Interstate 710 California
Interstate 710 connects Terminal Island and the city of Long Beach with East Los Angeles along the Long Beach Freeway. Carrying a substantial freight traffic, I-710 initially heads east from the Port of Long Beach across the Gerald Desmond Bridge toward Downtown Long Beach. Paralleling the Los Angeles River, the freeway travels north to Compton, Paramount, Lynnwood, South Gate and Downey.
Diverging with the culverted river, the Long Beach Freeway extends north through Commerce to I-5 (Golden State Freeway), and unincorporated East Los Angeles ahead of SR 60 (Pomona Freeway) and I-10 (San Bernardino Freeway). Interstate 710 spurs north to Valley Boulevard between the Los Angeles and Alhambra city line. The continuation of I-710 north remains unbuilt.
A short section of freeway spurs south from the exchange joining I-210 (Foothill Freeway) with SR 134 (Ventura Freeway) in the city of Pasadena. Designed as SR 710, but not signed in the field, the 1.75 mile long route represents the planned northernmost extent of the Long Beach Freeway. Postmiles for SR 710 (30.953 to 32.709) originate at Columbia Street and conclude at I-210.
Heading south from California 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) in Long Beach, Interstate 710 splits into three separate spurs. These spurs are identified in the California Streets and Highways Code as follows:
Section 622. Route 710 is from Route 1 to Route 210 in Pasadena.
Section 622.1. (a) Route 710 shall also include that portion of the freeway between Route 1 and the northern end of Harbor Scenic Drive, that portion of Harbor Scenic Drive to Ocean Boulevard, that portion of Ocean Boulevard west of its intersection with Harbor Scenic Drive to its junction with Seaside Boulevard, and that portion of Seaside Boulevard from the junction with Ocean Boulevard to Route 47.
Based on this legislation, the first connection of Route 710 leads southeast from Exit 1C into Downtown Long Beach via Shoreline Boulevard. The second spur extends south from Exit 1A along the west bank of the Los Angeles River to the Queen Mary, a major attraction in Long Beach. The third spur is the I-710 mainline across the Gerald Desmond Bridge onto Terminal Island.
North End – Alhambra, CA
South End – Long Beach, CA
Mileage – 19.66
- Cities – Long Beach, Compton, Paramount, Lynnwood, Downey, South Gate, Commerce, Los Angeles, Monterey Park
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-710 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: 2017 Traffic Volumes – Caltrans Traffic Census Program
Caltrans Postmiles for Route 710 start at the ramps joining the Seaside Freeway (SR 47), Terminal Island Freeway (SR 47/103) and the Gerald Desmond Bridge (I-710). The legs south to Harbor Island and east to Downtown Long Beach are not included in the Postmile system. Route 710 north to Valley Boulevard is 24.021 miles per Caltrans Postmiles. The FHWA Route Long and Finder List however attributes only 19.66 miles for Interstate 710, between SR 1 in Long Beach and I-10 at East Los Angeles.
Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement
The original through arch bridge spanning the Back Channel on Terminal Island was constructed in the 1960s. The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement project, scheduled for completion in 2020, constructs a cabled stayed bridge spanning the waterway with a 205 foot vertical clearance. Supported by two 515 foot high towers, the bridge will accommodate six lanes of traffic, the Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, and three scenic overlooks.
High Priority Corridor
I-710 from the Port of Long Beach north to California 60 is part of High Priority Corridor 46: Interstate 710.
The Long Beach Freeway was added to the Interstate Highway System in 1984 to replace the SR 7 designation. SR 7 previously replaced SR 15 along the same freeway. I-710 was added after Interstate 110 replaced SR 11 along the parallel Harbor Freeway to the west in 1981. The freeway was planned to link Long Beach with Interstate 210 in Pasadena, but high costs and vehement community opposition prevented the ultimate build out.
Canceled I-710 Extension – Pasadena
The long proposed extension of Interstate 710 north from the half diamond interchange with Valley Boulevard to the stub end of unsigned SR 710 in Pasadena was formally dropped by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTC) on May 25, 2017.1 Prepared in 2015, the final environmental report examined four alternatives, including building single or twin bore tunnels.2
The 4.5 mile long section of the Long Beach Freeway through South Pasadena and Pasadena was first considered in the 1940s/1950s. The freeway opened south from Valley Boulevard in 1965. With the first lawsuits filed in 1973 after new federal environmental legislation was enacted, the ensuing section north through South Pasadena was mired in controversy.2
Despite continued opposition, lawsuits and the requirement of additional environmental studies, the planned alignment of I-710 north to Pasadena perserveered for several decades. The project received a record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in April 1998. It was met with opposition from the city of South Pasadena, environmental groups such as the Friends of the Earth, local community leaders, and residents potentially impacted by the project.
The FHWA required that Caltrans produce another environmental impact statement in December 2003. The succeeding study would evaluate additional impacts of the freeway that were not previously been addressed. Subsequently, the environmental clearance for the route was rescinded by Caltrans in April 2004.
The original plan called Interstate 710 to be built as a below grade freeway, similar to the SR 210 extension in eastern Los Angeles and western San Bernardino Counties. Options also considered adding cut and cover tunnels, or constructing a longer tolled tunnel. Scenarios still involved the removal of several homes, some of which were already owned by Caltrans and are rented out. Despite the high costs of constructing a tunnel system along the proposed route, some believed that it would still not mitigate the impact to the communities.
For more on the Interstate 710 extension, please refer to the following webpages:
- CaltransTenants.com – information about those who rent property from Caltrans in the disputed 710 corridor
- Interstate 710 – www.cahighways.org (Daniel Faigin)
- Urban Freeway Renewal. Public Roads, Nov/Dec 1998.
North End / Valley Boulevard – Alhambra, California
North at / Valley Blvd
Interstate 710 straddles the Alhambra and Los Angeles city line a half mile north to Valley Boulevard. Photos taken 07/08/18.
A collector distributor roadway (Exit 21) joins Interstate 10 (San Bernardino Freeway) eastbound with both directions of I-710 and parallel Ramona Boulevard. Photos taken 07/12/18.
Interstate 10 angles southwest from Ross Avenue in Alhamba to Fremont Avenue and Exit 21 with I-710 (Long Beach Freeway). Photos taken 07/09/18.
Interstate 10 partitions with the El Monte Busway just ahead of the ramps for I-710 north to Valley Boulevard and south to Long Beach. Photos taken 07/09/08.
Canceled North End – Pasadena, California
South End – Long Beach, California
- “10 months after Metro killed 710 tunnel, a nervous South Pasadena hires outside attorney to bring the fight to Caltrans.” Pasadena Star-News (CA), March 7, 2018.
- “The epic and ugly battle over what to do about the 710 Freeway.” Los Angeles Times (CA), May 24, 2017.
Page updated March 14, 2019.