Caltrans Rerouted Traffic Without Informing Cerritos, Violating the I-5 EIR, Illegal Move Will Cost the City Over $5 Million

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News has obtained a letter, dated September 6, 2019, addressed to Caltrans from the city of Cerritos that blasts the state agency for rerouting tractor-trailer traffic through the City due to I-5 construction projects.

Click on image to view letter.

 

Shockingly, the rerouting was done without notifying the City.

The City is claiming that the rerouting has caused over $5 million in damage to the streets, increased pollution in the area, increased traffic noise, and increased the safety risk of residents.

Further the letter states that Caltrans is in violation of the project’s final Environmental Impact Report which obligates the agency to coordinate with cities to minimize adverse impacts during the construction period.

“Caltrans has failed to coordinate thus far, and any further lack of communication or consultation with the City and its residents is unacceptable.”

The City blasted Caltrans for establishing a detour route on southbound Carmenita between the I-5 and Artesia Blvd., and eastbound Artesia Blvd. between Carmenita and the I-5.

 

 

“Neither stretch of Carmenita or Artesia is a city designated truck route, commercial vehicles over 6,000 pounds are strictly prohibited on the streets, per City Municipal Code.”

The Caltrans rerouting of trucks has caused severe damage and increased traffic at peak hours, the extensive damage alone is estimated “to cost $5.2 million to repair,” and the “average daily traffic on said streets has significantly increased and flows onto arteria streets.”

The City then cited the numerous safety hazards caused by the rerouting of traffic, concerns that have been voiced by Cerritos residents in calls and emails to both HMG-LCCN and the City.

The rerouting on Carmenita takes large trucks by two schools, Stowers Elementary and Carmenita Middle school in addition to several hundred single family homes along the street.

The trucks and traffic are unaware that the street is not designed for truck traffic and many exceed the speed limit according to residents, with some residents writing the city that the increased traffic is causing damage to their personal property while the trucks drive by 24 hour per day.

One of the most contentious issues of Caltrans manuever has been the noise and vibration caused by the increased truck traffic.

Residents who live along Carmenita between Artesia as well as other problem areas on Alondra and in Granada Park near Bloomfield and Alondra are fed up with the noise.

A report by Acoustics Group, Inc., a firm hired by the city of Cerritos to monitor and study truck noise, logged some extremely alarming numbers during the initial monitoring, with some hours of the day hitting over 93 decibels.

The consulting firm was hired after a group of citizens pressured the city into the study and will be an integral part of the upcoming December 12 Council meeting which will consider changing the truck routes in Cerritos.

The combination of efforts from HMG-LCCN and residents produced the discussions and study to look at changing the situation.

The City is now considering the development and implementation of a City ordinance to reroute and/or restrict truck traffic.

Acoustics Group performed 24-hour noise measurements in four different locations, logging the noise level every second then processing the measurements into hourly intervals.

The study also counted the number of trucks passing the locations.

The study then categorized the minimum and maximum decibel measurements and averaged the measurements for each hour.

When measuring noise levels with a sound level meter, the intensity of noise in units called decibels (dB). A logarithmic scale is used, using 10 as the base, rather than a linear scale, this scale is called the decibel scale.

The study found “high heavy truck traffic noise levels continuing into the nighttime period, 2 AM with 111 heavy trucks  at 2 AM and 192 heavy trucks at 2 PM.”

And in what is sure to anger residents the Acoustics Group stated in an email, “additionally, the heavy trucks appear to be traveling faster at 2 AM because there is less congestion.  When the trucks drive over the discontinuous low point in the pavement at a higher rate of speed, the truck chassis shakes more violently and causes a higher sound level compared to the 2 PM hour.”

In looking at the numbers, three zones averaged 84 decibels throughout the 24-hour period, with the other zone averaging 80.

But the zone averaging the lowest decibels recorded the highest sound level at 1 PM, hitting nearly 100 decibels.

The other zones hit 94 decibels at 9 AM, 91 at 9AM, 95 at 9 PM, and 97 at 1 PM.

Surprisingly, Acoustics did not perform a vibration study.

Cerritos City staff is preparing a report for the Cerritos City Council’s consideration at the upcoming Dec. 12 City Council meeting.

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