California Incline Now Closed

California Incline Suggested Detours

The California Incline stabilization project, which will have the heavily used ramp between Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) closed for 12 to 13 months, seems to not be inconveniencing motorists as much as many feared.

A long-awaited and long-dreaded project began at 5 a.m. Monday, but reports of the much-feared and seemingly inevitable gridlock traffic that would follow the pinching of such a main traffic artery have not come in.

The Incline will be completely demolished and a new ramp, complete with bike lanes and a widened sidewalk, will be constructed in its place. The City of Santa Monica also states the new Incline will be built up to seismic standards, which the existing California Incline does not meet.

According to Curbed L.A., the California Incline “was built in the 1930s, and hasn’t really had any sort of upgrades since then.” 

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.

The multimillion Incline project is not going to be done until at least Memorial Day 2016, according to the City of Santa Monica. However, city officials said they were 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. Just over 36 hours into the closure, according to many, traffic has been normal.

A quick search for “California Incline” on Twitter, the social media site, reveals many people expressing fear over traffic being clogged, but no actual reports of increased vehicle traffic.

The City of Santa Monica has provided a suggested detour map for travelers in both directions. They suggest drivers headed east, from the direction of Malibu, take Ocean Avenue (Moomat Ahiko Way) near the Pier, or else take the 10 Freeway and exit at Lincoln.

For commuters in the opposite direction, Santa Monica planners suggest exactly the opposite: either take Lincoln to the 10 (via the Olympic Dr. on-ramp), which funnels back onto PCH, or Moomat Ahiko down to westbound PCH.

Regardless of early indications that the Incline closure has not intensified traffic to the area, drivers are still urged to plan ahead and allow for extra time when commuting into and out of Santa Monica along PCH.