East Los Angeles Interchange
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|East Los Angeles Interchange|
The East Los Angeles Interchange complex is the busiest freeway interchange in the world, with its southern portion handling over 550,000 vehicles per day (2008 AADT). The northern portion, called the San Bernardino Split, is often considered a separate interchange. The interchange was named the Eugene A. Obregon Memorial Interchange, to honor U.S. Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Eugene A. Obregon.
At the time of its construction in the early 1960s, the East Los Angeles Interchange was considered a civil engineering marvel. Located along the east bank of the Los Angeles River in the Los Angeles district of Boyle Heights, east of Downtown Los Angeles, the interchange comprises six freeway segments; that is, there are six freeway paths of travel into the complex. The actual number of numbered highways intersecting at this interchange is four:
- I‑5 (Golden State Freeway) / (Santa Ana Freeway) – Sacramento, Santa Ana
- I‑10 (San Bernardino Freeway) / (Santa Monica Freeway) – San Bernardino, Santa Monica
- SR 60 east (Pomona Freeway) – Pomona
- US 101 north (Santa Ana Freeway) – Los Angeles Civic Center
The interchange is so complex because the intersecting freeways shift alignments and directions:
- Interstate 5 (originally U.S. 99) enters the complex from the south as the Santa Ana Freeway, but exits to the north as the Golden State Freeway. The Santa Ana Freeway continues west as U.S. 101 toward the Four Level Interchange (Bill Keene Memorial Interchange) in downtown Los Angeles.
- Interstate 10 (originally U.S. 70 "Ramona Freeway" [sic] / U.S. 60) is not contiguous through the interchange. Heading west into the complex on the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10), the trunk road heads to U.S. 101 at the San Bernardino Split. In order to follow the I-10 alignment, one must exit the trunk road and follow a connector that merges with the alignment of southbound I-5, then exit that trunk and follow another connector to the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10).
- Heading west into the complex on the Pomona Freeway (SR 60), the primary road (or trunk) heads into the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10).
There is not complete freedom of movement within the interchange. Traffic flowing into it on certain freeways cannot leave it on all of the others. For example, there is no direct connector between the westbound Pomona Freeway (SR 60) and the southbound Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) (and vice versa); travelers wanting to make this transition must exit at the Pomona Freeway's interchange with the Long Beach Freeway (Interstate 710) located three miles (5 km) to the east, head south, and then transition to the Santa Ana Freeway at the interchange between those two freeways. Also, there is no direct connector from southbound US 101 to northbound Golden State Freeway (I-5) (and vice versa); travelers wanting to make this transition must exit at the Four Level Interchange with the Arroyo Seco Parkway (State Route 110) located several miles to the west, head northeast, and then transition to the Golden State Freeway at the interchange between those two freeways.
Further complication is caused by the varying designs of each intersecting freeway and their related transition roads. Some have four lanes and are relatively straight and wide, while others have one lane, are narrow, or have curves with tighter radii or cambers. Traffic congestion is thus exacerbated as vehicles moving at high rates of speed on the wider transition roads try to merge with slower moving vehicles coming from the narrow transition roads.
Although not commonly called such by residents and other reporters, the freeway intersection was often called "Malfunction Junction" by former KNX traffic reporter Bill Keene, because of its complicated interchange structure. The interchange has also been referred to as "The Beast" LA Interchange, the "East Delay" Interchange and the "Nickel/Dime" during traffic reports.
- "East Los Angeles Interchange". Scvresources.com. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- "SCR 109 Senate Concurrent Resolution". California State Senate. April 16, 2008. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- Gloria Angelina Castillo (June 2, 2010). "Freeway Sign Points to War Veteran’s Courage". Eastern Group Publications. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "Mapping L.A.: Boyle Heights". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-05.