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LA sewer project may affect Malibu traffic

Pictured is a construction message sign located on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu East. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
1:14 pm PDT April 7, 2014

Scheduled closures of a small section of Pacific Coast Highway are expected to have a big impact for Malibu and its surrounding communities.

Malibu residents may be affected by traffic control measures to be taken along Pacific Coast Highway for approximately one year, beginning April 15, due to construction of the second phase of the City of Los Angeles’ Coastal Interceptor Relief Sewer project (CIRS).

The project is located along the border spanning between the City of Los Angeles and the City of Santa Monica, and such traffic control measures include periodic and long-standing closures of sections of PCH between 201 Palisades Beach Road in Santa Monica and 445 Pacific Coast Highway, also in Santa Monica. 

The closures will shuffle up six of the existing lanes along PCH, three for both northbound and southbound traffic, including the complete closure of one official southbound lane at all times. 

During days when construction is occurring, one northbound lane will be closed between 7 and 10 a.m.; one northbound and one southbound land will be closed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and one southbound lane will be closed between  4 and 7 p.m. 

Night work between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. will result in the closure of two southbound lanes.

Days on which work will occur are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday through Friday, 9 p.m.-5 a.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Although the lane closures will occur approximately less than 4 miles from Malibu’s borders, there’s little doubt among some City officials that the closures could impact traffic patterns in the Malibu community.

“It will definitely impact Malibu, but we don’t have a lot of control over that,” said City Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal, who, along with City Councilman Lou La Monte, is a member of the PCH Task Force. “When you go from three lanes to two lanes, that will always impact traffic.”

The first phase of the project was completed in April 2013, when more than half a mile of sewer line infrastructure was constructed along PCH. Phase two of the project will involve the construction of 900 feet of 48-inch-wide sewer line. 

Rosenthal said a key factor in alleviating traffic ills is to make not just Malibu, but surrounding communities as far as those in the San Fernando Valley aware of the PCH closures, saying that lessons were learned from the first round of closures that concluded a year ago. 

Construction message signs have been placed on Santa Monica Interstate 10, Hollywood/Ventura Freeway 101 and PCH near Malibu East to warn commuters of the closures.

“It definitely impacted people’s drives during that time and certain areas were worse than others, but people got used to it when they planned accordingly,” she said. “This is not a City of Malibu project, so the best thing we can do is give input about it to make it as safe as possible, and to ensure that the traffic plan makes sense and is widely distributed. We’re just trying to get information out in the coming weeks so people know what’s coming their way.”