Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica's New California Incline to Open Thursday||
By Lookout Staff
August 26, 2016 -- After 17 months of construction, the historic California Incline is set to reopen on Thursday with a re-dedication ceremony, City officials announced.
After a 9 a.m. press conference, the public can enjoy the Incline and its sweeping views of the coastline from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., officials said. There will be light refreshments, a historic photo exhibit and photo booth, DJ music, and a Santa Monica Public Library pop up.
The Incline will open to car traffic at 5 p.m. in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend, officials said.
Funded by the Federal Highway Trust Fund, the $17 million project features a new seismically upgraded bridge with a 16-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle path and a pedestrian overcrossing that provides access to the beach from Palisades Park
“We are thrilled to welcome the new safer and stronger California Incline on the 120th anniversary of the Sunset Trail,” said Mayor Tony Vazquez, referring to the walkway cut through the bluffs to provide beach access to pedestrians in 1896.
“This vital link between Santa Monica and PCH demonstrates what federal dollars can do to support significant local infrastructure,” Vazquez said.
The storied structure, which appears in iconic images of Santa Monica, was closed in April 2015 and originally slated to open on Memorial Day ("Opening of Santa Monica's California Incline Delayed," June 20, 2016).
In November, City officials delayed the date due to the pedestrian overcrossing’s "unique design and structural complexities," City officials said at the time.
The replacement of the California Incline has been in the planning for more than two decades, City officials said. In 1994, the project was put on hold after the Northridge Earthquake and was resumed in 2007.
The new structure merges modern enginering with design touches that evoke the structure's past, City officials said.
The new Incline exceeds strength requirements, with the concrete bridge deck sitting on 96 concrete piles drilled beneath the bluff’s surface, officials said. More than 1,000 soil nails were required to stabilize the bluff along the eastern edge.
The bridge also features balustrades that "pay homage to the old barrier rail with its streamlined modern design now with more contoured arches and pilasters," officials said.
“Our new California Incline is not only a feat of modern engineering, it’s the fruit of great human effort, sure to be with us for some time to come,” said Curtis Castle a civil engineer with the Public Works Department.
“Hundreds of individuals worked on this project day and night for 17 straight months,” Castle said.
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