The long-awaited California Incline project is all set to start, with a year’s worth of traffic redirection compounded by Downtown Santa Monica Metro Station’s construction that begins Monday.
Both projects will also be coordinated with the ongoing construction of the Expo Light Rail Line.
Roadwork on 4th Street for the new Downtown Santa Monica Metro Station will run from March 16 through March 31, according to the City.
“One northbound lane on 4th St., between the I-10 Freeway and Colorado Ave. will be closed. In addition, left turns from northbound 4th St. to westbound Colorado Avenue will be prohibited for approximately three days from 9 pm Sunday, March 22 until late Wednesday March 25,” City staff said.
Construction of the Esplanade, along Colorado Ave., from the new Expo Light Rail station at 4th Street to Ocean Ave., will begin on Monday, March 16th. Work is expected to be completed in a year, according to the City.
On March 26, Colorado from 4th Street to Ocean Avenue will permanently become one-way westbound. Eastbound travel will be redirected to Broadway or the newly constructed Olympic Drive.
In late April, construction is scheduled to begin to replace the California Incline.
The Incline will be completely closed in both directions throughout the one-year work period. The California Incline was last renovated in 1930.
“The entire project is a seismic retro fit of the bridges to bring them up to current seismic standards, we have to shut down the entire incline and reconstruct it for seismic safety,” explained Susan Cline, Interim Director of Public Works, Santa Monica City.
“We’re asking folks to take Moomat Ahiko Way, which the City rebuilt last year in anticipation of this project, as an alternate route. Additionally we’ve built out Olympic Drive, so that people will have more direct access to the 10 freeway,” Cline said.
The wait will be worth it, according to Cline, with the $20 million federally-funded project adding five and a half feet in width and returning back a 16-foot wide segregated pedestrian and bike way that will be physically separated from the traffic.
“From PCH all the way up to Ocean will be completely reconstructed. As part of the project we’re doing bluff stabilization so while we have the incline shut down we’re also going to be doing some work on the bluff,” she added.
Santa Monica City is asking people to follow published traffic control plans, and while they acknowledge that commuters will experiment to find the best routes, smcontructs.org will have a selection of carefully thought-out options.
“If people want to go north of PCH and they usually came down the Incline to make their north bound connection to PCH, we’re actually asking them to head further south to actually head north – it’s a little counter-intuitive but we think it will actually benefit folks in the end,” Cline said.
Traffic signals at PCH will be shut down during the reconstruction, so people heading northbound and southbound on PCH won’t have to stop.
“I know it’s only a small glimmer of light,” Cline said, “but if people go those extra blocks south to go north, it will hopefully be a smoother transition.”
Southbound traffic on PCH will be directed to the Moomat Ahiko Way off-ramp onto Ocean Avenue. Westbound traffic coming from the I-10 will be directed to Lincoln Boulevard
Notices were mailed to residents and businesses regarding the upcoming Colorado Esplanade work and another citywide mailer will be sent 30 days prior to the closure of the Incline. Message board signs will be deployed in advance of the closure, and more updates will be available on the smconstructs.org.
The City will also host weekly informational meetings at the Ken Edwards Center at 1527 4th St. Room 106 beginning Thursday, March 12 from 5 pm – 7 pm.
“Although we have key information available online and through social media, we want to make sure that people have the opportunity to learn about the projects, ask questions and voice concerns in-person, directly to the team working on the Esplanade and Incline projects,” Cline said
For more information about the Colorado Esplanade Project and California Incline Reconstruction, visit www.smconstructs.org. Hotline numbers are available for each project: Esplanade Hotline: 626.344.4248. Incline Hotline: 888.303.6026.