Westbound Pomona Freeway opens carpool lane

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Corey Moore/KPCC

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, with scissors, joins Caltrans officials for the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway HOV lane.

A new carpool lane — designed to ease congestion — opened on the westbound side of the Pomona (60) Freeway today. But you wouldn’t know that from this morning’s commute.

Traffic was a mess. A logjam of cars and trucks stretched along the Pomona Freeway for miles. Authorities promise today’s tie-up won’t be the norm.

It wasn’t the backdrop Caltrans officials were hoping for. A never-ending chain of bumper to bumper traffic on the westbound 60 freeway — just as transportation authorities were holding a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate a new HOV lane they hailed as a remedy for traffic jams.

It was an accident, they say, that caused the slowdown — and accidents will happen. But beyond that, Caltrans officials guarantee the carpool lane will cut congestion, improve safety, enhance air quality and accommodate truck traffic.

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe provided a little freeway nostalgia as he spoke about the benefits.

“Going back, my parents moved to Hacienda Heights and in about 1963-64, there was no 60 freeway," Knabe recalled. "And the main thoroughfare... I remember my dad worked over in Lynwood. He had to take Valley Boulevard all the way over to that little piece of the Long Beach Freeway and work his way back in to Lynwood there off of Imperial Highway. So we’ve come a long way, baby.”

The HOV project included the reconstruction of ramps and freeway walls. The whole job cost almost $123 million. Constructing the 11.5-mile carpool lanes in both directions of the 60 Freeway side took about three years.

If you do the math, Caltrans says you’ll find HOV lanes save you one minute per mile compared to regular lanes — all the more reason to carpool when you can.

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