Kanan Dume Arrester Bed Project

A project to improve the arrester bed at Kanan Dume Road and Pacific Coast Highway is two months behind schedule and slated to be done at the end of September. 

The newly designed truck arrester bed at the foot of Kanan Dume Road near the Pacific Coast Highway is two months behind schedule, city officials confirmed this week.

Despite an initial July end date, the city now says the project should be done at the end of September.

The arrester bed, designed to help prevent accidents from runaway trucks that cannot brake at the end of Kanan, has been undergoing its first major overhaul since it was built before Malibu was incorporated in 1991.

In February, the city awarded a contract for the work to Granite Construction, with a projected completion date of July 23. However, the construction firm has not yet completed the job. One of the reasons for delay? New signage hasn’t arrived.

“They were getting some additional signage and there may be some additional things we need to do,” City Manager Jim Thorsen said, adding that the signs are “special-ordered” and may be the cause of the delayed reopening.

Public Works director Bob Brager agreed.

“They order them, but because they’re special signs, they’ll almost be special made,” Brager said.

The new arrester bed, according to Thorsen, was designed to be easier to use than the previous one, with improvements aimed to help panicking truck drivers veer into the gravel and avoid collisions on PCH.

“This one is wider,” Thorsen said, adding, “it does meet federal standards for arrester beds. The old one wasn’t wide enough.”

He added that the bed also changed shape. 

“The second thing is, the old arrester bed had a big curve in it. We’ve straightened it out.”

Despite these changes, several Malibu residents have expressed concern that the arrester bed at the bottom of the incline on Kanan is too little, too late.

“What concerns me is that it’s not stopping trucks [from] going down Kanan,” said Malibu resident Christopher Carradine, who has lived on Kanan for 18 years.

“The arrester bed is for drivers that are in a state of mind that they can use it,” Carradine said, worrying that inexperienced truck drivers may not think to steer into the arrester bed.

According to Carradine and others who wrote letters to The Malibu Times, the city and county should really be steering truck drivers away from exiting the Ventura Freeway at Kanan.

“The solution is to stop them at the tunnel,” Carradine said, outlining a plan for truck drivers to be notified at the first tunnel on southbound Kanan and given the opportunity to turn back, or face a stiff penalty.

Thorsen agreed that the arrester bed isn’t necessarily the only solution to the problem.

“Well, there’s always more things that can be done up in the county area,” Thorsen said. “As a city, this is what we can do in our area.”

Carradine countered that the city has the power to pressure county legislators for more work.

“I think it’s the responsibility of this city to safeguard its citizens and the excuse that the county roads department hasn’t been cooperative doesn’t work,” Carradine said, adding, “That’s not an excuse, that’s passing the buck.”

A wider arrester bed has made for narrower lanes, an issue that some residents say makes bike riding on northbound Kanan hazardous.

“Now there is no shoulder or bike lane on northbound Kanan. Anybody see a puzzle here? The project should not be considered complete until current California road standards are followed,” Jonathan Toker wrote in his letter to the editor.

In response, Brager said that work to widen the mouth of the road is ongoing, but first a power pole must be relocated by utilities companies.

“We were actually planning to widen that portion, if you notice that bottleneck there, there is a power pole there,” Brager said, adding that utilities companies have already built a replacement pole. 

“We have to wait for the utility companies to relocate the utilities onto the other pole; once they do that, they remove the [old] pole,” Brager said, estimating that the pole has been moved five feet and the road will widen a little less than that.

He also mentioned that a wider shoulder isn’t officially a bike lane.

“Malibu doesn’t have any bike lanes,” Brager stated.

(4) comments


Thanks for the coverage Malibu Times, now maybe as a community we can keep the heat up on this issue and get Kanan truck free. That said, the sub-headline for this article is misleading: ".....some believe trucks should be kept off Kanan..." This is incorrect. Vehicles weighing more than 8000 lbs, more than two axles, and all trailers are PROHIBITED by law from using Kanan T-1 to PCH. When a runaway truck arrives at the arrestor bed, regardless of alignment or width, the driver has already dangerously violated the vehicle code and placed an entire community at risk, by using Kanan in the first place. Living on Kanan, I see violations daily. This morning, September 12, 2014, in the space of 8 minutes I witnessed THREE 7-Yard concrete ready mix trucks using Kanan. Signs won't help, bed width won't help, nor alignment, and enforcement by the Sheriff and the CHP is intermittent at best. Since the law is essentially unenforced, the remaining remedy is what I have already proposed, plus VERY stiff fines AND vehicle confiscation for habitual offenders.


There is no room for any bicycles at that right hand turn onto Kanan and up the hll. So dangerous now.

Dani Sue

Yes, the northbound lane is a bit narrow but it does help to slow traffic. With all of the money spent on this project my question is why the ugly k-rails? Are the stark white barriers the finished product? I'm thinking of the nice job on the retaining walls at Zuma or the new overpass on the 101 @ Lindero. I hope that there is a future update for the barriers that make this intersection look like an uncompleted Cal-Trans project. An update before they get tagged and look like the rest of LA county.

Hans Laetz

It appears to me that the three original "custom made signs" are the problem. They said runaway traffic should merge to the right. Ooops. The runaway lane is to the left. Probably could be fixed with a sticker.

"Malibu doesn't have any bike lanes" ??? Bob, your department just built the first 40 feet of bike lane in the city, on westbound PCH at Morning View. And your paving machine is at work at Trancas. In 20 years of cityhood, that equals five feet per year. Incremental progress, to be sure.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.