Traffic Signal Synchronization Project Update On PCH

May 1, 2024 ·

Photo courtesy of travelview/Shutterstock.

MALIBU—The city of Malibu disclosed on its website that crews are currently working between Big Rock and just north of Las Flores with one north lane closed, needed as three separate crews are working on site (utility investigation/boring operations/fiber installation), as part of the Traffic Signal Synchronization Project on Pacific Coast Highway.

Crews were unable to implement the alternate traffic control (shifting the lanes to the center to keep two lanes open) due to safety reasons, existing infrastructure, and specific locations of ongoing work.

The goal of the project is to synchronize all the traffic signals along an approximately eight-mile section of PCH, between John Tyler Drive and Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Improvements will include new closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras at each intersection, replace existing signal poles with new signal poles, street improvements and ADA upgrades, ATCS sensors, and changeable message signs. Mid-block sensors will enable Caltrans to monitor traffic flow and speed, then remotely adjust signal timing in the moment.

As of January 25, in response to community concerns, the City of Malibu Public Works Department has adjusted traffic management plan on the PCH Traffic Signal Synchronization project. The new plan aims to enhance traffic flow while balancing project timelines. The revised measures will allow two lanes of traffic in each direction by shifting one travel lane into the center median, when and where possible. The adjustment is designed to address congestion issues, while maintaining production and safety levels for the construction workers and motorists.

Motorists can expect delays during the week between 6 a.m. through 3 p.m. with alternating lane closures in both directions, mostly on the right-hand lanes. The project is on track for completion as planned by the end of 2024. Summer work hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) will be Monday through Friday 7 a.m. through 4 p.m., with some nighttime work.

The project will make PCH a safer “Smart Corridor” by installing communication lines between the existing traffic signals on PCH from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to John Tyler Drive to synchronize the signals to existing traffic conditions. It will allow signals to be controlled remotely by the Caltrans Traffic Management Center to lower traffic speeds and reduce congestion.

The new equipment will capture real-time traffic data and send it to the traffic signal controllers, which will use state-of-the art software to adjust the traffic signal timing to actual traffic volume. Vehicles going the speed over the speed limit will encounter red lights, while those going the speed limit will encounter green lights. The project will also include new closed circuit TV cameras at each intersection, replace existing signal poles, street improvements and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility upgrades, Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS) sensors, and changeable message signs.

According to CalTrans, PCH at Malibu Canyon Road handles roughly 4,600 cars per hour, or approximately 40,500 vehicles per day during peak hours in the summer months. About 1,215,000 vehicles pass through Malibu on PCH every month during the summer.

The $34.6 million project is fully funded through Measure R funds administered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is expected to take about one year to complete.

Residents can expect noise, lights, vibrations, and dust related to the work. Watch for workers and work vehicles in and around the roadway and altered traffic patterns. Under California law, traffic citations are doubled in construction zones.

For more information, visit the project webpage. The project is funded by Measure R Highway Operational improvements.

By Trevor

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