California Incline Reopens Later This Summer, New and Improved

The public is also getting a new pedestrian ”overcross” connecting to the beach

The widening and retrofitting of the California Incline—which connects Ocean Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway over a giant bluff—began in April 2015, after 85 years of neglect. We’ve been waiting patiently for the new version to open up, with many Santa Monica drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians currently being forced to use cumbersome detours to access PCH. The project was supposed to open at the beginning of the summer, but a delay—due to the concurring construction of a new Pedestrian Overcrossing across the incline—has pushed the opening to the end of the summer.

“We expect to open the Incline late summer and we’ll announce a specific date later this month,” Curtis Castle, Santa Monica’s construction manager for the project, tells us.

The new Pedestrian Overcross was added to the incline project in November, and officials initially wanted both to open in early July. But the “Overcrossing’s unique design and structural complexities will require additional time to complete outside of the original schedule,” Santa Monica officials said in a press release. Basically, the Incline is nearly complete, but it makes more sense to open both projects at once for the construction crew’s safety and to avoid complicated traffic closures and detours that would arise should one project be open and the other be in process.

The new incline will be more earthquake-resistant, as well as wider—with more room for cars, as well as new pedestrian and bike paths. The Overcross project will provide a new retrofitted pedestrian bridge from Palisades Park to the ocean; renderings show a spiral shape that offers stellar Pacific views. As part of the Overcross project, the Idaho Trail that runs along the bluff to the incline—where Idaho Avenue hits the edge of North America—is also getting renovated.

Overcross rendering
Overcross rendering

Image courtesy Santa Monica Lookout

For kicks, take a look at the incline 111 years ago: