California Incline closed for yearlong seismic retrofit

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The California Incline that connects Pacific Coast Highway and downtown Santa Monica has shut down in both directions for a yearlong improvement project. (KABC)

It started as a horse trail in the late 1800s and was upgraded into its current incarnation in the 1930s. But now, the famed California Incline that connects Pacific Coast Highway and downtown Santa Monica is getting a major facelift.

The incline has shut down in both directions until spring 2016.

The existing 1,400-foot roadway, including the 750-foot-long bridge, will be completely demolished and reconstructed to meet current seismic standards.

"It's 85 years old, it needs to meet current seismic codes. It survived a couple of earthquakes, but 85 years is well beyond its service life," said Curtis Castle, with the city of Santa Monica.

The replacement bridge will be supported by pilings and will be 5 feet 8 inches wider. It will also include bike lanes and a sidewalk. Officials say the bridge will be safer for vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian use.

"The primary reason we're doing this project is for public safety so we want folks to get where they want to go safely," said Santa Monica City Interim Public Works Director Susan Cline.

Federal funds are expected to cover nearly 90 percent of the project's roughly $20 million price tag, according to city officials.

Residents in this already congested area are bracing for commute tie-ups. But the city says it's taking steps to mitigate the traffic.

"So at key locations, we'll have officers being able to facilitate traffic," Cline said.

Just one day into the closure, locals are already noticing the difference.

"This morning, I had to not go down the California Incline, but all the way to Montana and down all those stairs," said Santa Monica resident Sheila Morris.

Coupled with other construction projects in the city, residents are dreading the possibility of more traffic.

"Feeling glad I don't live in Malibu. I don't have to drive and worry about the traffic, because I know that's going to be really impacted," said Christi Danielson, another Santa Monica resident.

Motorists can travel between PCH and Ocean Avenue using the Moomat Ahiko Way ramp located south of the Santa Monica Pier, or the 10 Freeway, which transitions into PCH.

Anyone with questions was asked to call the project hotline at (888) 303-6026 or visit

The project is expected to be completed by March 2016.
Related Topics:
earthquaketraffic delayCaliforniaSanta Monica
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