California Incline in Santa Monica reopens to traffic after 17-month closure


The California Incline, the landmark Santa Monica thoroughfare, reopened after a 17-month reconstruction project.

The California Incline, the landmark Santa Monica thoroughfare, reopened Thursday after a 17-month reconstruction project. 

To mark the reopening of the incline — which connects the beach with the city's bluffs and offers sweeping coastal views — officials held a community celebration. The festivities began with a Big Blue Bus rolling through a banner. 

At 5 p.m., the incline was officially reopened to automobile traffic, just in time for Labor Day weekend. 

Pedestrians and cyclists also has access to a portion of the roadway. 

The ramp — used by 15,000 vehicles daily — closed for reconstruction in April 2015. The reconstruction brought the incline up to meet seismic standards and includes a pedestrian and bike path.

The incline was last rebuilt in the 1930s. 

Santa Monica officials initially worked to secure federal funds to rebuild the incline in the early 1990s, but the 1994 Northridge earthquake put the project on pause. In 2007, the city picked up the project again after securing $17 million in federal funding.

The new ramp now features more contoured arches and pilasters. The new bridge deck now sits on 96 concrete piles drilled beneath the bluff’s surface, which supports the shared bike and pedestrian path, and one lane for vehicles in both directions. 

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More than 1,000 “soil nails” were used to stabilize the bluff along the eastern edge. 

“We’re sitting here on the new, reopened California Incline,” Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez said, in a video tweeted out by the city Thursday. “I’d like to invite you all to come out and enjoy this new pedestrian, bicycle lane and roadway.”

The celebration included light refreshments, a historic photo exhibit and photo booth, music and a Santa Monica library pop up.

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