McClure Tunnel Will Be Closed in Evenings as It Undergoes Safety Upgrades

The McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica, built in 1935, will be closed weeknights, Monday through Friday, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting the first week in January for safety upgrades.

Caltrans warns that “motorists should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes during construction hours.” Closures are weather permitting and subject to change.

The $6.3-million project will improve visibility inside the tunnel by upgrading the lighting system with LED lights. A queue warning system will also be installed.

The work zone spans one-mile from Lincoln Boulevard on I-10 to the Broadway Pedestrian Overcrossing on PCH. Overnight full closures of the tunnel will include nearby ramps.

Caltrans officials said that detour signs will be posted for all full closures, which will take place mostly overnight between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. “to facilitate a safe work zone.”

Currently, the tunnel lights are sodium vapor and Abdi Sagahafi, the Caltrans Supervising Transportation Engineer for District 7, told the PCH Task Force in March that during daytime, a high contrast is created between outside daylight and the inside light, which causes some drivers to abruptly slow down when they enter the tunnel (especially if they are wearing sunglasses).

Sagahafi said the inside of the tunnel will also be painted. Other improvements will include overhead signage, a speed feedback sign and a high-friction pavement treatment.

A queue warning system, the first in Los Angeles County, will be installed on westbound I-10 to provide automatic, real-time alerts to motorists when queues accumulate in the tunnel. Approaching motorists will be alerted that they need to slow down.

Motorists can view current traffic closures by visiting the Caltrans Quickmap ( Residents and businesses located near the freeway are advised to anticipate noise, vibrations and dust associated with construction activities.

The contractor, Aldridge Electric, hopes to complete the project in spring 2021.

The project came before the PCH Partners Task Force in June 2014 after a child was killed, and seven others were hurt, when a semi-truck, a dump truck and a minivan collided around noon in the McClure Tunnel.

Sagahafi explained that Caltrans officials believe that the improved visibility and the warning system will reduce the number of collisions at the tunnel.

Santa Monica’s Olympic Tunnel, renamed the McClure Tunnel after Robert E. McClure in 1969, was built in 1935.

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2 Responses to McClure Tunnel Will Be Closed in Evenings as It Undergoes Safety Upgrades

  1. Jim Johnson says:

    I am sure these improvements are necessary and am happy to put up with the inconvenience, but… Has anyone noticed that Santa Monica just made some significant changes on Ocean Avenue? They reduced Ocean Ave. southbound from two lanes to one from California to the pier, and totally messed up the intersection of California and Ocean. They took away the right turn lanes, and put up no right turn on red signs.
    This hasn’t caused problems yet because of the Covid light traffic, but will be a nightmare soon. With the tunnel closing this area will become impassable at night. With the tunnel closing Santa Monica should be opening Ocean Ave, not closing it.

  2. Alan Goldsmith says:

    3 months for lights, signs, and paint? Pathetic compared to the 10Fwy earthquake repairs. That work, covering many miles, was performed 24/7 and finished in a few months. Lack of coordination with the Ocean Ave restrictions is a nice example of govt bungling.

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