Proposals to Ease Gridlock at LAX to Be Unveiled

Officials will outline options for improving traffic flow, a key element in updating the airport's design.


* Providing direct airport access on an interchange off the 405 Freeway onto Century Boulevard. A six-lane double-deck roadway for vehicles traveling to and from LAX would be built on the south side of the boulevard. Local traffic would use the north side and lanes under the raised roadway.

* Bringing vehicles directly off the 405 Freeway onto a double-deck roadway on 98th Street and into the airport. To leave LAX, vehicles would use an elevated expressway over Century. In this alternative, the double-decking over Century would be pushed to the south onto property where cargo facilities currently exist.

* Avoiding the complexities required to build dedicated interchanges from the 405 Freeway onto Century -- which would entail demolishing several office buildings -- by building an interchange at Arbor Vitae and the freeway to bring vehicles onto 98th Street.

* Building a terminal on the Park One lot at the airport's entrance where many passengers could check in for their flights.

* Constructing two new freeway interchanges to bring vehicles into the airport, from Lennox Boulevard and the 405 Freeway and from the 105 Freeway just east of Aviation Boulevard. This would require building roads below street level to avoid interfering with air traffic control equipment.

* Boring two tunnels, one on either side of the existing Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel under the south runways. A study done in 1992 pegged the cost at $500 million.

* Expanding the 105 Freeway across the airport's south side to reach a new terminal near the sand dunes. This would require digging tunnels under the airport's two sets of parallel runways and bringing the road above ground at the terminal's entrance.

* Creating a road around the airport to bring vehicles to a new terminal near the sand dunes. Vehicles would use the 105 Freeway on the south, which would be extended along the airport's western edge to Westchester Parkway on the north.

Officials sought to dispel criticism that the last proposal mirrored a controversial provision in Riordan's plan that called for a ring road encircling LAX to reach a large terminal on its western edge. The road envisioned in the new plan would not use existing surface streets, except for Westchester Parkway, they said.

"There's only so many solutions to any given problem," Kennard said. "That's why you see variations on a theme."

Planners said they aren't wedded to any specific concept, adding that each one has major obstacles to overcome before it could be included in any airport modernization proposal.

"All of these have issues," said Nick Johnson, a consultant from Johnson Aviation, who is working on the proposal. "A lot of work will have to go into having them solve problems rather than create new ones."

The traffic measures are the first in a series of proposals that will be unveiled by the city's airport agency in coming months. In September, the agency will reveal several options for LAX's northern runway complex.

Airport officials hoped to unveil the runway proposal this week, but postponed it after Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl told Kennard that residents were upset about rumors that the city planned to propose expanding the two northern runways.

Rosendahl wrote to residents that he met with Kennard "who agreed to table such a proposal after I told her it should not be raised unless and until the Federal Aviation Administration can demonstrate to us with hard data that genuine safety concerns warrant even raising the subject."

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said in an interview last fall that the city must move the two runways on the north airfield farther apart to eliminate close calls between airplanes on the ground. A project to separate the two runways on the south airfield is underway.

Hahn's plan proposed moving the inner runway closer to the terminals, requiring officials to demolish Terminals 1, 2 and 3. This measure would cost around $2 billion. Officials have also considered moving the outer runway closer to Westchester.

"If it was not a safety problem, there would be no motivation to touch the north airfield," Kennard said. "But the FAA said there's a safety problem and its incumbent on us to fix it."

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