With two major construction projects dramatically affecting traffic flow in Santa Monica this past week, the City has been rapidly adjusting traffic management plans following a weekend of bottlenecks and delays. The impending California Incline road closures are also set to start April 20, exacerbating the situation.
Faced with a three-month extension to the already year-long Coastal Interceptor Relief Sewer (CIRS) project, which has closed one lane on the Pacific Coast Highway just north of the California Incline for the past 12 months, the City saw streets backed up for blocks over the weekend, a result of construction on 4th St. and changes to Colorado Ave.
Eastbound lanes on Colorado between 4th St. and Ocean Ave. have been closed permanently, leaving westbound traffic only.
Part of the Colorado contractors’ scope of work is that they will monitor traffic and make traffic management plan adjustments accordingly, said Santa Monica City Interim Public Works Director Susan Cline.
“We’ve already made a couple of adjustments with the westbound change on Colorado,” Cline said. “We’ve continued some through lights continuing on from Main Street to Second Street to address some of the concerns [of last weekend].”
“We’ve seen this week that it’s really improved the flow of traffic into downtown,” Clines added.
The CIRS project is now scheduled to finish June 2015, while work on Colorado and the Expo terminus will continue for a year.
Colorado Traffic Tips
Ocean Ave. and 4th St. will remain open to traffic, as will the westbound lanes along Colorado Avenue. Drivers are being asked to use Broadway and Olympic boulevards for eastbound trips.
Colorado is also closed between 6th and 4th Streets to enable the construction of the Expo terminus.
The enhanced Colorado Ave., from 4th St. to Ocean Ave., will provide pedestrian and bicycle linkages among the Expo station, Downtown Santa Monica, the Civic Center, Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park, according to the City.
Upon completion, “scramble” pedestrian crossings will be constructed at Ocean Avenue and Colorado and at 4th Street and Colorado. Cycling and pedestrian lanes will be delineated from vehicle zones and Main Street will be reconfigured to join 2nd Street, simplifying traffic flow.
New signals will also include bicycle signals separate from vehicle signals and pedestrian indicators.
California Incline Tips
The California Incline, connecting PCH with Ocean Avenue, will be closed April 20 for an estimated 12-13 months for much needed restoration and improvements.
According to Santa Monica City, PCH northbound can be accessed from Lincoln Boulevard via the Olympic Drive on-ramp or from Ocean Avenue south via Moomat Ahiko Way.
To access Santa Monica from southbound PCH, exit PCH at Ocean Avenue via Moomat Ahiko Way to get to downtown Santa Monica or take the Lincoln Boulevard exit.
Several dynamic message signs will be posted throughout the project area to re-direct traffic to the appropriate detour route, according to the City.
Construction will generally take place Monday through Friday from 7 am until 4 pm. Permitted construction hours are Monday through Friday from 7 am to 10 pm and Saturdays from 7 am through 9 pm.
A comprehensive traffic management plan has been created in order to direct travelers to suggested detour routes. Real time traffic cameras will monitor the traffic during construction, and the City will make changes to the traffic management plan, as needed, according to the City.
A City outreach team has scheduled meetings to present to residents, businesses and community leaders to keep them informed about the project. Each resident and business in Santa Monica will be receiving a direct mail piece containing information about the closure and detour information 30 days prior to the start of construction.
The City will also hold weekly community open houses where people are welcome to attend and learn about the project.
“Anyone is welcome to visit the City’s website, www.smconstructs.org, and sign up for construction notices and information about the project,” the City said.