Century Freeway, officially named the I-105 Glenn M. Anderson (Century) Freeway Transitway, extends for 17.3 miles in an west-east direction, from Sepulveda Boulevard near the Los Angeles International Airport to the I-605 Freeway. The freeway traverses nine cities in the County of Los Angeles and interchanges with four freeways: Interstate Routes 405, 110, 710, and 605. The Metro Green Line coincides with the majority of the freeway.
The history of the planning and development of the Century Freeway is long and unique. Beginning in December 1958 with the initial planning activities, notices were sent to various governmental agencies informing them that studies were being undertaken and requesting any input they might have which would affect the development of the project.
Following extensive studies, a route location was adopted by the California Transportation Commission. On November 17, 1965, the portion west of Central Avenue was adopted and on July 24, 1968 the portion east of Central Avenue was adopted.
After the route was adopted, the freeway was added to the interstate system in 1968. As part of the process for its inclusion, the federal government, in consideration of the impact the freeway would have on the community and environment, required the formation of a multi-disciplined design team. These teams included the following: consultant organizations (Gruen Associates, Development Research Associates, Bolt Beranek and Newman, Systems Associates and Eugene Jacobs); local agencies members; Federal Highway Administration; and Caltrans.
The design team developed 19 separate studies related to economic and fiscal structure, housing displacement, community facilities, traffic circulation, neighborhood environmental values, and joint use development. Between 1969 and 1970, seven hearings were held regarding these matters. Finally, 9 out of 10 local agencies approved the plan. However, the City of Hawthorne opposed the adopted route and refused to sign the agreement. Thus, a modified route, commonly referred to as the Bell Curve was agreed upon on September 15, 1977 as an alternative to the original design.
In the meantime, a class action lawsuit was filed by the following plaintiffs in February 1972: four couples living within the state right-of-way, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Freeway Fighters (the City of Hawthorne withdrew in 1977 after the route was modified). The environmental movement of the 1960s brought opposition to the freeway's construction as did the fiscal difficulties brought about by the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake and the California tax revolt of the late 1970s.
Probably the largest amount of opposition came from the communities that would be affected by the building of the freeway. Because of these complaints, significant modifications were made to the original route. Despite the setbacks, Councilman John D. Byork and Congressman Glenn M. Anderson fought endlessly for the completion of the freeway. In honor of Anderson's dedication to the project, Caltrans renamed the freeway the Glenn M. Anderson (Century) Freeway in his honor.
In 1978, the Federal Government rendered its decision to proceed with the project under certain conditions. In 1979, the Office of the Advocate for Corridor Residents was established and funded by Caltrans and FHWA but selected by the Plaintiffs. Its purpose was to relocate and rehabilitate the remaining 4,200 housing units in the corridor and adopt an employment action plan including the establishment of an affirmative action committee designed to increase minority businesses and improve women employment goals on the project.
In September 1981, Consent Decree was amended by all parties and the main features of the project were now 6 lanes for general traffic and 2 for high occupancy vehicles (HOV), 10 transit stations and park and ride lots, 10 local interchanges, 2 interchanges at the east-west ends of the project, ramp metering and HOV bypass lanes, landscaping and noise attenuation, relocation and rehabilitation for 3,700 housing units, continuation of the Employment Action Plan, and continuation of the Office of the Advocate.
The project broke ground on May 1, 1982 in the City of Lynwood. The project was the largest single public works contract in California history costing more than $100 million per mile to build. At the time of construction, no other project had provided more replacement dwelling units, more jobs for individuals living nearby, been subjected to such a rigorous environmental analysis, or more careful about the disposal of hazardous materials found in its path. All-in-all, the freeway opened on October 14, 1993 and cost $2,250,000,000 to complete.