California Incline

The California Incline is slated for closure next month in order to stabilize the hillside. A bike lane and pedestrian lane are also going to be added. The project should be done by Memorial Day 2016.

Pacific Coast Highway — the beast that Malibu begrudgingly needs.

A mix of long-term projects, unannounced lane closures and countless traffic accidents constantly affect the everyday commute along PCH, and this year is proving no different. Now, a year-long lane closure in Santa Monica has been extended three more months, the California Incline is about to close for a year and a mudslide over the weekend provided another scare for those who commute on PCH into Ventura County.

Sewer project hits three-month snag

With an original completion date estimated for April 2015, it seemed the PCH lane closure between the California Incline and Chautauqua Boulevard in Santa Monica was nearly over. But recent developments have pushed back the completion date until June 2015. 

Formally called the Coastal Interceptor Relief Sewer (CIRS) project, the $10 million project began in April 2014. It was only recently discovered that workers were constructing atop “soil deficiencies” underneath PCH.

“Correction of these unexpected soil deficiencies will require significant work to bolster the area,” according to the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association, which monitors projects along PCH.

Tunneling and construction of a new 900-foot pipeline are apparently complete, but the soil underneath PCH needs further bolstering in order for the project to sustain after it is completed because it has been caving in as soil moves downward. The soil also needs to be further compacted.

The CIRS project has made the morning commute in and out of Santa Monica a struggle for those who live or work in Malibu, Topanga and Pacific Palisades, bottlenecking traffic as soon as westbound I-10 ends at McClure Tunnel and eastbound at Chautauqua.  

California Incline closing soon

A long-awaited and long-dreaded project to stabilize the California Incline -— which connects Ocean Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway — will completely shut down the connector for one year beginning in early April. Thus, for at least three months, the Incline and lanes in both directions of PCH in Santa Monica will be simultaneously closed.

Despite pleas from commuters and locals, the construction company hired by the City of Santa Monica will only work a daytime shift Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association. Many had hoped work would be done around-the-clock in order to speed up the project.

Several fixed-message signs are slated to go up in Topanga, Santa Monica and Highway 101 this month, warning commuters and tourists of the project. 

The Incline project is not going to be done until at least Memorial Day 2016, according to the City of Santa Monica. However, city officials are hopeful that traffic will flow quickly along PCH since the traffic signal at the bottom of the Incline will be green most of the time. 

Another mudslide closes western PCH at County Line

Less than two days after Caltrans held a press conference on Friday, Feb. 27 celebrating the reopening of Pacific Coast Highway in western Malibu, a mudslide closed it again on Sunday morning at Point Mugu Rock.

Workers cleared the debris all day Sunday, and the road was reopened on Monday morning.

The slide followed a 77-day closure instituted by Caltrans in early December in which the state agency tried to correct unstable land above PCH. The instability was a repercussion of the 2013 Springs Fire that tore through Ventura County and stretched to Point Mugu State Park. 

State and local government agencies had worked on and off since 2013 to find a solution to the issue, the latest work including new cement barriers and wire netting on slopes meant to protect the road.

(4) comments

Rebecca Mann

Am I reading this correctly that both directions of PCH will close at the incline for THREE MONTHS?

That can't be right.


"Despite pleas from commuters and locals, the construction company hired by the City of Santa Monica will only work a daytime shift Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m."

How nice for them. Do they also get free champagne and fois gras? Apparently tax paying citizens who bear the brunt of the impossible inconvenience have no say on their own destiny on this. In other places. where common sense rules, the work is done at NIGHT when traffic is at a minimum. Time to get a real construction company working, if there is such thing these days.

To add to hans, what are the budget overruns and what additional studies are needed and their associated costs? Is this a financially motivated scheme to bilk the taxpayer at the expense of the residents?

This appears to be financially fraudulent.

Hans Laetz

I don't think the City of LA deserves a pass on the PCH sewer line closure.

This is -second- attempt to build this sewer line. The first ended in 2008 (or so) with the road similarly closed for a year, and the contractor walking off the job because the city engineering work was faulty.

Now, again, the City of LA is quite literally in over it's head.

Building a pipe through sand is not brain science. Finding the buried utilities is not Quija board stuff.

The city of Santa Monica must be crazy if they think closing the Incline at the same time will work. The lights may stay green at the incline, but the traffic detouring around the Incline closure will quickly overwhelm the left turn lane at Entrada, and the offramp at ocean. The Entrada-Chautauqua intersection will quickly pass the tipping point with the overload on incline traffic now trying to go up Santa Monica Canyon.

The Incline project was "shovel ready" in 2008 and has been pushed back over and over. It needs to be pushed back further. There is absolutely no reason why Malibu should be held hostage by LA and SM as they do these two wacky, out of control, out of synch projects at the same time, during summer no less.

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