10 Freeway, PCH partially closed in Santa Monica as crews work to repair unstable bluff

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023 3:20PM

10 Freeway, PCH partially closed in Santa Monica due to unstable bluff

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) — A portion of the Santa Monica bluffs continued to undergo repairs Wednesday after city officials were notified that there was a crack in the historic hillside above Pacific Coast Highway.

Repairs to the fissure in the bluffs are expected cause traffic diversions and delays on the heavily traveled stretch between PCH and the 10 Freeway throughout the morning commute.

“Recently, the city discovered an unstable portion of the Santa Monica Bluffs located just above the Pacific Coast Highway between the California Incline and Moomat Ahiko Way,” said Selim Eren, the city’s principal engineer. “In order to address the land instability and to ensure safety, the city is proactively performing an emergency removal of the portion identified.”

City officials were alerted to the potentially dangerous instability by Suzanne Yankovic, wife of musician “Weird Al” Yankovic, when she posted about it on social media.

Officials believe the erosion and fissure in the bluff was likely caused by heavy rains this past winter.

“We’ve been down here for 50 years, so we’ve seen the cliffs evolve,” said Kris Schwengel, who lives nearby. “There was a concerning finger sticking up there, and we like them being proactive about it — rather than it falling on a Sunday afternoon.”

Construction crews began moving heavy equipment onto PCH early Wednesday morning to begin removal of the damaged portion of the bluffs. A heavy-duty crane removed the unstable portion of the bluff in less than 15 minutes.

The bluff removal required a temporary early-morning closure of all lanes of northbound PCH and in connection westbound 10 Freeway, in addition to a morning closure of the Moomat Ahiko Way on-ramp from Ocean Avenue to PCH, city officials said.

Southbound PCH and the eastbound 10 Freeway will both remain open during construction.

The repairs are expected to be completed and lanes reopened to traffic by 9 a.m. — hours ahead of schedule, officials said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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