of Public Works and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Westmont Community Center, 1801 W. Ninth St.
The city, the authority and Caltrans are working together to update studies so they could compete in a state program to complete the project.
A public-private partnerships would be a key component of the program and allow the three agencies to turn the four-lane expressway into a full-fledged eight-lane freeway between the 10 and 60, said Doug Failing, executive director of highway programs for the authority.
Currently the widening is "a project we have in the long-range transportation plan," he said.
Plans call for beginning the process leading to the widening in 2023, Failing said.
Under that plan the widening would be completed by 2030, said Daryl Grigsby, Pomona director of public works.
However, through the public-private partnership program it might be possible to begin work on the project eight years or more earlier, Failing said.
The government agencies are now updating environmental studies and project designs, said Ati Eskandari, Pomona city engineer.
The updates are expected to be completed by the middle of January, she said.
Update studies are needed to be able to seek state funding for the project, Eskandari said.
As envisioned the widening could be completed in two parts.
One section would include the section of the 71 between the 10 and Mission Boulevard with an estimated cost ranging between $61 million and $80 million.
The cost for the section between Mission and Rio Rancho Road is estimated at between $120 million and $150 million.
The work the different government agencies are carrying out is complex, said Judy Gish, a spokeswoman for Caltrans.
"At this point all the agencies are working on it together," she said.
If they are successful the three agencies may be able to create a package that includes five different highway improvements in Los Angeles County with one of those being the 71 project, Fielding said.
The agencies would then work with a company that would handle the design and construction for the five project package, he said.
The project would include the replacement of the Grier Street pedestrian bridge over the 71 Freeway which does not meet Americans with Disability Act requirements, Eskandari said.
In addition to the project, the city would seek funding for landscaping of some streets such as Mission Boulevard and Rio Rancho Road, she said.
Eskandari said when the city conducted community meetings associated with the construction of the Mission and 71 interchange the residents frequently asked when the 71 would be widened.
Although widening the 71 would improve circulation in the city's western end, it would also improve the flow of traffic in the region including reducing some of the pressure on the 60 Freeway, Grigsby said.