Emergency repairs are needed to repair an unstable portion of the Santa Monica Bluffs and City Hall has announced an overnight closure of the I-10 freeway and northbound Pacific Coast Highway to address the problem.
The City of Santa Monica, in coordination with local and regional partners, will temporarily close portions of the westbound I-10 freeway, northbound Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), and the northbound Moomat Ahiko Way on-ramp in order to proactively address the problem starting on Tuesday, July 25.
According to the City, crews will use a large crane with clamshell attachment to remove the top portion of the unstable bluff and slowly break it apart for hauling off-site.
The area of concern is a “column” of soil that has broken away from the main bluff, probably due to this year’s heavy rains. While the now dangerous area is small compared to the total road closure zone, traffic has to be diverted off the freeway before the McClure Tunnel and can’t be allowed back onto the road too close to the work.
The City’s engineering department said they had already engaged an outside expert to analyze the stability of the local bluffs following the very wet winter. However, a large crack appeared in part of the bluff last week and the decision was made to remove the now dangerous section before it could fall onto traffic or pedestrians below.
“We don’t want to take chances,” said Stelios Makrides, Chief Operating Officer for the Public Works Department. “It could be there months, could stay there weeks or it could come down tomorrow but we decided to move in quickly and address it.”
Makrides said they understood the work would impact residents, visitors and neighboring communities who use the road but efforts are being made to limit the imposition to everyone.
Roads will start to be closed at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25 as a large crane is brought into the area. Overnight work will be limited to assembly of the equipment and isn’t expected to be too disruptive. Actual removal of the soil will begin in the daylight hours and is expected to be complete by mid morning. After cleanup, the area will reopen by noon.
The northbound Moomat Ahiko Way on-ramp to PCH will close beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25. The westbound I-10 at Lincoln Boulevard through northbound Pacific Coast Highway to the California Incline will close beginning at 2 a.m. on Wednesday July 26. All routes will reopen by 12 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, July 26.
The Lincoln Boulevard offramp to eastbound I-10 will remain open, in addition to the California Incline, the southbound PCH and the eastbound I-10. Traffic from I-10 Freeway needing to access Pacific Coast Highway will be detoured at the Lincoln Boulevard offramp and rerouted using the following streets:
- Wilshire Blvd./Santa Monica Blvd.
- Ocean Avenue
- California Incline
- CLOSURE: Tuesday, July 25, beginning at 11:30 p.m. – closure of Moomat Ahiko Way on-ramp to PCH between Ocean Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. The off-ramp from PCH to Ocean Avenue will remain open.
- CLOSURE: Wednesday, July 26, beginning at 2 a.m. – closure of westbound I-10 at Lincoln Boulevard through northbound Pacific Coast Highway to the California Incline. The Lincoln Boulevard offramp will remain open and the California Incline will remain open. The southbound PCH and Eastbound I-10 will remain open.