110 Fwy gets major upgrades, 'new' old name

PASADENA, Calif. The /*110 Freeway*/ is getting a new look and a new name. Soon we will be calling the /*Pasadena Freeway*/ the "/*Arroyo Seco Parkway*/," its original name from 1940 when it stretched only six miles long.

"The Pasadena Freeway was actually designated as a parkway in the early 1990s, so Caltrans and a lot of the community believe that the signs on the freeway should reflect that," said /*Caltrans*/ spokesperson Judy Gish.

In fact, you may have already noticed the new connector road signs that read "Parkway." Installing the signs is only the beginning. Another $17 million project continues to build safety improvements. When the project is complete, we will see changes in the lighting, an improved center divider, and new, decorative low shoulder walls.

"The new barriers were designed with the old freeway in mind so they have historic details in the design and we're also installing historic lighting," said Gish.

The eight-mile long parkway carries about 122,000 cars each day, which could mean traffic delays. While most of the work is being done at night, future closures are expected.

"We're going to be closing the freeway for 55 hours over the weekend," said Gish. "We're going to do that 20 times."

In tough economic times, many are concerned about the cost. The two projects combined are expected to cost more than $17.5 million.

"It's being paid for out of state funds because it is a safety project," said Gish. "We're fortifying the medians. I mean, as they existed, they are just metal beams. And so they are now going to be solid concrete barriers, which is going to protect motorists."

The new Arroyo Seco Parkway should be complete by spring 2011.

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