The McClure Tunnel and several nearby ramps will temporarily close in January to facilitate upgrades to the freeway.

According to The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the work zone runs from Lincoln Blvd. to the Broadway Pedestrian bridge with closures expected to start on Jan. 4. Ramp closures associated with the project will occur mostly overnight between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. and the tunnel itself will be closed for a week from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Workers will be installing new lights, a high friction road surface, speed warning system and the county’s first queue warning system.

Caltrans Public Information Officer Eric Menjivar said a field investigation team looked at the McClure Tunnel and chose it as the site of the first system for several reasons. He said the transition from a traditional freeway system to a highway with possible traffic hazards made it an ideal location for the warning.

“So we do want the traffic to flow down there in that transition because you’re coming off the freeway and now you’re going into a highway, where there are traffic signals so that’s one reason why,” he said. “The other is because Santa Monica is a popular area. People want to want to go visit there … people are also trying to find parking nearby on the lots so that backup does happen on weekends or during sunset.”

In addition to the queue warning, he said the new road surface and speed warnings will be installed to improve safety. While the speed notices will tell drivers if they’re coming in too fast, the new road surface will help keep cars in their lanes.

“In tunnels, we add kind of more grit to the pavement so cars don’t slip or anything like that. It makes sure the tires have traction and the motorists are sticking to the road.”

Construction is scheduled to start the first week of January 2021. Overnight full closures of the McClure Tunnel will occur to facilitate a safe work zone and detour signs will be posted for all full closures.

Closures are weather-permitting and subject to change. Motorists should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes during construction hours. Additionally, motorists can view current traffic closures before they leave for their destination by visiting the Caltrans Quickmap. Residents and businesses located near the freeway are advised to anticipate noise, vibrations, and dust associated with construction activities.

Aldridge Electric is the contractor on this $6.3 million project, which is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2021.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...