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 (http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/). 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.